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Norwich academy's banana brain boost

Ormiston Victory Academy students eating bananas to help with their performance in the mock exams. Luke Baldwin 15, Katherine Westley 16, Kasey Moore 16, Luke Dickerson 15 and Bethany Cates 15.; PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Ormiston Victory Academy students eating bananas to help with their performance in the mock exams. Luke Baldwin 15, Katherine Westley 16, Kasey Moore 16, Luke Dickerson 15 and Bethany Cates 15.; PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010

A Norwich academy is shipping in hundreds of bananas in a bid to boost students' brain power and help them pick up a bunch of good GCSEs.

1980s TV character Bananaman

Ormiston Victory Academy Costessey has ordered boxloads of the popular fruit to feed to hungry teens before they sit crucial maths GCSEs this week and next - and will repeat the move during next summer’s exam season.

The academy’s leaders hope the snack will give students the extra energy and concentration needed to get the best grades.

The move is part of an initiative which sees all students with morning exams being summoned to school at 7.30am for a healthy breakfast and last minute revision “hot tips”.

For those young people who skip breakfast to secure a few extra minutes in bed, it is a lifestyle change.

Head boy Luke Dickerson, 15, who is taking his maths GCSE this week, said: “I think this is a good idea because it gets you ready for the day and at your best. It should help me work to my full potential.

“If I wasn’t coming in here for breakfast, I’d go without because I prefer my sleep to having breakfast.”

Bethany Cates, 15, who is also taking her maths GCSE this week, said she always ate breakfast, and said: “This is a good idea because it motivates people to get ready for the school day and helps our brains to develop and to wake up for the exams.”

The students will be hoping that the banana diet does not have the same impact as it did on 80s TV cartoon character Eric Wimp, who became massive-muscled superhero Bananaman when he munched a banana - but saw his IQ drain as quickly as his muscles grew.

Principal Rachel de Souza introduced the morning bananas before exams in her previous job as principal of Barnfield West Academy in Luton. Although not the only factor, the move helped results to triple in the first year.

She said: “The Victory banana is an important part of our total support for students taking exams. We support them with revision, one-to-one tuition, careful monitoring and advice about homework, getting enough sleep, eating properly and so on.

“We will do whatever it takes to help them achieve the best possible results.”

Academy spokesman Geoff Howe said: “If they’ve got a good solid breakfast inside them they will concentrate more. Part of that is the banana, which contains potassium and is good for the brain.

“After breakfast at 8am we do hot tips revision, then they go into the exams.”

He said 600 bananas had been bought in for the 150 year 11 students, with many more set to be bought next summer.

He added: “This is not just about calling children in early for bananas and breakfast, it’s the fact that the children understand from this that we are doing all we can for them. We are supporting them from the start.”

Do you have a school exams story? Call Steve Downes on 01263 513920 or email steve.downes@archant.co.uk.

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