Criticism of Government education policy and a tribute to a former pupil killed in Afghanistan featured in a Cross Hills school’s presentation evening.

South Craven School headteacher Dr Andrew Cummings highlighted the controversy over GCSE English exams earlier this year during his talk at the event.

Dr Cummings, said it was grossly unfair to some students that grade boundaries were altered, noting it seemed schools that marked work properly had seen their students penalised.

He again questioned proposals put forward by Education Secretary Michael Gove for new, more difficult exams, arguing these could result in a situation where the majority of pupils were seen to fail.

Elsewhere in his address, Dr Cummings reminded those present of the death of Sergeant Gareth Thursby, who was a pupil at South Craven from 1994 to 1999.

Sgt Thursby was shot dead by a rogue Afghan policeman in Helmand Province in September.

Celebrating the achievements of other former pupils, Dr Cummings invoked the success of Olympic and Paralympic medallists Andrew Triggs Hodge and Danielle Brown, along with Paralympics volunteer Emily Yates.

Emily, who is studying English at Queen Mary’s University London, was one of the guests of honour at the evening, where she delivered a talk to students on the opportunities available for travel and adventure.

Her fellow guest of honour at the event, which was staged in the school’s new Fells building, was Skipton MP Julian Smith.

He formally opened the building, and was thanked by Dr Cummings for his support in securing funding.

The headteacher also used the occasion to recognise the hard work of staff.

He made special mention of David Birks and Roy Burgin, who will retire in December after many years of service.

Mr Birks was deputy head from 1986 to 2008, has twice served as acting head, and has worked part-time for the past six years as budget manager.

Mr Burgin stepped down from his post as head of the sixth form in 2008, and has since worked part-time as projects manager.



Headteacher’s Award for GCSEs – Zoe Atkinson, Lizzy Barlow, Sam Booth, Matthew Cant, Josh Green, Charlie Shaw, Cameron Smith, Hester Thomas, Sophie Thomas and Melissa Twigg; Tom Bailey Award for Personal Achievement – Lucy Thompson-Sharpe; Dr Pattison Award for Personal Achievement – Lucinda Allen and Braidi Woods; Richard J Charlton Award for Outdoor Pursuits – Matthew Simons; David & Gill Birks Award for Sporting Achievement – Sam Conway and Laura Greenwood; Millennium Shield for Service to the Community – Jess Beckwith and Hannah Lee; Headteacher’s Award for Service – Rebecca Barrett, Harris Catley, Charlotte Davis and Frankie Hall; Design Award – Sally Cheung; Human Studies Award – Esther Liu; Languages Award – Karina Birkebaek; Mathematics Award – Adam Stares; Performance Award – Lily Dixon; Ogden Trust Award for Physics – Harry Blake; Science Award – Ashley Hollings.