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The best secondary school in Hull and the East Riding has been revealed; and there is a new name at number one.

Hull's Kingswood Academy has taken over the top spot in the annual, compiled by Reach PLC's data team. The guide aims to provide a far more comprehensive picture than traditional league tables by taking into account 51 different data points, ranging from pupil to teacher ratio and absence rate to the more traditional GCSE results.

It also factors in data including Progress 8 and Attainment 8 scores. The guide is now in its eighth year and has been praised by ministers and education experts. Former schools minister David Laws called it "public-service journalism in the best tradition". Having been named as East Yorkshire's best in 2019, St Mary's College has dropped into second place for 2020 - being replaced at the head of the list by Kingswood Academy. South Hunsley School and Sixth Form rounds off the top three.

The Hull and East Riding top 10

  1. Kingswood Academy

  2. St Mary's College, Voluntary Catholic Academy

  3. South Hunsley School and Sixth Form College

  4. Beverley High School

  5. Beverley Grammar School

  6. Hull Trinity House Academy

  7. Woldgate School and Sixth Form College

  8. The Snaith School

  9. Cottingham High School and Sixth Form College

  10. Malet Lambert

Praise as Kingswood Academy unveiled as 16th best school in the country.

It’s well-known for its zero-tolerance approach to hairstyles, earrings and trousers, and faced allegations it sidelines its "naughty" or under-achieving pupils.

But Kingswood Academy’s policies appear to be working as it is now not only the best school in Hull - but also one of the best in the entire country.

In 2018, the Bransholme-based secondary school was rated 'good' by education watchdog Ofsted following a remarkable turnaround since it was put in special measures in January 2015.

When the academy was placed into special measures, Ofsted inspectors found progress made by pupils in key subjects, such as English and maths, was "very low".

Since then, the school has gone from strength to strength thanks to the hard work of staff and students at the school, with the academy being rated as 'good' in 2018, with the result coming after the school celebrated its best-ever GCSE results in 2019.

It has now been recognised nationally with Department of Education statistics revealing that Kingswood Academy is ranked as 16th best out of 6,274 other schools.

Not only is the academy ranked top in Hull for both Progress 8 and Attainment 8 - the two key measures that the Department for Education uses to measure school performance - Kingswood is now in the top 0.2 per cent of schools nationally for Progress 8 (within the top percentile).

The secondary performance tables, which rank schools in England by their 2019 Key Stage 4 results, show that Kingswood Academy is excelling across all measures.

Richard Westoby, Headteacher at Kingswood Academy, part of the Academies Enterprise Trust, said:

“We are tremendously proud of our amazing students’ and extremely pleased with their achievements. They worked so hard and were fully committed to doing their very best in every subject, which has certainly paid off. We are passionate about our students leaving us with an inner-belief and ambition to fulfil their dreams and live a happy and successful life, and these results certainly help our students to achieve this. We are also excited to see them go onto the most reputable and highest performing colleges, universities and world class employers in the future, safe in the knowledge that these tremendous students are ready to thrive on a global stage. I would like to once again give a special mention to our staff team who are truly amazing. We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated teachers who are passionate about each and every one of our students, passionate about teaching and learning and passionate about our community. They have been instrumental in our students’ successes and I know that they will also be extremely proud."

The CEO of the Academies Enterprise Trust Julian Drinkall has praised Kingswood Academy. He said:

“Everyone at AET is incredibly proud of what Richard and his wonderful team have achieved – to have come so far so quickly is a testament to their incredible hard work and focus. To not only become the best school in Hull, but also one of the best in the entire country is a very special accolade to achieve, and an utterly well-deserved one. Our whole purpose at AET is to help young people go on to lead remarkable lives, and Kingswood is absolutely a living and breathing example of that."

Kingswood Academy celebrates its best ever GCSE results.

On average students at the academy have made over a grade more progress than peers nationally.

Students and teachers at Kingswood Academy are celebrating the school's best ever GCSE results for the fifth year running. On top of this, once the results are validated in October, the secondary school is likely to be confirmed as one of the top performing schools in Yorkshire. There were a lot of happy faces this morning, Thursday, August 22, when pupils at Kingswood opened their GCSE results and found out that all their hard work has paid off. On average every student at the school achieved over a grade more progress (+1.07) compared to their peers nationally, which is up from +0.76 the previous year.

