How a struggling Harold Hill school was turned around

The previously failing Harold Hill school has transformed itself into one of the most improved academies in the country within two years.

The former King’s Wood School was demolised and Drapers Academy was built on the site two years ago.

KIng’s Wood was bottom of the league table for GCSE pass rates in Havering, and with about 200 pupils excluded in 2010, the new academy has a zero exclusion rate and results are dramatically improving. In 2011 the GCSE pass rate for five A to C passes was 36 per cent. This summer it almost doubled to 63 per cent.

And its reputation has changed amongst teachers, as it becomes one of the most desired places to work, changing from one application for four vacancies in 2010, to 48 for one vacancy this year.

So what has led to the dramatic turnaround? Principal Mathew Slater says it is a combination of new staff with young, “go-getting attitudes”, to an overhaul of the curriculum, and introducing a no-exclusion zone.

“King’s Wood went into special measures. It was a school that was fighting to improve and was finding it difficult because of the barriers in place.”

He said the school was always under-subscribed and added: “We have raised the level of expectations of behaviour in students. The pupil engagement in lessons is now excellent.”