A Message from the Head
As Wilsthorpe starts a new chapter in its history, as a member of the Two Counties Trust, our journey to secure outstanding education for all of our students has increased pace.
Becoming a high-performing school takes many years of hard work. There is no ‘quick fix’, no single thing a school can do to ensure high student performance. However, by sharing a common vision and not deviating from it, schools can make rapid gains as long as they maintain courage and ambition. Out latest Ofsted report recognises this.
Our students have enjoyed huge benefits in recent years as demonstrated by our GCSE and A-Level outcomes over the last 3 years. Percentages of students achieving upper grades over this time exceed national performance in nearly every subject, with particularly strong performances in EBacc GCSEs. Predictions suggest these outcomes are only getting stronger as A-Level outcomes were some of the best in Derbyshire in 2018 with 30% if all grades A* or A. Ofsted agrees that this is a result of improving teaching due to a culture which strives to achieve excellence in the classroom.
Following success in 2017 with a student leaving Wilsthorpe School in Year 13 for one of the best American Universities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 2018 two students were successful in securing places at both Oxford and Cambridge. In addition, Post 16 outcomes this year put us in the top 10% of Sixth Form providers in England in 2018.
Well done to all of our leavers last year; their futures look secure.
Why do our teachers not want to leave?
Wilsthorpe has been successful in securing the appointments of very strong teachers. Teachers are reluctant to leave because teaching is enjoyable and the ethos is positive and interesting. There are constant opportunities for professional development and it was recognised by Ofsted that many of our teachers should be sharing their good practice with other schools. Teachers have very high expectations of the quality of work they expect to see from all students. They use perceptive questioning techniques developed in-house, to encourage deep thinking. Ofsted recognised the benefits to students of such strategies, particularly for the most able.
There is more to a school than just the academic side.
Wilsthorpe has developed into a school which is proud of its community values. We work hard as staff, parents and students to help members of our community and to support developments in others. The broad, balanced and personalised curriculum meets students’ needs well. Good careers education, information, advice and guidance is provided to support all students with the next stage of their education, employment or training. Extra-curricular provision is rich; comprehensive programmes involve substantial learning outside the classroom. Activities and clubs help to develop autonomy and leadership in sporting, artistic, theatrical, technical, creative and cultural opportunities. Celebration of these successes is fundamental.
Leadership and Governance
Ofsted judged the effectiveness of leadership and management at Wilsthorpe as Outstanding. They saw that leaders and governors are skilled and highly ambitious.
We all believe in our journey of improvement. We share common goals as we constantly search for improvements. Strong relationships between students and staff are central to what we are trying to achieve; relationships that are open, warm and friendly. Over time, these relationships have led to excellent attitudes to learning from students. I am proud that the strength of these relationships is recognised by all who visit the school.
Leaders and Governors are resilient. Minor setbacks have never deterred us from our mission, to deliver outstanding education to all members of the Wilsthorpe School community. Effective data systems to monitor and support all students allow us to personalise teaching and learning.
Ofsted agrees with the school that the behaviour of students is good in all areas. This has been a vital piece of the jigsaw, allowing us to make rapid and sustained progress.
Keeping Children Safe
There is a very strong and effective culture at the school that keeps all children safe. The school helps parents to appreciate their responsibilities to keep children safe, particularly on-line. When I ask students about keeping safe they never fail to impress me with their knowledge of potential risks, picked up through taught sessions, assemblies or by reading the information screens around the school corridors. Students have an excellent understanding of how to minimise these risks.
Our new £16m building, opened in October by the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, is the last piece of the jigsaw, providing us with a learning environment, recognised by our students as being an outstanding space. We are excited about the future.
If you have not yet read our Ofsted report, I urge you to do so and see why we believe we can bring out the very best in our young people. We instil a belief in them all without our moto – ‘Be the best you can be’
Jonathan Crofts - Headteacher