Evening Standard Article
The chain of London schools run by carpet tycoon Lord Harris has bucked the national trend for declining results — by making students compete with each other and forming links with leading universities.
The Harris Federation, which has 12 secondaries across the capital, saw a three per cent increase in students gaining at least five good grades at GCSE. Lord Harris of Peckham said the schools’ house system, and links with Russell Group of universities, were behind the success.
The academy sponsor and chairman of Carpetright said: “It is not only about exam results. We have a house system so pupils can compete against each other, and against other Harris schools. It gives students a reason to do well”. The house system places pupils in groups which compete with each other in sports and academic competitions.
Sir Dan Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation said: “I don’t understand when people say houses are old fashioned. They help to raise standards.” At the Crystal Palace academy all but one student achieved 5 A-C grades including English and maths. Mae Semakula-Buuza, 16, got eight A*s and 3 As and plans to study chemistry, maths, phyiscs and history at A-level.
She said: “I feel really happy. I was having nightmares last night about not getting good results. I have really done it for my parents.”
Farhim Yasmin, 16, gained 10 A*s, an A and a B, and wants to be a chemical engineer. She said: “It feels great. I might as well embrace the fact I’m one of those geeky people that really likes chemistry.”
Tom Chandy said he was heading to Reading Festival to celebrate seven A*s, four As and a B.He added: “I want to be a doctor. I have already been on an introductory course about neurosurgery.”
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