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Wednesday, January 13, 1999 Published at 08:21 GMT


Mixed reaction to school closure

Hull education authority is also under inspection

Parents and pupils at a secondary school in Hull judged to have been "failing" by inspectors have welcomed the decision to close it down.

Local parents and pupils give their reactions to the closure
Hull City Council has announced that the Perronet Thompson School - an 850-pupil mixed-sex comprehensive - is to be shut because of "persistent low standards" and reopened with a new identity.

The Chair of the school's governors, Peter Badger, said he was disappointed because real improvements had been made this academic year.

Chair of Perronet Thompson School Governors, Peter Badger: Closure is "Disappointing"
"Don't let's begin to think that I'm suggesting the school currently is acceptable: it is certainly not," he said.

"What I do suggest is that the trendline is now moving in a direction and at a pace which I believe would give us sufficient progress to, let's say, Easter we could have seen then clearly there were real improvements."

The school, on the city's Bransholme Estate, has one of the highest truancy rates in the country, at up to 25%, and one of the lowest GCSE pass rates.

Last year only 6% of its pupils achieved at least five or more GCSE passes at grades A* to C - although two of Hull's 15 other secondary schools did even worse.

It has been deemed a "failing" school by the schools inspectors, Ofsted, for more than two years.

Union Official Gerard Hailwood: Anti-education culture must be tackled
Perronet Thompson - named after a 19th Century general who was MP for Hull - is to be re-opened with a new head, teaching staff and name, under the government's "Fresh Start" initiative.

The decision has been met with anger by teaching unions who say the school, in a deprived area, could have been given more of a chance. Officials complain of an "anti-education culture" among a minority of pupils, who must be made to feel part of the process of change.

The move comes as Hull's education authority itself undergoes an Ofsted inspection.

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