Aylesbury Grammar School
Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
About Aylesbury Grammar School
Aylesbury Grammar School is a high performing boys’ state grammar school and we recognise every student as being different but equal. Our aim is to ensure each boy thrives and achieves the most from his potential. All our students are respected as individuals and as having different talents, backgrounds and aspirations. We offer an enormous number of activities, opportunities and challenges to inspire and enrich every student.
At AGS our values encourage everyone to ‘Respect and Aspire’ in a happy and caring community.
Aylesbury Grammar School was founded in 1598 by Sir Henry Lee, the Champion of Queen Elizabeth I. It developed in the centre of Aylesbury until 1907, when it moved to its present site. For many years the school was independent and its intake was co-educational. In 1952 it became voluntary controlled and in 1959 the girls moved to a separate, adjacent site to become Aylesbury High School for Girls. The two schools continue to maintain close links, particularly for extra-curricular events and at Sixth Form level.
AGS converted to Foundation status in 2008 and Academy status in 2011. The school continues to be supported by the Aylesbury Grammar School Foundation, a separate charitable entity. The links between the School and the Foundation are strong, and four of the Foundation Trustees are members of the Governing Body.
• To achieve and attain excellence in public examination results across a broad and balanced curriculum.
• To maintain an ethos of the highest level of respect and admiration for all.
• To deliver high quality teaching that enables every student to fulfil their potential.
• To facilitate an inspirational and innovative learning experience.
• To provide an exceptional level of student and staff development and well-being support.
• To ensure that the environment supports the learning aims and ethos of the school.
• To ensure that all students, staff and stakeholders are engaged with the school community and its aims, and to feel proud to be a part of Aylesbury Grammar School.
Outstanding Academic Achievement
Aylesbury Grammar School boasts an excellent academic track record and the school is consistently ranked as one of the top state schools in the country.
The school places great emphasis on identifying the strengths and needs of each student in order for him to be supported and challenged to reach his potential. Progress is carefully measured and tracked, and students set themselves realistic but challenging targets for their academic and personal development.
In 2013, 65 per cent of all GCSEs taken were awarded an A* or A grade and all students achieved 5A*-C grades (including English and Maths). Results in the Sixth Form are also outstanding and in 2013 40 per cent of A Levels were awarded A*/A grades with 70 per cent awarded A*-B grades. Students proceed to a wide range of universities, including Oxbridge and Russell Group, across the country and abroad. Popular courses include Science, Medicine, Mathematics, History, Accounting, Computing and Law.
In the Lower School, students enjoy a broad and balanced curriculum. As well as English, Mathematics and the Sciences, students have the opportunity to study Design Technology, Food & Nutrition, Classical Studies and German or Spanish in addition to French. English, Mathematics, all three Sciences, a modern language and non-examined PE and games continue for all boys into Key Stage 4.
At GCSE level, students can study a range of familiar and new subjects including Business Studies, Economics, Geography, History, ICT, Sports Science, Drama, Art, Music, Japanese and Italian. All students are given focussed support when choosing their GCSE choices, and the School strives to give students varied and challenging options and to introduce new courses if there is demand - for example, GCSE Computing was recently been added to the curriculum.
Over 95 per cent of boys stay on into the AGS Sixth Form, which is one of the most successful in the country. Many combinations of over 25 A level courses are possible and there is a particularly close link with Aylesbury High School in Years 12 and 13.
Whilst academic achievement is important, AGS also offers an exceptional all-round education designed to give each student an opportunity to fully explore his talents. The school is particularly proud of its sporting successes.
In rugby, AGS has produced three England internationals at U18 and U20 level over the last five years as well as numerous county level and professional players. School rugby teams in all year groups achieve notable success and students of all abilities are encouraged to participate.
AGS boys also enjoy contributing to many other teams in a wide range of sports, with regular successes at regional and county level as well as reaching the latter stages in national competitions in football, basketball, cricket, tennis, athletics and squash. The school football and cricket teams dominate locally, often challenging for District and County Cups as well as performing very well in a high-quality friendly fixture list. Basketball and squash are very popular sports with students, both benefiting from the support of a professional coach and AGS teams are regularly County Champions. In 2012/2013 AGS was placed 4th in the country for schools’ tennis having finished 3rd in the National Championships the year before. Handball is another example of a growing sport in the school with two current students representing England.
