EDUCATION Secretary Nicky Morgan said her aim is to make every school excellent as she visited two of Stourbridge’s higher achieving schools.

During her visit to Redhill School yesterday, Mrs Morgan praised the work of staff and pupils at the academy and also urged other Stourbridge schools to take up the alternative status.

Mrs Morgan said: “It’s a really inspirational school and what’s fascinating is the emphasis on character and extra curriculum activities which run right the way through the school.

“Students of all ages are involved in raising funds for Sri Lanka, but they also show the character and virtues we want to see all schools generating in their pupils.

“It’s obviously a very strong school and the pupils I’ve met have been great.”

The education secretary was invited to the Junction Lane school by Stourbridge MP Margot James who, in her role as a governor, said she was living up to a promise of bringing Mrs Morgan to the school.

Ms James said: “I am very proud of Redhill. It’s an outstanding school and I was really pleased that Nicky could make it.

“Although Redhill has the best GCSE results of all the state schools in Stourbridge, it also has a huge commitment to extra-curricular activity.

“Even though it doesn’t get formally assessed, as the focus is on exam results and league tables, it is a vital part of any school and Redhill does it particularly well.”

Head boy Aaron Gwynn-Thomas, 15, said it was a “privilege” to have the secretary visit the school and it made his fellow pupils “feel quite important”, while head girl Josie Alma, also 15, said: “It’s nice to have been able to talk about all the work we have done at school and having it all on display was good to see.”

Redhill is one of only two schools in Stourbridge which currently has academy status, alongside Wollaston’s Ridgewood High School which suffered a decline in their GCSE results this summer following the change.

When asked if other schools across the town should become academies, Mrs Morgan told the News: “I’m a great supporter of academy status as the people who know a school best and should run our schools are the headteachers, teachers and governors.

“When you make people not only accountable, but responsible, for the excellence on the front line, we see people across the education system rising to that challenge.

“We want that opportunity to be available to all schools across the country and the bill we’re passing in parliament is saying to all those schools who are failing and also those who aren’t helping students make progress, academisation could be one of the answers.

“But my task for the next four-and-a-half years is to make sure there is excellence in education right across the country.”

Stourbridge News:

Stephen Dunster, headteacher, said he was “immensely proud” of the way his pupils spoke and responded to Mrs Morgan, but admitted the school had a difficult transition when it first became an academy.

He added: “Nevertheless the experience has been a really powerful one for this school as becoming an academy was the best thing for the school at that time.

“It was about taking independence and being able to make our own decisions which could support our own school community and I think it has worked really well for the school.”

Ms James said she hopes other Stourbridge schools will becoming academies and “benefit from Redhill’s success”.

“Ridgewood has already taken that leap and formed a partnership with Kind Edwards, and I have no doubt that others will follow,” she added.

“At first you will see a dip in results as schools grapple with the learning challenges, but over time they will improve.”

Mrs Morgan also visited King Edward VI College on her whistle-stop tour of the town, with Ms James saying: “I chose King Edwards as a school for Nicky to visit as I wanted to show off the fact that we have the second best performing sixth form college in the country here in Stourbridge.

“I wanted her to see what a good sixth form college looks like.”