Highgate Wood Secondary School
Haringey, United Kingdom
About Highgate Wood Secondary School
Highgate Wood School is a mixed comprehensive school providing secondary education.
The school underwent its most recent OFSTED inspection in February 2009. The main findings of the report noted that Highgate Wood School is “moving in the right direction to be a really good school”, “The school's motto 'Everyone Matters' epitomises the strong contribution it makes to community cohesion. Students develop a strong sense of social and moral purpose and a good understanding and healthy respect for each others' background and culture.” It was also recognised that “The well-led sixth form provides a good quality of education for its students.”
Student Community and Attainment
The school serves a multicultural community and many of our students are bilingual. The school is over subscribed but has an imbalance of boys to girls of 3:2. The school is situated in a pleasant area over looking Alexandra Palace. Approximately 20% of students are eligible for free school meals, approximately 3% of students have statements of special educational need, and over 200 students are on the school’s SEN register. More than half our students are drawn from a wide variety of minority ethnic groups, including Black-Caribbean, Greek and Turkish Cypriot, as well as from the Turkish, Kurdish, Black-African, Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Chinese and Somali communities. Our students come from every socio-economic background, their levels of attainment on entry vary but cover the whole spectrum of ability. We are a truly comprehensive school.
By comparison with schools of a similar intake, students’ attainment is broadly average at KS3 and KS4. 64% of students achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grades A * - C and 52% students achieved 5*-C including English and Maths in the 2008/9 cohort. This was the school’s best ever set of GCSE results. In addition the ever growing and improving 6th form (rated as Good by Ofsted) achieved it’s best ever A2 results this summer – 71% A-C grades.
The school occupies an attractive secluded site on the Crouch End playing fields between Muswell Hill, Highgate and Crouch End. Dating from 1961, it has good specialist classroom accommodation, a library, a hall suitable for dramatic and musical performance and year group assemblies, dining facilities, a well-equipped gymnasium and a large sports hall. A purpose-built unit for Year 12/13 and extra specialist classrooms have been added. A Science and Humanities block was opened in l988. In 2002 the school was awarded Performing Arts Status. As a specialist school, we encourage every student to participate in the performing arts and have over 400 students receiving individual peripatetic music lessons. There are 2 major concerts, a school production and performances at local primary schools, and a bi-annual concert tour abroad.
An extensive building programme is currently underway as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. This is due to be completed in December 2009, and will see us benefit from
• Improved ICT network and infrastructure
• Greater access to ICT as a learning and teaching tool
• A new and larger Learning Resource Centre
• New purpose built Media Studies rooms and a Media Studio
• A new outdoor Open Air Stage for summer performances
• A staff/6th form ICT rich study, work and resource suite
Continuing Professional Development
We see ourselves as a learning community and place a great deal of emphasis on our continuing professional development. CPD sessions based on an audit of school and personal needs take place at least fortnightly. The Senior Leadership Team have completed the NCSL course ‘Working together for Success’, both of the Deputy Heads and one Assistant Head have achieved success in NPQH. We have 4 of our middle leaders pursuing a ‘Leading from the Middle’ course each year. Our focus is currently on Learning and Teaching including Assessment for Learning, monitoring & evaluating and meeting the needs of all students.
The school day begins at 8.35 a.m. and ends at 3.10 p.m. Lessons take place straight away at the start of the day, with a tutorial period and assemblies taking place later during the morning. The lunch break is from 1.10 to 2.10 p.m. The school operates a two-week timetable.
At Highgate Wood School the education of every young person is held to be of equal value. We have always sought to achieve the five outcomes of Every Child Matters and these are reflected in our school aims.
At the end of seven years at Highgate Wood we want our young people to ….
• Have high expectations of themselves and of others
• Thrive on their passion for learning
• Demonstrate high quality in whatever they do
• Take their place in society with a set of principles underpinned by the importance of contribution, courtesy, cooperation and consideration
• Show and display an appreciation of justice and morality
• Choose a healthy lifestyle underpinned by good eating habits and regular exercise
• Have the skills, abilities and qualifications necessary to achieve economic well-being
• Be positive and confident in their approach … to be a living, breathing example of the Highgate Wood Ethos
We also aim to provide our students with an atmosphere in which they are able to feel secure and confident, and which is conducive to study and to learning. Through a clear and concise set of students’ rights and responsibilities we expect that each of our students understands the importance of self-discipline, a consideration for others and the care of the school environment. We place great emphasis on high standards of both work and behaviour from all our students. The support and co-operation of parents is invaluable in achieving these aims.
Students are organised on a year basis. Each year group is in the care of a Head of Learning who will move up the school with the students. They are supported by five Pastoral Mentors who are attached to a year group each from years 7 to 11 who are there to pick up and deal with any behaviour issues. In addition, the school has a team of 4 Centre Mentors who work closely with individual students to set targets for their progress.
We are part of the Employee Assistance Programme and have a Well-Being co-ordinator whose task is to remind us of the importance of work- life balance.
For a number of years at Post 16 we have worked in a successful consortium with Hornsey School for Girls. Our Post 16 students are based in separate accommodation on the main school site and consist of 200 students organised for pastoral purposes into six tutor groups led by a permanent Head of Post 16. Year 12 students are encouraged to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.
At present, more than 70 students are following two-year courses to ‘A’ Level. Other students are pursuing the General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ) in a number of vocational options. These GNVQ courses are available to students of all abilities and qualifications.
This is a weekly timetabled period taught to all students by a specialist team. It is designed to support the academic curriculum, to cover cross-curricular aspects of the National Curriculum, to provide our students with a range of skills necessary for life within and after school and to promote self-confidence and a sense of belonging. We aim to put Citizenship into practice rather than just teach it.
The school aims to maintain and develop close links with the local community, and employers in the area have been especially helpful in offering work-experience placements to Year 11 students. There is a close liaison between the school and the Connexions Careers Officers who hold individual interviews for Year 11 and Year 12/13 students. They also participate on a regular basis in the Citizenship programme.
We recognise the value of working in partnership with parents and actively encourage their involvement in school. We have a thriving Parent School Association (PSA), a working group of African Caribbean parents and are encouraging the development of a Turkish group through Turkish translated newsletters. We have recently been awarded the Leading Parent Partnership Award (LPPA) which recognises the developments that we continue to make in this area.
Extra Curricular Activities
Highgate Wood has a strong tradition of extra curricular activities, taking place at the beginning and end of each school day. Students take part in coaching activities, team practices, and inter-school matches. Recently awarded the Sportsmark award, we seek to co-operate with local primary schools and clubs within the Crouch End playing fields. Theatre visits, drama rehearsals and music practices, are regular activities. The school has a long history of school journeys. Many take place during the school day as part of the curriculum and frequently the school mini-bus is used. In addition, there are weekend and longer journeys including trips abroad both in term time and in the holidays.
Highgate Wood School has a no smoking policy.