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Business Exam Results 2000: Hard work of youngsters is often ignored.

Byline: Jonathan Walker Education Correspondent

The headteacher of Birmingham's top-performing state school called last night for more credit to be given to the achievements of grammar school pupils.

Joan Fisher, of Camp Hill School for Girls, said the hard work put in by youngsters at her school who obtained top grades was often dismissed.

Every pupil this year gained five or more grades A to C at GCSE, the same as in 1999. However, there was a leap in A star grades - the highest mark possible - which this year accounted 34 per cent of all GCSEs earned, up by ten per cent on the year before.

Also for the first time this year, every pupil at all five of the King Edward VI Grammar schools in Birmingham achieved five or more GCSEs at A to C.

Presenting Birmingham's results yesterday, Coun Roy Pinney (Lab Brandwood), the city council's cabinet member responsible for education, said they should do well because of their selective intake.

He said: 'It is more of a surprise if any pupil at a grammar schools does not gain these marks.'

Mrs Fisher, who has led her school for ten years, said last night: 'There can be a tendency to write off the achievements of pupils at a school like ours. People say our girls are expected to do well anyway.

'But what sometimes is not understood is that the expectations and pressure for schools like ours to perform well and go on doing so is just as great as the pressure on other schools.

'It is a different type of pressure, but while other schools work to improve what may be modest results, the pressure on us is to keep up the 100 per cent figure for five or more grades A to C while improving the proportion of grades at the highest level.'

She said the number of A star grades received this year was 'phenomenal'. However, she added, one of the keys to success was actually not to focus purely on grades.

'If we gave the impression that was all we were interested in, students would become disaffected. We are very involved in the community, through schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh award. We also have a series of extra curricular activities, including music and sport.'

Since January this year, the school has enjoyed the distinction of being the only grammar in the city to be a beacon school, which means it shares best practice with other, similar schools.

'This means the quality of our teaching has been recognised by the Department for Education and Employment. However, it is also a chance for us to learn from other schools at the same time as they learn from us,' added Mrs Fisher.

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Joan Fisher Melanie Paul reads to the class during an English lesson at Camp Hill School for Girls
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 8, 2000
Words:477
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