"Tremendously proud"

"We are tremendously proud of our amazing students and extremely pleased with their achievements this year. They worked so hard and have been fully committed to doing their very best in every subject, which has certainly paid off. We enjoyed sharing their joy today as they collect their results, knowing that they leave us with an inner-belief and ambition to fulfil their dreams and live a happy and successful life. We are also excited to see them go onto the most reputable and highest performing colleges, universities and world class employers in the future, safe in the knowledge that these tremendous students are ready to thrive on a global stage. Finally, I would like to give a special mention to our staff team who are truly amazing. We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated teachers who are passionate about each and every one of our students, passionate about teaching and learning and passionate about our community. They have been instrumental in our students’ success and I know that they will also be extremely proud of them today.”

Richard Westoby, headteacher at Kingswood Academy, part of the Academies Enterprise Trust.


A breakdown of the grades

One of Kingswood Academy’s key drivers is ‘everyone is valued’, and school leaders say the results show that every student is supported to do their very best. Disadvantaged students as well as students with SEND did even better, with a Progress 8 score of +1.17 and +1.29 respectively. This year pupils at the school achieved on average between a Grade 5 (a good pass) and a Grade 6 in all subjects. The academy’s Attainment 8 score is 56.5, up from 50.0 in 2018, against the national average last year of 44.3. The academy also has a significant improvement in their maths and English combined GCSE results of 78 per cent at Grades 4 and above, up from 59 per cent the previous year and well above last year’s national average of 63 per cent. 22 per cent of students achieved Grade 9s in GCSE subjects, up from 12 per cent in 2018, placing those students’ performance in the top 5 per cent of the country.


High Achievers

The results of four of the students particularly stood out, with headteacher Richard Westoby giving them a special congratulations:

    • Daniel Nawab who achieved five Grade 9s, three Grade 8s and a Grade 7

    • Summer Saengkaew who achieved five Grade 9s, two Grade 8s and two Grade 7s

    • Harry Mackinder who achieved four Grade 9s, three Grade 8s and two Grade 7s

    • Abdul Jamial who achieved two Grade 9s, six Grade 8s and a Grade 7

"I'm happy with my results and got the 9s I wanted - mainly I wanted my science 9s and because I got them I'm going to Wyke and I'm going to study biology and chemistry to hopefully become a doctor," said Harry Mackinder.

Another high achiever, Summer Saengkaew, was also proud of her grades.

She said: "I was kind of really shocked but I got five 9s and got pretty good grades for the rest of them - 7s and 8s. I didn't think I was going to pass some of them so I'm kind of happy that I did.

"I'm going to Wyke as well and doing mostly sciences and English and Maths and want to become a cardiothoracic surgeon."

The medical trend continued with another student who had done well in her exams, and also wanted to go on to be a doctor and study at either Oxford or Cambridge University.

Iga Marczewska said: "I was really shocked about my results, definitely really proud of my English because I didn't think I would pass it, but I did really well.

"I got two 9s which I'm extremely proud of and basically I'm going to go off to Wyke now and do biology, maths and French so I can become a doctor and maybe study at Oxbridge hopefully."


Schools Minister praises the school

Schools Minister Lord Agnew was particularly impressed with the academy's achievement this year.

He said: “Congratulations to all the pupils and staff at Kingswood Academy, and the wider team at Academy Enterprise Trust, on such an impressive set of results.

"GCSE results day marks the moment so many young people will make choices that can shape the rest of their lives, so whatever path they choose, every pupil at Kingswood Academy should do so full of confidence.”

Kingswood Academy - the Hull school where climbing and bowling are part of exam season.

The school has a formula to ensure that pupils get the best grades possible.

It's a nerve-wracking time if you're a teenager in Hull at the moment, with hundreds of youngsters getting ready to sit their GCSEs this summer.

We are now in the throes of exam season, with youngsters desperately trying to cram in last-minute revision and stave off the stress.

And one Hull secondary school is doing something extra special to ensure that pupils get the best grades possible.

At Kingswood Academy, part of the Academies Enterprise Trust, all Year 10 and Year 11 students get a special support package designed to relieve exam stress and help them be as prepared as possible to face their future, not just their exams.

From extending the school day to help them do extra learning, offering extra tuition in the evenings, weekends and during holidays as well as holding residentials and fun activities, the package aims to benefit the students and their studies.


The school has faced criticism from parents for is zero-tolerance approach to particular hairstyles, earrings and trousers. But no matter how unpopular some of the policies may seem they appear to be working, with Kingswood continuing to improve in the eyes of the Government.

Last year, the Bransholme secondary was rated rated 'good' by education watchdog Ofsted following a remarkable turnaround since it was put in special measures in January 2015.

