Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Schools 'Now Exam Factories' Headteacher Speaks out on Character Building for Students in Education

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Schools 'Now Exam Factories' Headteacher Speaks out on Character Building for Students in Education

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Brown

A HEADMASTER said he feels the latest Government league tables vindicate his approach after seeing his Tyneside school named among the top 200 nationally.

Jonathan Winch, headmaster of Emmanuel College in Gateshead, believes this year's results show schools which offer their pupils a more rounded education can still compete with those that concentrate on the more rankingfriendly subjects such as English and maths.

"Schools should not just be exam factories," he said.

"Schools need to be seeking to develop students for adult life and all that entails, and academic qualifications are only a part of that.

"We always say character comes first and if you can create in the school a caring and disciplined ethos, and encourage students to take a broad part in community life, then out of that will flow something special academically."

Emmanuel College was ranked the 195th best state school in the country for the percentage of students achieving five A* to C GCSE grades, including maths and English.

However, it's average point score per pupil - based on all the subjects they took - was actually higher than many schools more than 150 places above them.

"There is an idea that character development and a more rounded involvement in other parts of the curriculum fight against academic success, but they can go hand-in-hand," said Mr Winch.

"And I think the schools that believe that, and are promoting art and drama and all the other fabulous things children can be involved with, are seeing the benefits."

Across the region many teachers have queried the method by which the league tables are calculated and the apparent conclusions that the Government, and parents, will draw from them.

A spokesman for Newcastle City Council, which had the lowest average pass rate of any area in Tyne and Wear with just 52. …

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