School Context

The Commonweal School is a genuinely comprehensive 11-19 mixed secondary school in the Old Town community of Swindon.  Currently there are 1380 students on roll who come from a diverse range of backgrounds, both socio-economically and linguistically: over 40 nationalities are represented.

In September 2014 the school’s Sixth Form opened; we now have approximately 220 students in Year 12 and 13 studying 31 Level 3 qualifications. In addition we jointly deliver the Swindon Town FCITC Professional Football programme and run a Foundation course in Year 12 in collaboration with Swindon College.  As a result staffing has increased by over 30% in the last two years.

The school has been oversubscribed for a number of years and has increased the PAN to 230 to accommodate some of the extra demand for places.  Local Authority forecasting figures confirm a stable/rising student population over the coming decade.

The school was granted specialist Performing Arts College status in 2004 and was re-designated in 2008. We have also held the Artsmark Gold Award since 2003, hold the Geography Quality mark, have Healthy Schools Status, and have recently achieved both Fair Trade status and Dyslexia Friendly status for a number of years.

We became an Academy in August 2011, shortly after an Ofsted inspection in which we were judged Outstanding overall, and in 16 out of 22 categories.  Following a February 2014 Ofsted inspection we were adjudged Good in all areas, under what was a significantly more challenging framework.

Students in the Main School come from 4 principal wards although the demography of the cohort is further complicated by 2 specialised Units which draw from further afield (and do impact on exam results, attendance and behaviour statistics).

As of September 2016:

  • Physically Impaired Unit – 20 students
  • SpLD – 26 students

Our inclusivity is also reflected in the fact that we have 2 Visually Impaired student, 22 MSEND students and a number of students on the Autistic Spectrum on roll.  In short, we have more students with Education Health Care Plans than some designated special schools including 3 in C6.

As of September 2016 there are 300 students receiving some form of additional intervention.

Students are drawn principally from 4 feeder schools within the designated catchment area: LethbridgeRobert Le KyngKing William Street & Even Junior School; smaller numbers of students are drawn from a further 36 schools. The school reserves up to 15 places per cohort for student able to demonstrate genuine ability in the Performing Arts.

Students in C6 come from across Swindon and beyond, including a small number of international students.

From 2016 data we can see that:

  • the student population is reasonably stable
  • Minority Ethnic students account for approx. 17% intake; 77% are classified as White British
  • EAL students account for 15.3 % of the cohort
  • % of students with EHCPs is 8% (well above national averages)
  • we have an average number of Looked After Children (4)
  • ACORN Profile data for 2015 reveals a balanced socio-economic grouping (which is reflected in 2014 RAISEOnline data) :

    Wealthy Achievers – 17%
    Rising Prosperity – 12%C
    Comfortably Off – 34%
    Financially Stretched – 16%
    Urban Adversity – 20% (up from 9% last year)
    Unclassified – 1%

The Gender pattern over recent years has been for a majority of Boys; currently the overall Girl/Boy ratio is 48 : 52, hence ongoing focus on Boys’ achievement.

Free School Meal uptake is 19%

Attendance figure for 2015/16 confirm performance well above national average: attendance – 95.3%


Attainment on entry is generally close to national averages but for Year 11 2016 it was below national averages. As such the year groups’ high attainment scores (63% 5A*-C and A8=5.0) represent very good progress (P8 + +0.20)

Whilst not all PP gaps have been eliminated the gap in English progress has closed and the gap in Mathematics progress closed in 2015 but reopened slightly in 2016.