These sporting achievements have been recognised by the Sportsmark Award. AGS has been named Aylesbury Vale Sports School of the Year for three of the last four years and have held the Team of the Year Award since 2008.
Art, Music and Drama
Art, music and drama all play an immensely important role in the life of the school. The Choral Society, Orchestra, Junior and Senior Jazz Bands are very popular and the school offers music tuition for most instruments. Every year a series of concerts and musicals are staged jointly with Aylesbury High School, and the hugely popular Cabaret Evening held at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre attracts over 400 staff, students, parents and alumni every year.
AGS prides itself on delivering the highest standards of pastoral care. From the end of Year 6, there is a tailored induction programme which sees AGS staff visiting every new student in his primary school. New students are supported by Year 8 Buddies, Junior and Sixth-Form Prefects, as well as their Form Tutor, Head of House and Head of Year.
There is a well-established House system which has a hugely positive impact on all students in their academic work, extra-curricular contribution and development into responsible young men. Students are placed into one of six houses and will be supported by their Head of House from the Induction process in Year 7, all the way through to applying to universities in the Sixth-Form. As well as developing a sense of loyalty, the House system encourages healthy competition: both sporting, for the Brodie Trophy and artistic, for the Watson Trophy. These provide opportunities for all boys to contribute positively to the success of their House and the School.
Estate and Facilities
AGS strives to provide a first-class learning environment and has recently made several investments in the estate. The school now boasts a state-of-the-art digital Language Lab and the newly refurbished Foundation Hall provides an impressive central venue for a wide range of school events. The science laboratories are currently undergoing major extension and refurbishment, and investment in the school’s four squash courts has been made possible by a grant from Sport England and generous support from parents and alumni.
The Governing Body are committed to a programme of continued investment in the estate and facilities and the new Head will play an important role in overseeing this.
AGS is a non-denominational day school, and takes the top third of the ability range from approximately 70 feeder schools, based on the results of an 11+ test. Just over 12 per cent of the students are from ethnic minority backgrounds, and for around 10 per cent of the students English is not their first language; nevertheless, the standard of English is very high across the board. Some 30 per cent of the students come from Aylesbury itself, but the catchment area is wide and a number travel considerable distances to the School.
Selection is carried out using verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests provided by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University. A score equivalent to 121 or above in the previous local authority tests is required for entry at year 7, although a very small number of students are admitted on appeal with lower scores. Entry to the Sixth-Form is limited to those scoring at least 362 points in their best 8 GCSE results, including Maths and English, with further criteria required to move up from year 12 to year 13. The School is fully subscribed in all years with appropriately qualified students, and turnover is very low. A majority of boys and parents express a preference for AGS.
AGS prides itself on developing and maintaining excellent relationships with a wide range of external stakeholders. The School is held in high regard in its immediate community and is an active member of many local and national bodies, such as the Aylesbury Liaison Group, BASS (an affiliation of the top 20 boys’ state schools nationally), and the Grammar School Heads’ Association (GSHA), as well as the Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools’ Company (TBGS) which was formed in 2013 to co-ordinate the work of similar schools in the county. The School is also a core member of the Bucks Teaching School Partnership, with the current Head acting as Chairman.
The Governors of AGS are an enthusiastic and committed group of individuals bringing a wide range of professional expertise and experience. They meet termly in three sub-committees and as a full Governing Body. The three sub-committees of the Governing Body are Learning & Teaching, Community & Development and Resources including Finance. The Chairman of Governors is Mr Jim Collins.
The Head is supported by a Senior Leadership Team comprising the Deputy Head, three Assistant Heads and the Director of Resources. The Deputy Head and the Assistant Heads hold both academic and pastoral remits and each member of the Senior Leadership Team has line management responsibility for other members of staff.