FOR A long time, Burnt Mill had a reputation as the school that battled with Mark Hall for top spot in the town. Both schools saw a decline in their fortunes. In 2009, Burnt Mill’s nadir was the fact that only 27% of all pupils gained 5 or more GCSE’s at A* to C (inc. English and Maths).
And so, that is where Helena Mills came to take charge. Since then, the school has seen a remarkable transformation in its fortunes. In 2013, the school recorded a record 76% with 5 A* to C (inc English and Maths).
The school was inspected by Ofsted and was judged Outstanding (the only one in Harlow).
It has not been easy and Ms Mills has had her critics. Then again, a lot of people in Harlow used to dismiss ex-pupil, Glenn Hoddle as a “luxury player.”
It seems to the majority that Ms Mills has produced a remarkable turnaround. She seems to possess a passion for the town and a passion to lift up aspiration and self-belief.
YH reporter Jo Reilly went down to the First Avenue school to speak to Ms Mills and talk about the transformation.
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