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School praised by keen teens
TEENAGERS Aimee Neal and Emily Nelhams have spoken out about how much they value their school in a bid to shake off its bad reputation.
The 16-year-olds joined Swindon Academy two years ago and have seen their grades improve dramatically.
Historically, the academy, in Beech Avenue, Pinehurst, has had a bad reputation among local people after it replaced Pinehurst Infants and Junior Schools and the former Headlands School which spent years in special measures.
But Aimee, who plans to go to New College after completing her GCSEs and eventually become a midwife, said the academy is the perfect place to learn.
“Because of the reputation that Headlands School had, it wasn’t a very good school, and because of where the academy is, people think it’s not a very good school but it couldn’t be more the opposite,” she said.
“We’ve heard people say they would never send their kids there, but since I have been there, my grades have gone from Ds and Es, at my previous school, to Bs and As. “I used to sit at the front of my maths class thinking to myself ‘I just can’t do anything’ but here my grades have gone right up.
“I don’t like that it has a bad reputation –when you tell people you go to Swindon Academy they pull a face and I was nervous starting here because of what people said about it, but it was the best thing I have ever done.
“I had no confidence before I came to the academy, but here you can be yourself and there is no bullying. The teachers are supportive.”
Emily, of Penhill, said: “The teachers treat everybody as individuals, and when the bell goes at the end of the day they will stay for hours to help you.
“Before I came here I was suffering with panic attacks and I had no support, but here it is different.
“It makes you enjoy coming to school and getting on with your coursework.”
Aimee’s mother Bev, who used to go to school in Pinehurst, said: “It is the old stigma of Pinehurst affecting attitudes and people say they don’t want to send their kids there, but they have no idea how great it is.
“I went to school in Pinehurst and it was a bit rough and tumble when I was young, and I was worried about sending Aimee there but she is doing so well and absolutely loves it.
“It has always had a bit of a bad name but it is a top school.”