Working at The Commonweal School

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. Our comprehensive Teaching & Learning review in December 2013 recorded 50% of all teaching observed Outstanding, with 100% Good or better. 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.

Our staff numbers have risen significantly with the opening of our new Sixth Form in September 2014. Set in a brand new 3 storey, state of the art building, we aim to recruit 300+ students and offer a high quality, academic curriculum.  See website for more details.

A first-rate set of students.
With 1230 students on roll and 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 Sixth Form Building, now open, is a superb state of the art resource for both school and wider community alike. New Science rooms and a second sports hall mean we are well equipped tp move forward although we regularly review ways of improving the site still further.

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 in all categories. Given the significantly more rigorous nature of this framework compared to that in place in 2011 when we were adjudged Outstanding we are happy that inspectors considered us well on the way to excellence. We do however aspire to become Outstanding again by the time of the next inspection and are working hard to ensure that this is so.  Having been an Academy for 3 years we are confident in our ability to improve still further, assume increasing control over our own destiny and protect what we hold dear.

Our provisional results for 2014 were: 67% 5 x A*-C including English and Maths the best ever ! 80% of Maths students achieved a C or higher whilst 78% of English Language students achieved a C or above.

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 incredibly exciting time for the school now that we have opened our new Sixth Form.  We also intend to build on recent 11-16 successes and seek new challenges in the years ahead, 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! Although we are considered a very good school we still need to remain focused, stick to what we have agreed and work hard to see things through.

Most importantly, we recognise that to succeed we need to retain and recruit good 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.

Keith Defter