School intervention pays off as GCSE pass rate boosted
A Co Down high school placed into formal intervention has confounded its critics, improving its GCSE pass rate by some 30 percentage points.
Movilla High School in Newtownards came bottom of the 2015/16 GCSE league tables published by the Belfast Telegraph in March.
Its pass rate was 19%, which fell to just 13% for five good GCSEs including core subjects English and Maths.
However, the school has had a marked transformation and in August saw a GCSE pass rate of 49%.
In terms of the pass rate including English and Maths there was a remarkable rise from 13% to 25%.
The school is also hopeful of improving the percentage even more, saying that several grades were borderline, and are being re-marked. In January, the Belfast Telegraph revealed school inspectors told Movilla to "urgently address" its issues.
Since then, Ian Bell has been appointed principal.
Former principal Caroline Karyiannis stepped down in July 2015. She was Movilla's head for five years.
Mr Bell told the Newtownards Chronicle he is "delighted" by the performance of his students.
It is the highest percentage pass rate Movilla has achieved in years. The previous high was 37% in 2007.
Vice principal Simon Lemon said the results are an "endorsement of the changes the school has introduced".
He said the changes included a strong working partnership between pupils, parents, staff and governors, and a positive learning environment.