Dad tells of his anger as some pupils’ studies are cut short

AROUND 60 GCSE pupils at Willingdon School have been told they are unable to continue with English literature despite completing nearly a year of the course.

Students in the second set in Year Ten have been told they will be dropping English literature and instead concentrating on getting a good grade in English language.

However, an angry father says he was not consulted over the move and thinks that many grade B students have the ability to achieve a good result in both subjects and should be given the opportunity to do so. The Herald understands there is a limited amount of places in the top set available for those set two pupils who wish to take the English literature exam.

Hankham resident Stephen Pett, who has sent five children to the school and currently has a 14-year-old son in Year Ten who is affected by the changes, raised his concerns with the school before the letter informing parents was sent out.

Mr Pett said, “There was no consultation – merely a mockery of one with the children after the decision had been taken.

“Parents were informed almost as an afterthought.”

Mr Pett says there was plenty of time for consultation because his son had seen the changes coming around two weeks before it was formally announced.

He said, “In my opinion, I would rather they had helped my son get from two B grades to two A grades than deprive him of the possibility of having both language and literature and force him to concentrate on language and just maybe get one A*.

“The whole reason for comprehensive schools being brought in was to ensure that every child got the best possible opportunity, and I suspect that around half of the pupils affected will be substantially disadvantaged by this move – I am absolutely certain my son will, unless he manages to get one of the very few extra places available in the top class.”

Mr Pett said those pupils struggling with too many subjects will benefit from the changes but he believes those students should have been put in a different class at the end of Year Nine when the pupils select the subjects they will take forward as GCSEs.

“Clearly there has been a serious management failure,” he said.

Mr Pett has set up a website about the issue which gives other parents and pupils the chance to comment on the move. The website can be found at

He said, “The website is not supposed to be destructive to Willingdon School but they have got to realise that us parents are there to be talked to not talked at.”

Ian Jungius, head at Willingdon School, said, “We regulary review the exams taken by students and every year make amendments to their entries.

“This decision was taken as a result of reviewing the progress of students in light of them taking a new exam.

“The decision was taken to enable them to get the best possible grades in English which will serve them better in their future careers.”

Mr Jungius also told the Herald the work the students had completed would not be wasted but would instead form part of the new English exam they will be sitting.