Westhoughton High School

By Evelyn Williams,2014-01-29 09:07
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Westhoughton High School

Strategy for Change

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Context: The Community we serve

The town of Westhoughton is perhaps best described as a “town within the town of Bolton”. While

    there are clearly diverse groups in this geographically distinct community, there remains a local, traditional community proud of their roots in the town. These colloquially known “Howfeners” retain

    perhaps a somewhat unfashionable value system where puritanical virtues of hard work and self reliance remain paramount. For them education is a mechanism through which readiness for employment is demonstrated and ultimately a “job” secured. Most recently, developing “cheek- by-

    jowl” with this community is a more affluent, mobile sector of society taking advantage of the

    burgeoning private housing estates with good transport links to the Manchester conurbation.

    Westhoughton High School is the only secondary educational institution in the town, a reality perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that 95% of the students attending the school live within a radius of a mile and a half. Therefore, to serve the needs of this unique community is almost by definition the raison d‟etre for our school. The challenge we face however, is to promote the power

    of transformational education to change lives by increasing the value placed on it by some pockets of the community, while retaining and fostering the traditional local pride and friendliness of our school which consultation informs us is so tremendously valued by our local community.

    We are convinced that the impact of the BSF programme will be measured not only in the transformation of education within the boundaries of the campus but throughout the town and wider local communities for the present generation and for generations to come.

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     Our Vision

    A vibrant learning campus that is much more than a school within the town

    Our mission as we embark on our journey of transformation is clear and non negotiable; expressed

    simply we will put learning and learners of every age, gender race, faith and ability at the heart of

    everything we do. BSF will help us achieve this by addressing our five key priorities:

; To become the centre of the town‟s educational, cultural and recreational life

    ; To transform the social and economic lives of the citizen‟s of our town

    ; To provide an institution and the resources to comprehensively support lifelong


    ; To create a hub of cutting edge technology that underpins all of the educational,

    cultural and recreational provision

    ; To ensure that our campus is inclusive in the very widest sense

     Therefore the “once in a lifetime” transformational opportunity presented by BSF means:

; To become the centre of the town‟s educational, cultural and recreational life

    we will…….transform the current unprepossessing site into a campus that will be the

    single most important educational, cultural and recreational institution in Westhoughton. The

    new building and surrounding environment will be a bold physical statement of our intention

    to create world class education facilities in the heart of our community. The impact of BSF

    will mean we can transform the campus into the centre of the town‟s educational, cultural

    and recreational life.

    We are determined that within three years every child within our boundaries attends our

    school (the natural choice for all Westhoughton children); a significant majority of the town‟s

    citizens use the site at least once a week and every citizen uses the site at least once a


; To transform the social and economic lives of the citizen‟s of our town…….by

    ensuring that all students achieve their full potential that will significantly the proportion

    achieving five grades A-C including English and Maths. However, we must ensure that our

    learning provision never loses sight of the fact that education will produce the citizens of

    tomorrow. Of course, here we will educate the artists and artisans; musicians and engineers;

    scientists and authors and civil servants and entrepreneurs ready for employment which we

    know is so important to members of our community. However, the challenge we face is to

    ensure that our new school will be so much more than the development of future employees.

    Equally our transformed education supported by BSF will help us develop in the very widest

    sense, the outstanding citizens of tomorrow.

     We will measure the impact of the BSF programme and it‟s success when the town‟s

    voluntary organisations, charitable institutions and societies and clubs flourish in parallel

    with a rapid decline in youth crime, anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

    ; To provide an institution and the resources to comprehensively support lifelong

    learning……enabling us to develop in every citizen a love of learning throughout their lives.

    The inspirational facilities provided by BSF will help us ensure that exciting and relevant

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    learning opportunities are available for every citizen in our community whatever stage of life they are at. For us the philosophical idea of eudaimonia with it‟s emphasis on the flourishing

    of the human spirit throughout life is more than just an abstract concept; simply we want all our community to be “the best that they can be”. The impact of BSF means learning will not

    finish at the end of the day and even less so at the age of 16, 18 or 19. These artificial barriers will be demolished and our campus will provide learning opportunities in a variety of forms for 24 hours a day for 365 days of the year.

    We will only consider we have succeeded when our campus has the most extensive programme of adult learning in the country and our tracking procedures demonstrate as many hours spent learning outside the traditional school day as those spent in it.

    ; To create a hub of cutting edge technology that underpins all of the educational, cultural and recreational provision…….by developing further our

    Technology specialism making it central to everything we do. Through benefitting from economies of scale we will develop a “future proofed” institution that is rich in cutting edge

    technology. For our students, parents, the community and local businesses this technology will be about so much more than just “hands on” with the latest technology. Resources

    provided by BSF will support us in developing the use of learning pedagogies supported by technology which promote those essential creative thinking skills which will allow our learners to function effectively in the technological world of the future. We believe the impact of BSF will mean our learners develop more than just important skills; quite simply it will provide a foundation for life. We will measure the impact and success of BSF when ICT on our campus is so all pervasive that education, recreation and bureaucracy are seamlessly integrated into a dynamic learning environment. BSF will help us maximise the opportunities for learning and creativity using the technologies of today……and tomorrow.

