What has Commonweal got to offer?
A first-rate set of students. Commonweal has approximately 1400 students on roll with 300 in years 12 & 13; the students are a credit to themselves and to the school. They work hard, they are frequently praised for their good behaviour, they 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 1400 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 and students have the best facilities affordable to them. 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. We have completed upgrades to existing Science laboratories and Food Rooms, whilst the Sixth Form building, completed in 2014, is a superb facility delivering over 30 A Levels and BTECs. A purpose-built Music Block was completed in 2018 and new heating was installed in the main school block in 2020. Our most recent refurbishments were to several student toilet areas, completed in 2021. The school have also been successful with a capital bid to replace many main school windows, work will start on this project in July 2022.
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. 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 always our priority. 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 post-16 provider.
Firm foundations. Our most recent Ofsted inspection in November 2017 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. We are also extremely proud of our ongoing ESP work – read about it here.
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.