Since then, the school has gone from strength to strength thanks to the hard work of staff and students at the school, with the academy being rated as 'good' last year, with the result coming after the school celebrated its best-ever GCSE results in 2018.


This is based on range of provisions that are made by the school to promote success, including:

  • A separate area in school for revision

  • Revision guides, workbooks, aids such as highlighters, and flash cards for every subject

  • Weekly assemblies from heads of departments showing students how to revise

  • Walking Talking Mocks where students are coached on how best to tackle certain types of exam questions

  • Students who require an exam reader have opportunities to meet with their readers over tea and coffee prior to the exams to allow them to build up a good rapport with their reader

  • They have the opportunity to sit in the very seat where they will take their exams prior to the start of the exam period where they go through visualisation exercises to make them feel comfortable, and to give them time to take in the views, the sounds and become familiar with the environment.

  • An in-house counselling service to any student who requires additional support.

  • Four free residentials are offered completely free of charge to every student in Year 11 to ensure that students are fuelled correctly, where they get outdoors and go climbing and do other fun activities such as bowling and cinema visits


All of this extra support led to Kingswood Academy being recognised nationally for its excellent results in 2018 based on data from the Department for Education and Ofsted, analysed by SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers network.

The school was found to be among the best performing secondary schools in the country, receiving an award for being in the top 10 per cent of schools nationally for progress.

Richard Westoby, Headteacher at Kingswood Academy said: “Everything we have in place for our year 10 and year 11 students goes a long way to managing their stress levels.

"At home they might be stressing out about the exams, but these residentials and everything we do to support them to that point, means they know they’re all in it together, mentally and physically.


"Ultimately our staff are so invested in our students achieving their very best, that they will never give up on any student.

"We are there for them every step of the way, reassuring them, guiding them and believing in them at the time when they need it most.”

And it seems that the students really are reassured by the programme put in place by the school. Abdul, a year 11 student at Kingswood Academy, said: “My exams are coming up and I am so grateful for everything I’ve been able to do at Kingswood to prepare for my future.

"I’m nowhere near as worried as I thought I would be. I recognise my abilities, every single one of my teachers has helped me to believe in myself.

"They go completely over and above, giving their time up to support me outside of school even. I feel completely prepared - I’m not panicking.”

Hull teacher's 'outstanding' music lessons recognised on world stage.

Kingswood Academy music teacher Martin Stanley was recognised by teachers and peers for being an outstanding teacher

A Kingswood Academy music teacher has been awarded the prestigious bronze BTEC Award for teacher of the year. Martin Stanley was recognised by teachers and peers for being an outstanding teacher with a passion and tenacity for delivering outstanding music lessons to students in Hull.

Year on year Mr Stanley's willingness to help and support others has led to outstanding BTEC results and he has inspired many students to go on to a successful career in the music industry. Mr Stanley's hard work and dedication was celebrated at the tenth anniversary of Pearson’s annual BTEC Awards hosted online on Thursday, June 25.


"I am so proud to have received this prestigious award and was not expecting this at all. I love teaching at Kingswood Academy and feel lucky to be able to teach such wonderfully talented students. They inspire me each and every day." Martin Stanley


The 2020 BTEC Awards comprised of 17 categories and was hosted by presenter of the United Stand, YouTube influencer and BTEC Ambassador, Flex, with awards presented by Double Olympic Gold medallist Max Whitlock as well as actress and former BTEC Drama student at The BRIT School, Kellie Shirley.

The expert panel of judges made up of Pearson’s senior leadership team, journalists and external experts, carefully considered the nominees before deciding on the winners.

Kingswood Academy head teacher Richard Westoby said that Mr Stanley's award was "well deserved".


"We are all hugely proud of everything Mr Stanley has achieved and we are very lucky to have such a talented teacher who is absolutely dedicated to his students and the academy as a whole. This award is well deserved and credit for all of his hard work and dedication over the years”. Richard Westoby


Cindy Rampersaud, Senior Vice President BTEC and Apprenticeship, said: “This year I’ve been overwhelmed by the quality of BTEC Award nominations we received and I am delighted to celebrate this year’s winners and the achievements of all learners who will be awarded a BTEC this year.

"Over the past few weeks and months, we’ve seen how the current pandemic has highlighted the critical role of key workers and individuals who are likely to have followed a vocational educational pathway such as BTEC."

Kingswood Academy celebrated its best-ever GCSE results in 2019 and this year was recognised nationally with Department of Education statistics revealing that Kingswood Academy is ranked as 16th best out of 6,274 other schools.

