Christine Stansfield believes the radiply improving progress of pupils shows that her John Ferneley College can become the best in Leicestershire when the league tables are announced again next year by the Department for Education.
The school achieved an ‘above average’ score of 0.37 in Progress 8, which records the rate of improved performance of students from leaving primary school to the time they take GCSE exams.
Only The Market Bosworth School, South Charnwood High School and Limehurst Academy, who all had ‘well above average’ scores, are above John Ferneley College in the newly-released league tables.
Mrs Stansfield said: “I am really pleased that we came so high in the table out of 40-odd schools in Leicestershire and that we were in the top nine per cent in the country for progress, which is phenomenal.
“The indications are that our score will increase even more over the next two years and I can’t see any reason why we can’t compete for that number one spot in the county next year.
“We have got world class teachers in Melton Mowbray - they have a real passion for the subjects they teach and they convey that to our students.”
The performance of pupils at the school is particularly impressive, Mrs Stansfield says, because GCSE exams have changed in recent years and this has adversely affected results at some schools.
“It has been challenging for students at a lot of schools because 100 per cent of the result is now down to what they do on the day of the exam, some of the content from A-levels has been brought down to GCSEs and exams are now longer, like the English literature exam which is now two-and-half hours long,” she said.
“I am so pleased that we have bucked the trend, though, despite these challenges.
“I have a fantastic team of teachers, our students have a great attitude to learning and their parents have been very supportive through their learning journey.”
Mrs Stansfield is also chief executive of the Mowbray Education Trust, which manages five other schools in the Melton area, as well as John Ferneley.
She added: “Every single school in the trust has had improved outcomes, which I am really pleased about.
“For example, The Grove has had a phenomenal improvement in maths results and the behaviour and attendance levels are much better due to a change in the culture at the school.
“Sherard School has seen improvements in Key Stage 2 learning and Brownlow have always had a stong performance but this year it was much better in reading.”
The Priory Belvoir Academy, at Bottesford, was placed eighth in the county secondary schools league table with an ‘average’ Progress 8 score of 0.14.
Melton’s Long Field Academy was 25th on the list with a ‘below average’ score of -0.30.
Head teacher Chris Haggett said: “We did have a slight blip in terms of progress this year, caused by a small group of students who we had to take on from other local schools due to at that point being undersubscribed.
“These students did get some qualifications to help them get into college and onto their chosen careers but not quite enough to satisfy the parameters of the DFE progress 8 measure.”
Mr Haggett said there was still plenty for the school to be positive about: “At Long Field we were pleased with the vast majority of our students who got great grades to enable them to go on to college and their chosen careers.
“The school continues to go from strength to strength recognised by our good Ofsted report in February 2018 and we are looking forward to seeing if we are oversubscribed this year for the first time in the school’s history.”