‘Our students are buying into the saying that “hard work pays – it gets you As!”’: Uttlesford school roles out Saturday classes

Acting headteacher of Forest Hall School Stephen Hehir

Acting headteacher of Forest Hall School Stephen Hehir - Credit: Archant

Study clubs are becoming “the norm” at a revitalised Uttlesford secondary school – which says students are now buying into the mantra that ‘hard work pays – it gets you As!’.

Tomorrow sees the launch of a new Saturday school for Year 11 students at Forest Hall School in Stansted, which has undergone an extensive shake-up over the past month.

It will see those keen to boost their exam grades give up their spare time to attend extra lessons.

The school was taken over by the Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust (BMAT) on February 1 and new systems put into place immediately.

Out of 76 children in Year 11, a total of 63 gave up at least one day during the February half-term to be in school studying.


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They are now being encouraged to attend Saturday school and Easter revision clubs to further improve their chances of achieving the highest GCSE grades.

Acting headteacher Stephen Hehir is pleased at the hunger to succeed from students and teachers.

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He said: “Our mission is to turn C grades into B grades and B grades into A/A* grades. The best way to achieve that is to put children in front of their outstanding teachers. Year 11 are expected to be at school on Saturdays each week now. When they are at home, they can then relax knowing they have worked really hard in the classroom.

“The number of children who came into school during half-term was impressive. To have gone from nothing, to study clubs being the norm already is brilliant.

“Both children and staff are keen to achieve at the highest level and their commitment proves that.”

During the Easter break, revision club will offer Year 11 students 37 sessions in all core subjects. The school now also has 20 after-school clubs.

Mr Hehir, who joins from sister school Burnt Mill Academy, in Harlow, said: “The focus now is on high achievement and outstanding teaching and learning.

“The facilities and good behaviour are already in place at Forest Hall. The children really want to achieve highly, they just need to be shown how and guided.

“We want every child to make outstanding progress in their lessons. If that is not happening, we now have after-school study support and compulsory homework clubs to make it happen.

“The BMAT belief is all children should have the same opportunities, no matter where they are from, to achieve success.

“Our children need to believe they can achieve the highest results and for this to happen we need to put the very best teachers in front of them to allow all to make outstanding progress.”

Helena Mills, CEO of BMAT, said: “It is great to see the students of Forest Hall have bought into what we believe within BMAT, that hard work pays – it gets you As!”

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