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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 August, 2003, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK
'Worst school's' GCSE joy
The Ridings School
The school had been targeted for closure
A school once dubbed the worst in Britain is celebrating after a huge improvement in its GCSE results.

The Ridings School, in Halifax, gained national notoriety in 1996 when it was temporarily closed after staff said 60 of the students were "unteachable".

The troubled secondary school was on the brink of closure and was recently once again believed to be on a list of schools targeted for closure after exam results remained among the poorest in England.

But its future now looks assured after the number of pupils achieving five GCSEs grade A* to C reached 25% - up from 7% last year.

Millions of pounds have been spent on improving the image and results of the West Yorkshire school.

Hopefully, this is the long-awaited turning point
Anna White, headteacher
When head teacher Anna White took over in 1997 just 6% of pupils were achieving five good GCSEs.

The results, published on Thursday, show the Ridings School has reached exam targets set by the government and is even above the national average for pupils achieving at least one GCSE A* to G grade.

Mrs White said the results were a testament to the hard work of students and staff.

She said: "We are absolutely delighted for the students.

"An awful lot of hard work has gone in to getting to this point and it is a great moment for the school.

"Hopefully, this is the long-awaited turning point."

Nationally, there has been a slight fall in the pass rate to 97.6% of more than five million exam entries.

But the proportion of exam entries getting the top grades increased again, as it has done since GCSEs began in 1988.

Mrs White declined to make any predictions for next year's results but added: "Things are looking up. We certainly wouldn't want to see a dip in results."

Schools minister David Miliband said: "It has been a huge challenge but the commitment from staff has been inspiring. I am delighted that the results are moving in the right direction.

"We will continue to help the school improve but now is the moment to say well done to those people who have put in so much hard work.

"I hope we can build on this improvement as the new term starts next month."

Infamous school's results defended
23 Jan 03  |  England


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