The Woodroffe School

Dorset, United Kingdom

Location: Dorset, United Kingdom
Type: Mainstream School
Phase: Secondary
Funding status: State - Foundation
Gender: Mixed
Age range: 11 - 18 years

About The Woodroffe School

Woodroffe is an outstanding school with a national reputation. It is widely recognised as one of the best schools in the south west.  It is both a Teaching School, leading an alliance of nearly 50 schools and colleges across the region, and one of only thirty Maths Hubs in the country.    

Support for new staff is comprehensive and draws upon our expertise as a Teaching School. Regular CPD sessions are organized across the year, NQTs and recently qualified teachers are assigned a mentor to help familiarise them with day to day procedures, and all new staff follow a thorough induction programme.  Staff at Woodroffe are exceptionally committed to the school and feel proud to work here.  More importantly, they enjoy working here.  Most come for three years and stay for good.  

The school is fortunate in having students who are a pleasure to teach as well as a stunning location situated above Lyme Regis and looking out across Lyme Bay. It is a mixed, 11 - 18 comprehensive with 1,050 students on roll, including approximately 200 in the sixth form.  The school offers a unique combination of the traditional and the innovative. Students all wear uniform and visitors often remark upon their behaviour and general courtesy.  The atmosphere in the school is warm and friendly and student/teacher relationships are excellent.  Woodroffe enjoys close links with the town and has been an important part of the community for over seventy years.  

A traditional approach to discipline and behaviour does not mean that the school is backward looking.  Indeed, there is a real sense of purpose and commitment to the future across the school.  Originally a Specialist School (Visual Arts with an additional specialism in Maths and Computing), Woodroffe is committed to pupil progress and innovative approaches to the curriculum.  There is also a powerful and far-reaching community arts programme which impacts positively on all aspects of the school’s work.   

Though a Dorset school, Woodroffe has a wide rural catchment, attracting students from well beyond its designated area, with over half its students drawn from Devon, plus a few from Somerset.  Woodroffe is full in every year and applications for places in Year 7 are always heavily oversubscribed.  The school has an excellent reputation locally and it is the reason that many people choose to live in the area.  

Academic performance is excellent and improving year on year. At Key Stages 3 and 4 we are always one of the top schools in the county; at A-Level we work consistently above the national average.  

As a Foundation school, Woodroffe benefits from a committed and active governing body.  There is also a strong commitment to staff development and the school has the Investors in People standard.  

The school is housed in an imposing thirties building (Hogwarts or Malory Towers, depending on your age!) but extensive modernization has taken place over the years. There is a state of the art Drama Studio, a superb Sports Hall and Fitness Suite, new accommodation for Art and Design plus a Digital Arts room equipped with a suite of Apple Macs and a professional recording studio.  The most recent addition to the school is the high-tech Lego Innovation Suite, equipped with Mindstorm robots, Lego software and, of course, thousands of Lego bricks, a room available to all subject areas for both project and curricular work.  

In Years 7 to 11 the school aims to provide a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum embracing the requirements of the National Curriculum. In Year 7 students follow an innovative “Literacy Curriculum” based upon Reading and Thinking Skills.  The core subjects, English, Mathematics and Science, are taught as normal; other subjects are grouped into the following areas:  People and Places (which includes the humanities subjects), Food and Fitness and Art and Design.  All students study Reading for four periods a cycle (in addition to English). 

In Year 8 students follow a more traditional pattern of subjects, though Reading is retained in the bottom set. In Year 9 we have introduced a unique ‘pathways’ system to allow students some choice in the subjects they follow: every student continues with the core subjects but then chooses one of seven three-subject pathways. Many continue with these subjects at KS4 but they do get the chance to choose new options in Year 10. 

In Key Stage 4 a broad core is maintained with most students completing the English Baccalaureate.  Therefore, all students study English, Mathematics, Science, a Modern Foreign Language, Geography or History, Physical Education, RE, Careers and Personal and Social Education. In addition, students follow option choices chosen from a range of disciplines.  

The Sixth Form aims to provide a framework of diverse opportunities enabling individuals to achieve success in academic, personal and social development.  It is an important feature of Woodroffe and fully reflects the comprehensive nature of the school.  

