Vandyke on top form

VANDYKE Upper School in Leighton has been named as one of the top performing schools in the UK.

A summer of outstanding GCSE exam results has earned Vandyke a place in the top 25 per cent of schools across the country, along with three other Bedfordshire academies, Biddenham, Sharnbrook and St Thomes More.

The top placing was gained in the Government's Key Performance Indicator. The indicator logs the overall achievements of a school by analysing every pupil's grades at GCSE level and in the Key Stage Two SATS taken in year nine.

Sixty one per cent of students at Vandyke earned GCSE A* to C grades in August, thus reflecting a high standard of education since they took their Key Stage Two SATS.

Head teacher Tim Carroll said: "Naturally everybody associated with the school is proud of our students' achievements and delighted to earn this further accolade.

"At the heart of this lies very good teaching and a calm and purposeful atmosphere for learning. Students respond very well, working hard and taking their studies seriously – they can feel very proud of their achievements."

So, what do some of the students who helped Vandyke make the grade think of the school and its achievement.

Five sixth formers Charlotte Anderson, Rebecca Harding, Emily Larkins, James Davies and Edward Percival gave their point of view.

Charlotte, 16, from Bossard Court gained 10A*s and a C in her recent GCSEs and was pleased with the school's achievement. She said: "I like the school, it is a nice place to learn and the teachers are really supportive."

Rebecca Harding of Steppingstone Place, achieved six A*, one A, two Bs and a C. She admitted to feeling "stressed" when she took her exams, but was thankful for the support given by teaching staff and the facilities on offer at Vandyke to help her through.

Emily Larkins, of Columba Drive, is studying chemistry, French and English language and thought Vandyke's success was down to a close knit and community spirit within the school, all contributed to her gaining seven A*s and three As.

Sporty James Davies wants to go to university to study sports science. He, especially, thought the PE facilities and teachers had inspired him to do well. He ran away with two A*s, six As and two Cs.

Edward Percival, of Heath Road, believes Vandyke is "amazing and a really good school to go to".

He has overcome his disabilities to achieve two A*s, two As, one B and two Cs, plus an E. He said: "Every help was available from teachers, they were very aware of the stress we were under. They helped me fulfil my expectations. No one is out of place here – we are all friends."

Another good piece of news for Vandyke this week was that former student Carly Fitzsimmons had achieved top 10 status in A level Applied Business Studies according to Edexcel, the UK's largest awarding body.

Carly gained the highest overall marks in the exam taken by 1,572 students, achieving double A grades.

She is now taking a well-earned gap year before going to study Business Management at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2008.

The Business Team at Vandyke said: "This is a fantastic achievement for Carly on what is a very challenging business course which involves completing twelve independent business unit modules over two years.

"We wish Carly continued success at Leeds."