This is an excellent opportunity to join one of Oxfordshire’s largest and most successful schools judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. Effective administrative systems support the two sites. Students are well-behaved and motivated, and there is a strong sense of community in Thame, with a committed parent support base.
We are exceptionally strong in terms of pastoral support for all students and have the highest expectations for individual achievement whatever the starting points. Outside the classroom there are wonderful extra-curricular activities for all. Students leave the school successful and well-rounded individuals. There is a ‘buzz’ about learning in the school and our students are fortunate to be supported in their learning by dedicated teachers and support staff. Staff training and professional development are always a developmental priority and many of our staff move on to promotions in other schools.
The school is the only school serving the market town of Thame and surrounding villages. It is a popular school and always oversubscribed. It is a split site school – Years 7-9 on our Lower School site and Years 10 -13 on our Upper School site. There are around 500 students in our Sixth Form and we attract many students from other schools, post-16. Teamwork is a key feature of school life and so is partnership with our feeder primary schools. There is a strong drive to establish powerful curriculum links cross phase with teachers collaborating on a range of projects.
The Creative Arts Faculty
There are 14 members of staff (6 Art, 2 Dance, 3 Drama and 3 Music) teaching full and part time across the age and ability range. They are supported in their work by Subject and Key Stage Team Leaders. There is skilled administrative and technical support for teachers on both sites.
Key Stage 3
Art, Dance, Drama and Music are taught in mixed ability tutor groups in specialist accommodation. Classes are well supported by teaching assistants. The Phoenix Performing Arts Studio houses both the Dance and Drama teaching spaces, and can be converted into a performance space with tiered seating for 144.
Key Stage 4
Students are encouraged to choose at least one Creative Arts subject for GCSE and we usually have 5 Art classes, one Dance class, 3 Drama classes and 2 Music classes. GCSE results in The Arts are consistently strong, with all 4 subjects achieving positive value added scores and very high proportions of A*-C grades.
Key Stage 5
The Faculty offers Art (Art & Design), Art (Textiles Design), Dance, Music and Theatre Studies at A-level. The Sixth Form Creative Arts students make a significant contribution to the artistic life of the school through their leadership in performances and as “Arts Ambassadors”. The majority of Sixth Form Music students audition to become “Willie Howe” scholars, and receive a bursary to support their continuing musical development.
Extra Curricular Activities
A rich extra-curricular programme provides not only regular creative opportunities for students, but also the major highlights of the school calendar. A varied programme of lunchtime and after school clubs support imaginative skills development and confidence. In addition to set-piece performance and exhibition events, students benefit from a huge range of clubs and activities across all key stages, including a wide range of practitioner workshops. A rich programme of theatre and gallery visits complements students’ classroom experiences and the Arts Council Arts Award programmes are offered to students to encourage leadership and creativity.
There are regular Upper and Lower School Production Companies Drama productions, as well as whole school productions. Students’ exam shows in Drama and Dance offer them performance experience in front of a live audience. The Lower and Upper School Dance Companies’ performances, ‘Alive with Style’ and ‘Choreography Challenge’ showcase students’ exam pieces, and allow Key Stage 3 and 4 students to develop their choreographic and performance skills early. There are yearly Lower School Concerts, the Candle-Lit Carol Service, Singer-of-the-Year Competition and Gambia Night as well as a huge range of musical events. All Key Stage 3 Art students take part in two whole school student-led Visual Arts competitions every year and exhibit shortlisted work, curated and judged by student Art Ambassadors. Key Stage 4 also exhibit their end of course artwork. The “Creative Arts Open Evening” in the summer term brings the whole faculty together in a dynamic display of examination and less formal work across all four Creative Arts areas.