What has Commonweal got to offer?
- An excellent staff. With over 80 full time teachers we are proud of the high calibre of our current teaching staff, ably supported by a large team of dedicated support staff. We believe we have just the right mix of experienced and youthful staff, all of whom are committed to providing a high quality education for all our students.
- A first-rate set of students. With 1130 students on roll in Years 7 – 11, and nearly 300 in years 12 & 13, with many more wishing to join us, we believe that our students are a credit to themselves and to the school. They would not be human if they did not err on occasion; nevertheless, they work hard, are frequently praised for their good behaviour, love being given responsibility and invariably serve as good ambassadors for the school. Relationships between students and staff are excellent.
- A positive working environment. The school may not have been designed for 1130 students, but it is in good order, full of attractive displays, well resourced and cared for. Subjects are taught in teaching areas, investment in ICT has been one of our main priorities and we have a capital building programme which is geared to ensuring that teachers can teach in appropriate surroundings. In 2009 we completed a significant building programme with new blocks for English, Maths and Science. In addition, all areas of the main building, including the Hall, have been upgraded, as has the entire suite of ICT rooms. More recently we have completed upgrades to existing Science laboratories and Food Rooms, whilst the new Sixth Form building is a superb facility for delivering over 30 A Levels and BTECs. Work will commence on a new Music block in the Autumn.
- Professional working conditions.We are committed to ensuring that teaching loads are kept as low as possible, with a major investment in supply teaching and Cover Supervisors to ensure that non-contact periods are safeguarded wherever possible.
Classes in KS3 average 25 whilst in KS4 the average is 20.
There is an established network of support for new colleagues, whether through our highly praised NQT support programme or through our new teacher Induction package.
Continuing opportunities for further professional development are key to our recruitment and retention policy, and CPD is our number one priority this year.
We have fully implemented the Workforce Remodelling Agenda and all staff have significantly more than the minimum allotted PPA time, alongside low-key weeks at the end of each half term.
We recognise the need to involve all staff in making crucial decisions, who contribute to the planning and development of the school through a range of consultative mechanisms, from formal meetings to working groups and attitudinal surveys.
- A supportive community. We cannot imagine another school which has such a vibrant and committed PTA, who actively support our efforts by raising funds and enhancing the life of our wider community. Equally, we have an oversubscribed Governing Body who work hard to ensure that the school functions effectively. Our broader community links are strong and will inevitably become stronger as we continue life as a Performing Arts College
- Firm foundations. Our most recent Ofsted inspection in February 2014 adjudged us Good overall and ‘well on the way to excellence’. On 1st August 2011 we achieved Academy status, which has enabled us to assume even more control over what we do and protect that which we hold dear.
- Results. Our GCSE results for 2016 were very pleasing in almost all respects. The school achieved a Progress 8 score of 0.09. Meaning our students made better progress than those nationally. In addition 68% of students achieved 5 x A*-C including English and Maths; 73% achieved a C or above in Maths and 70% achieved a C or above in English.
- Self Evaluation. We have a comprehensive programme of self evaluation and monitoring strategies which enable us to plan effectively and reflect upon our practice. Faculties have regular internal inspections & their own SEFs which help provide the evidence on which to base our overall view that this is a good school: a view supported by all our stakeholders.
- A lot to look forward to. This is an exciting time for the school. As well as building on the excellent start we have made with C6, a big part of which has involved developing our partnership with Swindon Town Community Trust, we also intend to build on recent 11-16 successes. We are keen to seek new challenges in the years ahead and are looking actively at ways to extend our collaborations with other schools, whist ensuring that we do not lose sight of our primary purpose which is to sustain and improve the quality of teaching and learning – in all its forms.
A cautionary note…
We are not the finished article yet and still need to remain focused, stick to what we have agreed and work hard to see things through. This is a period of huge change and challenge and we must respond accordingly, whilst not losing sight of what makes us unique.
Most importantly, we recognise that to succeed we need to retain and recruit outstanding staff, who support our aims and will continue to contribute to the overall life and well-being of the school. Likewise we need to work with students and parents to create a winning community which lives up to our name and ethos: Commonweal – for the good of all.