Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Staff Go the Extra Mile; Students Score in Exams and Creativity

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Staff Go the Extra Mile; Students Score in Exams and Creativity

Article excerpt

Byline: By Chloe Griffiths

COMMITTED pastoral care and good teaching have enabled youngsters at Longbenton Community College to get some of the best results in the region.

In 2005, 72% of pupils at the secondary school achieved five or more A* to C GCSEs, taking it to the top of North Tyneside's league table.

Headteacher Jim Cockburn says these results have been driven by the college's dedicated and enthusiastic staff and the care they take over their students' welfare.

For four years, pupils at Longbenton have had learning mentors, who give extra support to youngsters who are struggling with a subject or the pressures of coursework.

There is also a full-time education welfare officer who concentrates on helping students who may have been dealing with a difficult personal situation, such as a long-term illness.

Mr Cockburn said: "Our highly committed staff are prepared to go the extra mile to help students with not only the academic aspect of the school, but also looking after the student's welfare, and that really marks the school out from others."

A structure which enables staff to take time to teach at some of the college's seven feeder schools is also reaping benefits.

Mr Cockburn said: "Working closely with our primary schools enables us to use some of our specialisms to help them, while also ensuring the transition for younger children coming to the school is made easier by familiar faces. It also means teachers are aware of the children coming into the school and their particular strengths and weaknesses."

Biggest issue for the college currently is the need for a new building. Plans have been drawn up for a school to be built in a nearby field and council bosses are working to secure funding from the Government. This will complement the City Learning Centre, at the college, which offers adult classes.

This approach is strengthened by extracurricular offerings from students, including an annual play said to rival the Theatre Royal in its professionalism and a three-day music festival, soon marking its 25th year with a night at the Sage Gateshead. …

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