Headteacher from the
Wembley High is a thriving and happy school with a strong focus on academic excellence. Last year, we were the highest-achieving non-denominational school in Brent. Our mission is clear and simple: we provide a structured, disciplined working environment in which every student receives high-quality teaching and is strongly encouraged to achieve his or her full potential. The School is first and foremost a learning community, which is reflected in its strong work ethic. The high standard of learning and teaching across the curriculum is supported by our Technology School status, which focuses on Mathematics, Science, Information Technology and Design Technology. The School also benefits from Training School status, which enables us to provide cutting-edge teaching at the forefront of learning. All students benefit from the use of state-of-the-art facilities across the science and technology disciplines, major investment in new facilities and resources, the best trained and qualified staff, and a culture of mutual respect. We believe that our students should complement their academic achievement by being well-rounded and moral citizens. Social development sits alongside academic excellence at the heart of the School’s ethos. We offer a broad and stimulating range of extra-curricular activities to support wider learning, and we promote strong links with the local community. Our straightforward approach has produced results of which the School is very proud. In this prospectus, we want to tell you more about the students, staff and facilities that make Wembley High such a wonderful school. Full details of our values, beliefs and academic achievements can be found in the accompanying Supplementary Handbook. We look forward to welcoming you.
Gill Bal – Headteacher
“This is an excellent school.”
Brent Local Authority, June 2009
“ Wembley High Technology College is a really outstanding place to be. This popular and heavily oversubscribed school offers all its students the chance to succeed, and they clearly know and appreciate it.” Ofsted, September 2008
Achievement The School was graded Outstanding in 24 out of 27 areas in September 2008. • The School was categorised as an excellent school by Brent Local Authority in July 2009. • The School achieved High Performing Schools Status (HPSS) in September 2008. This is awarded by the DCSF based on strict criteria. • The School achieved Sportsmark in 2008 and Artsmark in 2009. • The School has a CVA (Contextual Value Added) of 1048.5, which is the highest in Brent and in the top 1 % of schools nationally. • We have the highest GCSE total point score of 486.4 in Brent. • We have a Jesson Value Added (JVA) score of 39, which is the best score in London. • The School is heavily oversubscribed, with more than 1050 applications for 210 places in Year 7 for September 2009.
“ The teachers all have high expectations of us and that makes me want to do my best.” Year 7 student
“A vision for excellence is shared with all members of the school community and everyone pulls together in the same direction… to ensure that no student is left behind.” Ofsted, September 2008
“The school has high expectations of what they can achieve and because of this they fully meet their challenging targets.”
Ofsted, September 2008
“Excellent care, guidance and support ensures that the personal development and well being of students is outstanding.”
Ofsted, September 2008
It is our priority that students and parents find the transition from primary to secondary school both enjoyable and successful. The transition process begins in Year 5. Pupils from our feeder schools attend taster and induction days at Wembley High, and our students make regular visits to the feeder schools to work on projects in the Arts, ICT and PE. Pupils are placed in specially tailored groups to ensure that every child will make maximum progress. The first day of the Autumn Term is devoted to an activity programme which helps students to settle in. The whole day is spent with the form tutor, who is the first point of contact for students and parents throughout the school year. All students receive a solid grounding in essential skills. For example, pupils work with their English teacher to create a personalised reading plan. We also broaden students’ understanding and ability through study skills programmes, inter-form quizzes, and opportunities to debate current affairs. Pastoral care is taken seriously. We look after students’ emotional well-being by providing a range of pastoral support, including mentoring, counselling, tutor reporting, peer mentoring, and interventions from our Pastoral Support Workers. Each tutor group is supported by Sixth Form Mentors, who are there to listen to and help the new Year 7 students.
In the first half term, parents and carers are invited to attend a special Year 7 Parents’ Evening, where they meet form tutors, subject teachers, and pastoral staff to discuss progress. This evening marks the end of the transition process from primary to secondary school.