Not only is the academy ranked top in Hull for both Progress 8 and Attainment 8 - the two key measures that the Department for Education uses to measure school performance - Kingswood is now in the top 0.2 per cent of schools nationally for Progress 8 (within the top percentile).

The secondary performance tables, which rank schools in England by their 2019 Key Stage 4 results, show that Kingswood Academy is excelling across all measures.

'Hull-bred' songwriter Downtown Kayoto on cusp of stardom after rising from Kingswood Academy to plays on BBC Radio 1

A teenage songwriter from Hull who went from recording music after school to having his songs played on Radio 1 is now on the cusp of stardom. Chiko Chinyadza, 19, was born in Zimbabwe - near Victoria Falls - and has lived in Hull since 2009. He now says he is "not Hull-born, but Hull-bred". Chiko, better known by his alias Downtown Kayoto, went to secondary school at Kingswood Academy, in Wawne Road, where the "fantastic" music department allowed him to manifest his passion for music.


"They had a really fantastic music department with microphones and recording equipment so we would get permission to use them after school and would use it for three or four hours. I was really into what was going on at the time with artists like S-X and Juice Wrld on SoundCloud, where someone could make a hit and blow up overnight, so I was really infatuated with the culture of that. In 2017 I started putting stuff out on SoundCloud, not really telling people about it and under another name to stop people finding out what I was doing. Then by the second half of 2018 I came back from Zimbabwe after going to visit family and I started taking it more seriously and I dropped a song on BBC Introducing that December. Every release I've done since then I've been trying to get better and upload more to BBC Introducing."


Though he said no one in his family has a creative background, they have been extremely supportive and have even used his burgeoning success as "bragging material". That also extends to his family in Zimbabwe, where he revisited in 2012 and 2018 - describing returning to his roots as "crucial for character development". Before he was so open about his passion for music, he had decided to come up with a stage name during one of his school recording sessions with his friends in Kingswood. They had been brainstorming and Chiko had wanted to pay homage to his love of Japanese culture and anime and manga cartoons with a name referencing the Japanese city of Kyoto. But to remain unique - and to boost his search results on Google, of course - he added an 'A' into the name too. "It works for The Weeknd, plus I just think it rolls off the tongue, it's fun to say" he said. As well as the SoundCloud rappers who made it big by putting out their own work online, Chiko also names more established artists like Kanye West among those who have influenced him most.


"I think my affinity changed, at one point I was big on not just style but if you could do it yourself and be an entrepreneur - I look up to Travis Scott, for example. As a movement it was cool. But what really shaped my style was contemporary R&B, alternative pop and rap - artists like Brockhampton, Tyler The Creator, Kanye West. Alternative punk is also really cool. I think it's just about morphing and linking all these genres so someone who listens to pop will listen to that alternative, then maybe rap, then will be comfortable listening to whatever."


And that expansive attitude to music is reflected in his outlook on his future creative career too. He said he does not want to be limited by the label of "singer/rapper", instead preferring the term "artist", which could facilitate a leap into areas like clothing and fashion once he is more established musically and stable financially. But one of the most important things for Chiko is to bring his successes back to his home city of Hull.


"The fact it's all started within Hull is the most important and exciting thing about it because I think the North can be lifted if I can do what I set out to accomplish. Now we have maybe more of a level playing field in terms of opportunity, because too much of that goes down in London and the South relative to here. In the UK everything big seems to happen in London and that's what I want to help shift, which is really exciting. It's just time for Hull, we were City of Culture in 2017 and we do deserve recognition. I'm going to wear that on my chest for the remainder of my creative career. I want to be that person at Paris Fashion Week repping Hull, saying Hull has given me this and that. It's just everything about Hull, the fresh air, the energy, it's such a cultural influence on my work. Hull would be the first place I go to to do a gig and hopefully that would be great for Hull too and I would be so gassed to be propelled up by Hull like that."


And that success appears to be on the verge of ubiquity, with Chiko now boasting over 11,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and his most popular song 'Feels Like' being played by a host of Radio 1 DJs, including Nick Grimshaw. But Chiko said it first started feeling like it was real when he heard the music he had uploaded to BBC Introducing being played by Alan Raw on Radio Humberside.


"It's actually mad because everything almost seemed like a microcosm, hearing Alan Raw on local radio I was blown away by that to then hearing Nick Grimshaw shouting me out and following me on social media seemed almost surreal. It felt like I was going to get pulled out of the matrix at any time. If anything it showed I'm doing things right and I'm going to continue doing that because I'm only really getting started and I want to see what I can do."


