Waterside Academy has employed a drastic strategy to help students succeed (Image: SWNS)
Teachers at an east London school are paying daily visits to students to ensure they attend their GCSE exams. Waterside Academy in Hackney has started sending staff on school bus rounds in the weeks running up to the all-important summer tests. The school, which was rated Good by Ofsted, has made the drastic move as it fears that vulnerable Year 11 students or those with low attendance could fail.
Teachers visit their students to ensure they wake up for a compulsory nine-hour day that includes an intensive revision schedule.
Waterside pupils must arrive at school each day by 7.30am for early revision sessions.
They remain on campus until 4.30pm and also spend their additional days off in the classroom.
Weekends and school holidays are no obstacle to the planned revision, intervention and exam skills workshops.
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Francis Bray, Waterside's headteacher, said children attend every day as their parents cannot afford the expensive private tuition that would help them pass their exams.
Mr Bray said: “Many of our families cannot afford an expensive private tutor to help students with their GCSEs so we provide it for them for free.
“Our teachers came in at half term, gave up their weekends. We have left nothing to chance.
“After all that work, we are not going to accept that some students just won’t turn up."
“They may not know this yet because they are just 15 or 16 but they are at a critical stage of their life and education.
“Passing their GCSE means they can take the next step."
Waterside Academy serves some of the UK's poorest communities, with 60 percent of Hackney students classed as disadvantaged and eligible for free school meals.
The Community Schools Trust, which runs Waterside, is hoping to give students a leg up following warnings from teachers that students forced to retake their exams are statistically less likely to pass with each attempt.
Simon Elliott, the trust's CEO, said the majority of children would not succeed if they fail their GCSE exams.
He said the policy was a "non-negotiable" at each of the organisation's four schools.
He added: “Staying in full-time education is crucial to their future life chance. Our job is to make sure they stay on the right track.”
The Community Schools Trust also runs University Technical College Norfolk, Forest Gate Community School and Cumberland Community School.