Degree: BMus (Hons), University of London Licentiate of the London School of Music – Recital Diploma in Performance
Name: Mr Jeremy Evans Position: Director of Learning for Years 7 – 8
Interest: Post Goldsmiths, he studied with the virtuoso German clarinettist Hans Deinzer at the Scuola di Perfezionamento Musicale di Bobbio (Piacenza, Italy)
“The school has worked hard to forge close links with feeder primary schools… Relations are harmonious and equality of opportunity is promoted relentlessly.” Brent Local Authority, June 2009
An Outstanding Curriculum Wembley High offers a rich and extensive curriculum that goes far beyond the Government’s requirements. It is coherently structured and presents a choice of pathways. Our fundamental belief is that all students are entitled to an individually tailored and holistic education. We therefore encourage students to sit exams as soon as they are ready, and offer a wide range of additional qualifications and extra-curricular activities to provide a rounded learning experience. At Key Stage 3 (Years 7 – 9), we place great emphasis on giving all students a firm grounding in the core subject areas. These include English, Maths, Science and ICT. In the main subjects, we stream students by ability, so that everyone receives appropriately tailored tuition. The most able students will gain GCSEs in Maths and ICT by Year 9, which enables them to study for additional qualifications. We recognise that these three years are crucial preparation for GCSEs, and so we give all students individual guidance to help them make the best option choices for Key Stage 4. At Key Stage 4 (Years 10 – 11), we provide an even more personalised curriculum which is geared towards students’ individual aptitudes and skills. Students follow our Accelerated GCSE Programme, taking examinations in several subjects a year earlier than normal. This approach reduces pressure on students in Year 11, and frees up valuable time for further learning outside the classroom. Our Sixth Form (Years 12 – 13) is very successful and prepares students for the transition from school to university. We offer a full range of AS and A2 levels, Advanced VCEs and vocational courses, and the majority of our students go on to gain places at leading universities.
Students’ learning is supported at all stages by state-of-the-art facilities, in line with our Technology School Status (which focuses on science, mathematics and DT). We have invested £3 million in additional buildings, including six new science laboratories, four design technology suites, two music suites, a Sixth Form IT Library and additional teaching rooms, all with the latest IT equipment. Extra-curricular activities have been greatly enhanced by a large new Astroturf pitch, new tennis courts, a new hall, and a specialised multi-use games area.
Everyone is encouraged to study for additional qualifications outside the set curriculum, including difficult languages, CLAiT accreditation, and industry-recognised finance qualifications.
“At Key Stage 4, the well established early entry policy both encourages achievement and allows for additional courses to be taken e.g. GCSE Additional Maths.” Brent Local Authority, June 2008
“The school provides an outstanding curriculum that is extremely well geared to the needs and aspirations of its students. This is another major contributory factor to their outstanding achievement.” Ofsted, September 2008
“Some outstanding teaching was observed during the inspection… In a Sixth Form English lesson, students debated in a lively way, prompted well by their teacher. Their enjoyment and appreciation of literature was clearly evident.” Ofsted, September 2008
Language & Literature Our approach to teaching English is both traditional and innovative, with a highly specialised curriculum for Year 7 students. We promote enjoyment and engagement with reading, and all Year 7 and 8 students participate in the Accelerated Reader programme. Students are expected to have a book with them at all times, and are encouraged to read with their form tutors as well as in dedicated reading lessons. The School has invested £20,000 in developing the fiction library, and students take part in the Book Swap. This focus on literacy is augmented by the novel study of cross-curricular themes, which might involve examining healthy lifestyles through the media, looking at how the environment is presented in poetry, or learning about history and civilisation by reading a novel. From Year 9, students can study for GCSEs in English, English Literature, and Media, and for A-levels in Film Studies and English Literature. In line with School policy, we allow students to sit their exams as soon as they are ready. For example, it is possible to take AS-levels in Year 11. Our teachers’ special interests are diverse, and range from the media to post-colonial literature to the development of language. The department is also a member of the Prince’s Teaching Institute, which fosters academic excellence by developing teachers’ subject knowledge and by supporting innovation and creativity in the curriculum. Students are given challenging and interesting opportunities, such as writing the opening chapter of a dystopian novel or studying the poetry of the First World War. Extra-curricular activities are equally engaging. Our book club students recently shadowed the Carnegie Medal for children’s fiction, and discussed their thoughts with students from other schools via the Carnegie website.