To see more of Chiko's work, follow him on Instagram or listen to more of his songs on Spotify.

Kingswood Academy pupils win a national debating award at the House of Commons.

The House voted in favour of Kingswood’s motion on knife crime by a significant margin.

A team of ten Kingswood Academy pupils are celebrating winning a national competition for “Remarkable Debating”, held in the House of Commons.

Students from the Kingswood Academy debate team beat off stiff competition from the other secondary schools across the country in Westminster on July 1.

The team of talented Hull students went head-to-head with another academy to debate a motion to increase stop and search to reduce knife crime.

This was before an audience including representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Met Police, the National Crime Agency and Sefton Henry - a former gang member turned inspirational speaker. The House voted in favour of Kingswood’s motion by a significant margin.


Richard Westoby, headteacher at Kingswood Academy, part of the Academies Enterprise Trust, said: “We are incredibly proud of our winning students, in particular the dedication, insight and focus they have shown, and the absolute relentlessness that led to their success.

"They worked tirelessly to develop their understanding of the topic and to anticipate the different perspectives on the issue. Their hard work paid off.

"I know they will all go on to fulfil their dreams and live happy and successful lives. ”


The winning team earned their place in the finals through three rounds in which a team of 24 Kingswood pupils debated topics such as the Shamima Begum case and whether Eid should be a public holiday.

The awards, run by Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), celebrate all different aspects of what it means to be “remarkable”.

The final ten students were selected through a democratic process by the student body. The entire squad researched and trained tirelessly for the final debate.


Libby Young, in Year 7 at Kingswood Academy, said: “This was an amazing opportunity to be able to speak for all the youth of our country suffering from the tragic issue of knife crime, as well as being able to get a taste of our future.”

Fellow student Ethan Smith in Year 10 at Kingswood Academy also found the opportunity to be a useful one.

He said: “It was an extremely exhilarating experience to be able to take an issue so vital to society and put it into competitive practice, and to truly compete on a national stage, against other students with varied views.”

The winners were commended for their well-researched and well-informed debate, their close teamwork and their mature engagement with other schools.

Kate Harris, the founder of Votes for Schools, said: “Over the last seven months Kingswood Academy students have impressed us time and time again. The students have shown an outstanding ability to be passionate advocates and speakers on a range of issues from child marriage through to citizenship in the UK.

"They worked tirelessly as a team to respond to their opposition, remaining on point, cool, calm and collected, seemingly not at all intimidated by the grand surroundings.

"We were blown away in particular by Ethan who led the group and charmed us all with his excellent communication skills.”

The winning team from Kingswood Academy attended an awards ceremony at the Derngate Theatre in Northampton on July 4 in recognition of their achievement. Schools from across AET attended the day to celebrate the awards.

Youth leaders hoping to inspire the next generation of students.

Teenagers step to share vital life skills.

Kind-hearted students at a Hull secondary school have shared important life skills with primary school children to better prepare the youngsters for high school.

Months of hard work were put in by 40 of Kingswood Academy’s most motivated pupils, who stayed behind after school and gave up weekends to prepare inspiring seminars on character education, wellbeing, growth mindset and aspirational goal setting.

They attended a youth leadership programme, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, to empower teenagers in Hull and give them an opportunity to share important life skills with people in their community.

Such training helped the students at Kingswood Academy talk to 90 Year 6 pupils, from Bude Park Primary School and Highlands Primary School, on Thursday last week. The day focused on how to have higher levels of hope and aspirations for the future, how to learn more effectively and achieve better qualifications, how to enhance physical and mental health.

“This was an amazing opportunity for our pupils to engage in meaningful work that will help make their move from year six to seven run smoothly,” said Deborah James, associate principal at Highlands Primary School.

The workshops developed by the students at Kingswood Academy helped our pupils here at Highlands Primary, build on the work they do at primary school and continue their understanding of how to build resilience, have a growth mindset and have a positive ‘can do’ approach to tackling even the most difficult of situations.”

The pupils learnt from sessions with performance coach, Kevin Mincher and took part in teamwork challenges, attended seminars on the skills needed for good leadership and looked at responding to feedback, strategies to develop self confidence, resilience and a growth mind set. “It is inspirational to see local teenagers stepping up to make a difference and volunteering to help their community succeed,” said Kevin Mincher, performance coach and founder of Unstoppable Teen.

By Anna Riley

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