Questions about how the school will be organised:

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How will you ensure the school is good or outstanding?

By employing excellent staff, delivering a high quality curriculum and focussing unrelentingly on excellent practice so that our students benefit from the very best teaching and learning. RET have the skills, capacity and experience to turn this vision into a reality through the extensive national work of Education London, their sponsor.

RET's first free school, opened in 2011, has recently received its first Ofsted report, and was awarded a judgement of Good with Outstanding Features. You can read the report here.

How big will the school and its classes be?

Our school will have 150 children in each year group, and so will be smaller than many other local secondaries. There will be 6 tutor groups, each with 25 children.

How/When do I apply for a place at the school for my child?

You can register an interest by filling in a short form. We will send you information about the formal application process at the appropriate time and keep you up to date with other developments.

How big will the catchment area be?

Our Admissions Policy describes how places will be allocated if our school is oversubscribed. It is a distance-based policy, centred on a fixed Admissions Point. However, it's not possible to predict how big the catchment area will be around that point. Many new schools start life with a relatively large catchment area, which shrinks as they become more established, and younger siblings start to apply.

In future years we will be able to give parents information on past admissions to help them understand their chances of securing a place.

What will the school be like for a Y7 pupil starting in 2015?

The school will open for Year 7 children in 2015, and as they move up the school it will grow by another 150 Y7 children each year until it is full.

Students joining the school in its first year will have the unique opportunity of starting a school at the very beginning of its life. As a result of the initially extremely generous staffing, all the teachers will know them individually and will have extra time and resourcing to ensure that their learning needs are met. Experience in RET's first school, Bristol Free School, has been that students have made outstanding progress and exceeded the very challenging academic targets that have been set for them. Read more about the views of BFS parents and students here.

Are you planning to create any primary school places?

Our proposal is for a Secondary School. However, if we are able to secure a large enough site in an appropriate location, then we will consider extending our school to include primary provision. We are actively discussing that possibility with the Local Authority.

Will your school have a particular faith ethos?

Our school will be non-denominational, and we will welcome children from all faiths and none. We will teach Religious Education in line with local and national frameworks.

Will the school have a Sixth Form?

Yes, it will have a sixth form from 2020. See here for more details.

Will the school employ qualified teachers?

Yes. In common with other RET sponsored schools and academies, staff are employed under the the School Staffing Regulations that apply to all other maintained schools and academies and the nationally agreed pay and conditions for teachers and school support staff including pension schemes.

Will the school have different school hours / holidays?

The school's term dates will broadly follow the same pattern as other local schools. INSET days will be determined annually according to the school's needs.

The schools hours will be similar in pattern to other secondary schools with 25 hours a week of taught curriculum in addition to pastoral time, breaks and lunch. Optional after school activities will extend the day for many students.

Will you be inspected by Ofsted?

Yes. We will be inspected before opening and again within two years of opening.

Will the school offer an extended day option?

We will be running optional extra-curricular activities every day after school, including provision for quiet study/homework.  These activities will usually last an hour. 

Some other RET schools have operated a breakfast club before school, and we may eventually do the same.  We can't commit to this yet, but will assess the demand at a later stage when we are clearer about our initial staffing profile. 

We aim for our school facilities to be available for community activities and clubs in the evenings, though that is something that will develop once the school is open.

 

Why have you chosen Science, Engineering and Music as your specialisms?

All of our local schools have specialisms. You can find out more about ours here. Specialisms help to give schools a distinctive ethos. We chose science because it is an inspirational specialism that isn't currently available to boys in the Twickenham area (Waldegrave Girls School does have a science specialism). We chose Engineering to complement the science, and to extend it in a practical employment-focussed direction.  We chose Music for balance and contrast, as well as for its interesting connections with science and engineering. This combination of specialisms isn't available in any other local school, so we will be providing something unique.

Will my child need to have a particular interest in the specialisms? What if they prefer other subjects?

Our school will have a broad and balanced curriculum. All interests will be catered for, just as they are in other local community secondary schools, which each have their own specialism. Specialisms do add an extra dimension for children who have those interests. However all children would benefit from the extra resourcing that the specialisms could potentially attract, and from generic "life" skills associated with the chosen subjects.

Will classes be streamed or set by attainment?

We will not be using streaming, which involves separating children into a fixed group for all of their lessons. Instead we will use setting to focus the learning in core subjects, including English, maths, science and languages.

Tutor groups, which reflect the full breadth and diversity of the year group, will be the basis for non-core subjects such as PE, Art, Drama, Music and Design & Technology.

This mixed use of strategic setting by attainment and tutor groups helps to maintain and develop friendships and cooperative working. It is used in most of our local secondary schools, and some primaries.

How will you be able to help pupils if they are academically underachieving?

The Turing House curriculum will meet the needs of the full range of our students. Those students who have made less progress than their peers on transfer from Year 6 will be given additional intensive support, including reading recovery, from the start of Year 7 to maximise their subsequent access to the secondary curriculum. We will support them to make outstanding progress and anticipate that a high proportion of students entering our school with prior attainment below national expectations will be able to achieve the English Baccalaureate.

For the minority of students where an English Baccalaureate or equivalent pathway is an unrealistic aspiration we will provide an alternative range of courses and options so that all can achieve success at Level 2 (GCSE), either at the end of Year 11 or by the end of Year 12. Our range of qualifications will enable every student to gain a sense of self-worth and achievement.

What will your staffing profile be for the first year of opening when you only have a Year 7?

For the first year we’ll recruit around 10-11 Full Time Equivalent teachers, to cater for our 150 Year 7 students. The result will be a slightly higher teacher-pupil ratio than the final operating level, with the costs for that being covered by the start-up funding model for new schools.

We will interview staff from any National Curriculum subject area and consider appointing them into the team. The selection process will look at the team as a whole and how their expertise fits together rather than assuming a fixed staffing model. Teachers' subsidiary subjects will be taken into account as part of that process, to create the strongest possible team.

Applications from Part-Time staff will be welcomed. If any part-time requirements remain unfilled through the recruitment round then we'll consider using RET-sourced consultants on an at-cost basis.

This approach has been used very effectively in RET’s other Free Schools, producing strong staff teams with full curriculum coverage.

What do you expect the school's gender balance to be?

The very popular Waldegrave Girls' School in Twickenham slightly skews the gender balance of other local secondaries. The 2011 school census data gives the following percentages of boys; Orleans Park 59%, Teddington 66%, Hampton Academy 53%, Twickenham Academy 58%.

Adding a new co-ed school into the mix will dilute the extent to which each individual school is affected'.

Although our Admissions Point will draw some children from Waldegrave's catchment area, we expect it to attract girls as well as boys. Given the choice we know that some girls prefer mixed schools, and many families who have both boys and girls prefer them to attend the same school.

Part of the rationale for our Admissions point is that it will help to balance what is known locally as the 'Waldegrave Effect'.

Will the school have a library?

Yes. We envisage equipping a Learning Resource Centre with Books, Magazines, Newspapers, and ICT to encourage independent learning. Resources would include curriculum related material, as well as wider reading for interest, and fiction too. The provision would be developed as the school grows.

This approach has worked well in RET's established schools where students have had input into the books and resources they would like to have access to.

 

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