Teacher profile Name:
Ms Lucy Floyer
Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for English
BA in English Literature and Classical Civilisations, University of Reading
Children’s literature, Renaissance poetry, Greek drama, modern novels, and film studies
“The accelerated reader programme is having an excellent impact on students… Extra lessons and catch up programmes ensure that those students who are in danger of falling behind make maximum progress.” Ofsted, September 2008
Our Specialist Status means we can offer a broad and stimulating Science curriculum, supported by the latest technology and cutting-edge facilities. Year 7 students study our newly designed Science course, which looks at the fundamental concepts of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Lessons are designed to engage students in practical opportunities and present science in a real-world setting. This rigorous programme, designed by our specialist staff, also develops communication, research, and ICT skills. Students thrive in small group tutorials within a well-equipped department. Year 9 students can study separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, GCSE Science with Additional Science, or Applied Science. Triple award Biology, Chemistry and Physics has also become more popular, and a high proportion of students now take one or more of these subjects to A-level.
Name: Mr Alan McDougall Position: Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for Science Degree: BSc in Chemistry, University of Hull Interest: Medicinal Chemistry, particularly Organic Chemistry
Name: Dr Faye Dodds Position: Chemistry teacher Degree: PhD and 1st Class MSc in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge Interest: Inorganic Synthetic Chemistry
“Expectations have been raised to the extent that there has been an increased uptake in maths and sciences in the Sixth Form.”
Ofsted, September 2008
“Students say that they find the advice that their teachers give them on how to succeed in their examinations particularly valuable.”
Ofsted, September 2008
Teacher profile Name: Ms Bethan Robertson Position: Chemistry teacher Degree: MSc in Biochemistry, University of London Interest: Funded by Cancer Research UK to study transmissible cancers
Teacher profile Name: Ms Charley Phillips Position: Physics teacher Degree: BSc in Structural Engineering with Architecture, University of Edinburgh Interest: Part of a team of engineers that designed an entire steel bridge, which won the Corus Undergraduate Design Award Teaching is not confined to the classroom. A great deal of support is offered beyond lessons: many science teachers are available after school, and structured revision classes are run by subject specialists to provide students with the support to succeed. We also have an extremely popular after-school Science Club, which develops our young scientists’ investigative skills. In the Sixth Form, our connections with universities have allowed students to gain experience in innovative research laboratories. Every year, a substantial number of Sixth Formers go on to read Science, Engineering or Medicine degrees at the most prestigious universities.
Teacher profile Name: Dr Karen James Position: Biology teacher Degree: 1st Class MSc in Chemistry, University of Glasgow; PhD in Organic Synthetic Chemistry, University of Manchester Interest: Medicinal Chemistry
Wembley High has a vibrant and energetic Science department with a great team of enthusiastic teachers, who have worked at the forefront of their fields and continue to share a passion for science. We work hard to create exciting and challenging lessons and provide outstanding support to help our students understand the huge possibilities created by a flair for science.
“Teachers use their good subject knowledge to plan interesting and useful activities.”
Ofsted, September 2008
We have invested heavily in equipment and facilities across the Sciences, and ICT is no exception. ICT is fully embedded into the whole curriculum, and students benefit from innovative computer technology in all their subjects. All Year 7 students learn in a fully equipped ICT suite with cutting-edge technology. We cover essential ICT units such as information management, data modelling, creative projects, and online safety. Students quickly achieve competency in Microsoft Office and other industry-standard software. At Key Stage 4, we follow a specially devised syllabus which allows students to achieve up to four GCSEs in ICT. The course structure enables students to engage and approach ICT using practical assessments that are relevant to the workplace. Our investment in ICT has produced excellent results. In 2008, we achieved more than 400 GCSEs in the subject, and in the academic year 2009/2010 all Year 9 students will take an early-entry GCSE in ICT. Our passion for ICT is mirrored in our students’ enthusiasm, with many regularly attending extra-curricular classes with our ICT specialists, who help students achieve the top grades. A key feature of the ICT department is the extensive extra support given to our students. Our ICT specialists provide extensive ICT support and extra revision classes every weekday and during weekends in order to ensure that every student gains the best qualifications. In the Sixth Form, many students carry on their study of ICT. We have developed a special curriculum which teaches students how to apply ICT in work-related contexts. The course enables students to personalise their study path and obtain a qualification that meets their individual interests.
“The school makes very good use of on-line testing packages.”
