SCHOOLCHILDREN queued for hours to try to get a place at a school’s sixth form after it turned its troubled past around with record GCSE results.
Youngsters queued for up to four hours at the Basildon Academies in a bid to get themselves a place in its sixth form next month.
Pupils at the Upper Academy, in Wickford Avenue, Pitsea , achieved the school’s best ever results, with the number of pupils getting five A* to C grades, including maths and English, jumping to 45 per cent from 33 per cent last year.
Dr Rory Fox said he was very surprised at the number of pupils who queued for hours to get their place in sixth form.
He said: “After seeing how well the school had done with the GCSEs, I think the morale of lots of pupils was lifted and that is why they can see a future at the school.
“We have revamped the sixth form and opened up more courses with a vocational base which are going to help our children get jobs in the future.
“We are the only school sixth form in Basildon , and we could take in up to 200 students, but we are going to start small and work our way up to increasing the year groups.
“It was lovely to see so many pupils wanting to go on to sixth form and thinking about their futures – it is so important.”
Dr Fox was brought in as a troubleshooting headteacher last July to try to turn around the school’s fortunes.
He suffered a setback in March this year when the school was put into special measures by Ofsted. He has also faced criticism from parents for his tough stance on discipline, which includes isolation methods and Saturday detentions.
But Dr Fox said the measures were paying off.
He added: “We have really stepped up the monitoring of our pupils, and we are being very careful with which subjects our students are taking at A Level.
“We will be advising each and every individual and we will not let someone take a course we don’t think they are capable of achieving in.
“Our job is to try to ensure the pupils and students have the right skills to get a job when they leave us.
“By making sure they are taking the right courses in their further education, we are doing as much as we can.”