A warm welcome from the Governors of Denefield School.
We are very proud of our school which has been serving our local community for over 40 years. The school, under the effective leadership of Lucy Hillyard, provides high quality education for our young people. Our caring and distinctive ethos is based on our ‘Character Values’ and a belief that every child has the potential to succeed. Our strap line, 'Enabling potential, expecting the best’ is at the heart of all the school's work.
We are committed to excellence and passionately believe that the school provides our young people with the best opportunities to develop and achieve both academically and personally. At Denefield, we strongly believe in providing a broad and balanced curriculum and value all subjects especially in a time when schools are under increasing Government pressure to focus on a narrow suite of academic qualifications.
As you may be aware, Ofsted conducted a one-day inspection earlier this year in January 2018 and judged that the school continues to be a ‘Good’ school. We were delighted with the outcome and were very pleased that the Inspector recognised the efforts taken by senior leaders, staff and Governors to further improve the quality of education provided.
Our 2018 GCSE exam results were very pleasing and worthy of much celebration. An impressive number of students (71%) achieved the basics measure 9-4 in English and maths, our best ever results to date. Also, our results for the Ebacc suite of GCSE qualifications (32%) continue to exceed national average for the fifth year running. Outstanding results were seen in art, business, PE studies, BTEC Health & Social Care and BTEC Sport. Provisional data from the Department of Education shows that our progress 8 score for GCSE remains steady at 0.03.
We continue to see impressive results for 2018 in the Sixth Form, with 73% of students securing A*-C in their A2s with 15% of students achieved the higher grades of A*-A. Outstanding results were seen in English literature, fine art, media, textiles, DT graphics, media and extended project qualification (EPQ).
Our curriculum provides students with a good academic grounding together with ample opportunities to become well rounded individuals. Developing ‘Character Values’ is a key focus of our work and we encourage our students to embrace these values to become confident, happy, articulate, resilient, ambitious, courageous, tolerant, empathetic and respectful individuals. Students are given opportunities to thrive and grow, through an array of extra-curricular activities (ie sports clubs, performing arts clubs, Duke of Edinburgh awards, Combined Cadet force) and in-school leadership positions (ie school council, house council, subject ambassadors).
We have excellent links with a number of local businesses which provide superb opportunities for young people to develop a passion and interest for the STEM subjects. The school has a strong sporting tradition and plays an active part in a number of county fixtures; opportunities to play sport overseas have been introduced in recent years, past trips include Paris, Greece and Malta. Our art, music and drama departments make valuable contributions to school life including annual productions; past performances include: Oliver, We will rock you and Hairspray. We have a partnership with Pangbourne College and have a Combined Cadet Force which enables our young people to develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, resilience, resourcefulness, endurance, and perseverance.
Our Modern Foreign Languages curriculum offers a wide range of languages: French, Spanish and German and opportunities for overseas visits to help children practice language skills and to experience the culture of countries they are studying. Our German exchange has been in place for the last 32 years and is testament to the drive and enthusiasm of the leadership team in MFL.
Since January 2012 the school has operated as a standalone Academy Trust School. Academy schools are free from the local authority control but directly accountable to the Secretary of State for Education. Academy status has benefited the school considerably and has enabled us to bid for a number of capital grants to improve the buildings and learning environment. Thus far to date, we have received £2.66 million pounds which has been used to replace all the windows, install new ceilings, replace lighting and heating controls, to extend the canteen and revitalise outdoor eating areas. Our most recent project, completed over the summer holidays, has seen improvements to site security and safeguarding provision. We have installed electronic exit gates and fencing to the front of the school, extended the outdoor supervised area which includes a ramp to provide access for all, installed new doors with visibility panels in the Aristotle building, replaced CCTV cameras and put in much needed lighting for the carpark.
I am very proud to be Chair of Governors at Denefield School. The Governors are very committed to supporting the school and working with the staff to offer the best education for the young people in our local community. As a parent of three children, my two daughters who have completed their education at the school and my son is in the Sixth Form, I have been delighted with the quality of education and the excellent support they have received.
Chair of Governors