The Sixth Form curriculum is broad and flexible and allows students to develop programmes of study suited to their individual needs.  Courses include:  AS/A(A2) in Art, Art History, Classical Civilisation, Design Technology, French, Spanish, General Studies, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Core Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Citizenship, English Language, English Literature, Geography, Geology, History, Music, Music Technology, Media Studies, Politics, Environmental Science, Sociology, Sports Studies, Theatre Studies, Photography and Psychology.  

A programme of Personal and Social Education is organised in Year 7, and Years 8 to 11 follow a Citizenship and PSE Course.  In the Sixth Form there is a "Core" programme.  This allows the Sixth Form to invite visiting speakers in to talk about topics which broaden their knowledge and support their General Studies/EPQ examinations.  

In Years 7 and 8 students are placed in six forms/tutor groups of equal ability.  Year 7 are set in two halves for Mathematics.  

In Year 8 there is “deep” setting in half year groups for Mathematics and French.  English is taught in mixed ability tutor groups throughout Key Stage 3.  In Year 9 there is “deep” setting in half year groups in Mathematics and in-band setting in French and Science. 

Students with Special Educational Needs are catered for through a programme of in-class support and withdrawal for specialist inputs.  Our aim is for them to retain an entitlement curriculum.  

A full and detailed report is issued for each student at least once a year.  This includes student self-assessments. Other means of communication with parents include Progress Cards, online reporting through the Sims Learning Gateway and parent-teacher meetings.  The school has a thriving PTA.

 Woodroffe aims to provide a caring atmosphere in which stable relationships can be formed.  We operate a Year System for pastoral care, Heads of Years and Tutors rotating from Years 7 to 11.  We do, however, emphasize that the "academic" and "pastoral" elements of our work are inextricably linked!  

We have a thriving student School Council, and an Alternative Council, both of which contribute a great deal to the work of the school. Woodroffe is committed to UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools agenda and was one of the first secondary schools in the country to achieve the RRS award.  

Extra curricular activities are extensive.  Sporting and musical elements are strong, drama productions take place on a regular basis and there is an annual Art and Design Exhibition held offsite at The Town Mill.  The school has a Combined Cadet Force (Army, Navy and Air Force) and we operate the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and enter teams for the Ten Tors Expedition on Dartmoor.  For a full list of recent events look at our website on  

Community links are fostered through a number of activities.  Students regularly participate in community events in town.  Sixth Formers undertake community service in a range of schools and residential homes, CCF Cadets support the Lyme Regis Remembrance Day Parade and musical groups are involved in concerts and other local events.  Members of the community are encouraged to come to school to contribute to Assemblies and a range of curricular activities.   

In its most recent OFSTED Inspection (September 2011), Woodroffe School was described as an outstanding school.  The first paragraph of the Inspector’s Report reads:  

‘The Woodroffe School has built systematically on its previous achievements and strengthened its position as a highly effective place of learning that provides outstanding opportunities for students.  

The school has a highly effective, cooperative culture, with relationships between students and staff being very positive. Attainment is high and students enjoy learning. There is no room for complacency in the school. Leaders are analytical and continue to develop and refine practice in order to improve things further for students.  

Students recognise the hard work of staff and appreciate the wide range of diverse opportunities available. Students’ behaviour is outstanding. The students are astute and appreciative, but also have a keen understanding of how things could be improved further and a willingness to articulate their thoughts to leaders in the school, including through the school council, alternative council and other informal opportunities.  

Sixth-form students are exceptional role models around the school. They demonstrate high levels of maturity and commitment to their studies and help to highlight the high expectations and aspirations they have. Sixth-form students can be seen regularly in many classes undertaking independent studies and this gives all students opportunities to see the high quality of work the students produce, as well as their excellent work ethic and articulate, polite, and enthusiastic manner.’ 

In 2015 the school received a Pupil Premium Award as well as a letter from the School’s Minister congratulating pupils on their performance in Ebacc subjects.   

Lyme Regis and District is a delightful area in which to live and work.  

Further details about the school, including a prospectus, can be obtained from Miss Keeping, Head’s PA/Personnel Manager, (tel: 01297 442232 or email: The school website address is:  This has a direct link to other websites - OFSTED, Dorset County Council. Lyme Regis Town Council. Richard Steward Headteacher                                                                                       

January 2017

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Address: Uplyme Road, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3LX, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 1297 442232