St Helena School
Essex, United Kingdom
About St Helena School
St Helena School is a lively, friendly and welcoming 11-16 school with 920+ students currently on roll. It was rated as Good by Ofsted in December 2017 and continues on its improvement journey. The school is one of five Secondary and two Primary Academies in the Sigma Multi-Academy Trust, which was formally established in 2016 to promote collaboration across a range of partners in Colchester and the surrounding area.
The original school opened in 1938 and took its name from Colchester's patron saint. Situated just outside the centre of the town, the school sits on 17 acres and boasts a fine blend of modern and traditional facilities. These have recently been enhanced by a new Science and Technology block, an all-weather pitch facility with Play Football and an open air Amphitheatre constructed with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Learning is at the heart of all that we do. Our aim is to ensure that every student leaves school with the skills, qualifications and attributes necessary to be a confident, successful and fulfilled young adult. Our students say that they enjoy learning here; our teachers work hard, have excellent subject knowledge and take pride in developing lessons which engage students and inspire them to achieve. Students also have access to excellent sports facilities including a climbing wall and fitness room and there are a wide range of extra-curricular activities for them to pursue in sport, science, music and drama.
Students at St Helena School can follow programmes which offer unique opportunities to develop skills in areas not traditionally offered until post-16. For example, our ‘IT Professional’ programme gives students the chance to learn practical hardware maintenance alongside our IT technicians, as well as offering more traditional computer science elements such as programming. We have excellent links with the Colchester Institute which is literally just across the road from the school, allowing a number of our KS4 students to access an unrivalled range of vocational and specialist provision.
St Helena School was an early adopter of ‘vertical’ tutoring, which has allowed the school to provide a caring, positive experience for new students as well as opportunities for older students to take positions of responsibility within their form. Students, parents and staff all tell us how much they prefer the system to single-year forms. There are four Houses in the school – Abbey, Castle, Priory and Temple – which compete during the year across a range of disciplines.
Each year group also has a Pastoral Manager and Director of Learning who are responsible for tracking, monitoring and supporting students in their year group. This combination gives us the best of both worlds; we have a positive, ‘family’ approach to tutoring along with robust and consistent tracking of students year-by-year. The school has been on a real improvement journey in recent years – one which continues as we strive to provide an outstanding experience for all of our students. Our staff are, of course, our greatest asset and we are particularly privileged to have such a hard-working and committed team of teaching and support staff, all dedicated to ensuring that our students’ daily experience reflects the school’s motto:
Aspire, Believe Achieve