Brent Local Authority, June 2008
“ I enjoy the facilities at the School. We have a learning centre with a lot of computers, and the ICT teachers are always here to help us.” Year 7 student
Maths is very important at Wembley High. In Year 7, the course follows the four modules of algebra, number, statistics, and shape and space. We also encourage our students to develop their investigative skills through several cross-curricular projects that they undertake during the year. The focus of the Mathematics department is on ensuring that our pupils are always making progress. We have regular half-term tests, so we always know our pupils’ level and are able keep supporting them to achieve their potential. We are well aware that achieving high-quality GCSEs is of paramount importance to our pupils, so we encourage early entry. This year, over half of Year 9 sat their GCSE in Mathematics. The vast majority will achieve grade A* – C, with many predicted A and A*. Many of our Year 9 students are now studying topics from the A-level course. Next year, we plan to offer early-entry GCSE to some of our highest achieving Year 8s. We firmly believe in pupils working according to their ability, not their age.
Teacher profile Name: Mr Paul Bhatia Position: Joint Head of Maths Degree: BSc in Economics, University of London; Master’s in Public Policy Research Interest: Development Economics, looking at issues surrounding the advancement of developing countries and communities
“ Maths is my favourite subject, but I enjoy everything I do here. It’s a great learning environment – my teacher helped us do our Maths GCSE early, and now I’m studying AS-Level Maths.” Year 11 student
“Strengths in Teaching and Learning are in English, Science, Languages… Strengths in tracking and assessing pupils’ progress are in Maths, Science, ICT, Art, Business… There are strong systems in place to ensure pupils make very good progress.” Ofsted, September 2008
“Progress is particularly good in several subjects, including English, Mathematics and ICT.”
Ofsted, September 2008
Progress Gifted and talented students receive additional provision in two ways: first, with adapted programmes of study and, second, with curriculum extension activities. Master classes, particularly in Science and ICT, have proved very popular, and pupils can study independently for extra GCSEs such as Latin and Psychology. We organise regular visits to Oxford University, participation in the Brent Youth Assembly, Science and Technology Challenge Days, Shakespeare Workshops, and ICT Media Events. Students take part in the Magistrates’ Mock Trial Programme, where they have the opportunity to meet legal professionals and practise the art of public speaking and debating. This year, students are also engaged in an eco-project, which involves creating a real business based on reducing carbon emissions and promoting recycling within the School. We support all gifted and talented students in becoming members of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth, which provides for the ablest students across the country.
The St Paul’s Partnership We have developed extensive links with the highly prestigious St Paul’s Girls’ and Boys’ Schools – two of the country’s top independent schools. We share staff, and our students spend time at both schools. We benefit from the use of their extensive networks and resources. Staff from these schools also prepare students for examination success by delivering Master Classes. A number of scholarships to both schools are available to our students on an annual basis.
“ I am very grateful for the help and support that is being offered at St Paul’s.” Parent of Year 11 St Paul’s Scholar 2009
“Students spoke at length about how their targets help them to aim higher and to know how much progress they need to make to reach the next level of attainment.” Ofsted, September 2008
Teacher profile Name: Mr Gregor McBain Position: Lead for Gifted and Talented Degree: BA (Hons) in Geography and Applied Geography, University of Glasgow Interest: The built and natural environment
Achievement for All For a school to succeed, its students must make outstanding progress in their studies.
All students at Wembley High are encouraged and supported to reach their full potential. We have clear methods of ensuring that every student receives individually tailored support. Pupil achievement is at the centre of everything we do. Our students’ outstanding progress is aided by rigorous target-setting and monitoring. An extensive curriculum is offered at all levels, and is supported by numerous extra-curricular activities. We use a range of creative initiatives to ensure that our academic and social provision produces optimal progress. The Special Educational Needs (SEN) department supports pupils with a variety of learning and/or behavioural difficulties. In its 2008 report, Ofsted commented that “The work of departmental leaders and year co-ordinators is exemplary.” We devise an Individual Education Plan for each student, which identifies their personal learning needs and sets out support strategies. Students may be offered in-class support, or allowed to work with a specialist teacher either individually or in a small group. Parents/carers are kept informed at all times, and are regularly invited to meet staff to review their child’s progress. We also ensure that students with disabilities are well supported and cared for. Our Accessibility Plan, Disability Policy and SEN Policy are available on request.
“ There is a lot of support from teachers, which is great. They help us outside of normal classes and are always there for us. It makes a massive difference.” Year 9 student
“Good teaching contributes well to the excellent progress students make… Tight monitoring, supporting and a successful programme of professional development has seen an increase in the amount of outstanding teaching… The school…seeks actively to share its good practice amongst all staff .” Ofsted, September 2008
“Excellent enrichment includes a wide range of clubs and initiatives… [and] makes an excellent contribution to students’ understanding of citizenship and how their community works.” Ofsted, September 2008
Extra Curricular Enrichment A broad range of interests outside the set curriculum enriches a student’s school experience and promotes a balanced approach to learning. Wembley High offers more than 100 extra-curricular activities, and every student is involved. Our library and ICT facilities have extended opening hours to encourage independent study, and the School provides a number of on-site clubs and activities. Every week, all Year 7 and 8 students receive an additional two hours of sport after school. For example, we host athletics events, run dance classes, participate in football and rugby tournaments, play competitive table tennis, go ice-skating, and organise ski trips. Scientists are well catered for, with visits to the Science Museum, London Zoo, Greenwich Royal Observatory, and the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibitions. Budding lawyers can take part in mock trials and meet practising barristers, while linguists have the opportunity to hone their language skills on residential trips to Paris and Barcelona. The Arts are strongly represented. We stage plays and concerts on School premises, visit Shakespeare’s Globe, and give training in public performance. London offers a wealth of art galleries, and we run frequent trips to attractions such as the National Gallery, the Tate Modern, and the Tate Britain. Our musically gifted students, meanwhile, have links with the London Sinfonietta and the London Philharmonic.
“ There are always new and exciting things to do. Every day is interesting and fun.” Year 8 student
We also focus on making our students well-rounded and moral citizens who are prepared for life after school. We run a number of citizenship initiatives, and use our links with businesses to give students an insight into working life.
“Learners are encouraged to play a positive part in the community and participation rates in activities are high.”
Brent Local Authority, June 2008
ASixth Form Thriving
The Sixth Form at Wembley High is very successful. We offer a full range of academic and vocational courses, lasting one or two years and taught by highly qualified, expert staff. For study over two years, students can choose from some 40 AS subjects, A2 subjects and an expanded portfolio of BTEC National Award courses. Our courses prepare students for Higher Education and employment, and we provide a Personal Tutor and specialist Gifted & Talented advisers to ensure that everyone achieves his or her full potential. Study takes place in a modern learning environment, enhanced by a recent £2 million building and refurbishment programme. The use of Information Technology is integral to the learning process, and we have a very high ratio of computers to students. There is a wealth of opportunity for private ICT-based study and research in the School’s newly designed Virtual Learning Environment. The Sixth Form operates a Prefect System and has an active Sixth Form Council. Students volunteer as Peer Mentors, work as Community Volunteers, and undertake paid lunch duties. They also organise and run events, such as the Senior Citizens’ Christmas Party and the Sixth Form Barbeque. Extra-curricular activities, such as the Debating Society, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, and Counselling for Younger Students, feature strongly in Sixth Form life. Everyone is rigorously prepared for the transition from Sixth Form to university and employment. We have strong relationships with Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, and Imperial College London, connections with the Houses of Parliament, and links to numerous businesses in the City of London. The latest School inspection report recognises the high-quality education we provide. Excellent A-level results enable students to gain places at leading universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, the prestigious colleges of London University, and specialist Colleges. Students go on to study Medicine, Dentistry, Law, and a range of other competitive courses year on year.
“ Teachers keep you focused and motivated. Having people pushing you to go further really helps – it’s helped me get a place at UCL to study Medicine.” Sixth Form student
“The Sixth Form Curriculum: Its richness and variety means that it provides extremely well for students’ varied needs and aspirations. Highly effective links with the relevant outside agencies and other educational providers ensure that students are given excellent advice on their options for future work and learning.” Ofsted, September 2008
“Teachers keep you focused and motivated. Having people pushing you to go further really helps – it’s helped me get a place at UCL to study Medicine.”
“There is a shared and ambitious sense of purpose in terms of raising standards and promoting personal development for all.”
Brent Local Authority, June 2008
Wembley High Technology College, East Lane, North Wembley HA0 3NT
Tel: 020 8385 4800