    ; To ensure that our campus is inclusive in the very widest sense………by creating

    a learning centre that recognises no barriers to achievement and where inclusion is not just empty rhetoric. We are committed to developing in our town educational facilities and experiences for all of our young people and the wider community. Our curriculum will embrace all learners in it‟s breadth and range of courses on offer. To help support access to this curriculum BSF means we can develop “one stop” access to health, recreational and

    cultural facilities and services by locating a wide range of facilities and multi agency services on our site. For those harder to engage groups we will if necessary, go beyond the site and we will reach out to our community by taking learning opportunities to them and then facilitating their access to the resources and opportunities on our campus. Resources provided by BSF means our more disadvantaged communities will be revitalised with no young people designated as NEETS, no unwanted teenage pregnancies and zero exclusions from our school.

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     Consultation and Stakeholder Engagement

    We passionately believe all stakeholders should have the opportunity to share the vision and contribute to the transformation of the campus to ensure that we foster a sense of community ownership and engender civic pride in the transformation BSF will deliver. Consequently we have engaged widely with all staff, students, parents, outside agencies and the wider community.

The challenge is to create a campus that is the centre of the town‟s educational, recreational and

    cultural life before, during and after the school day. BSF will be the vehicle which will help us to create a campus which encourages maximum usage for all the community but at the same time addresses the issues inherent in a site where the entire buildings and grounds are:

(a) sometimes only used for parts of the day

    (b) sometimes used for the whole of the day and late into the evening

On other occasions we envision that some parts of the buildings and grounds are:

(a) Sometimes used for the whole day and late into the evening

    (b) sometimes used only for part of the day

The impact of BSF will be a transformation of educational opportunity not only for all the town‟s

    young people but the entire community of Westhoughton.

     School Status (specialism)

    Westhoughton High School has been a specialist Technology College since September 2004.We already share our expertise and facilities in a number of ways however, the current challenge that we face is how we can further develop these links. Our specialism will be the catalyst for us to embrace innovative learning and teaching pedagogies. In addition, by engaging with our wider learning community, we will develop learning that can be accessed for twenty four hours a day for 365 days a year.

BSF will support our aspirations by providing the means to create a twenty first century, “future

    proofed” STEM Centre supported by state-of-theart integrated ICT which permeates the campus.

    In addition, BSF will ensure that our future building will instantly communicate our specialism to all on entry to the site. This will be achieved not only by the all pervasive presence of new technologies but also by “iconic” signposts within the design.

    As a consequence of the BSF programme, attainment will rise as the construction of a fit-for-purpose dynamic learning environment gives us the opportunity to create an achievement focussed synergy based on a triumvirate of students, staff and the community.

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     Identifying and tackling underperformance

    Although, currently an improving school with student outcomes on a sustained positive trend of improvement we remain deeply committed to identifying and addressing issues of underperformance where they remain. Our specific areas of concern at present are:

    ; The need to increase the numbers of students achieving 5 A-C‟s including maths and


    ; To ensure that no distinct groupings of students within cohorts underachieve. Our pressing

    need at this moment in time is to address the underachievement of students entitled to free

    school meals

    ; To continue the development of our post 16 provision, not only to increase enrolment but

    equally important, to ensure retention of students so that they complete the courses they

    embark on. This is presently a challenge we are addressing

    ; The underperformance of some students resulting in the current number of NEET‟s being

    much higher than our vision aspires to

(A further exploration of these challenges and our targets with EKPI‟s post BSF can be found in

    appendix A)

    To ensure all our students reach their full potential requires us to provide a secure learning environment in which all feel valued and enjoy being part of the learning community we are striving to create. However, for us, of equal importance is the recognition that standards will not rise, nor underperformance be rigorously challenged without a deeper recognition that our overarching educational philosophy needs to provide twenty first century learning experiences each and every day. Therefore, we will use the BSF programme to drive forward fundamental changes in pedagogy and practice that will have significant effects on student‟s attainment and engagement.

    The challenge we now face means initiatives to change learning pedagogies and practice can only enjoy a limited impact because the current environment inevitably limits the radical change we aspire to.

    BSF funding will enable us to create a house system of vertical tutoring to provide peer support. This will increase student‟s sense of belonging through informal “buddying” and positive role

    modelling by older students. Furthermore, BSf will enable us to create Faculty zones which will also function as social spaces (which our students tell us are vital to their wellbeing), for groups of students within the house system. The funding provided by the BSF programme will also help us to address the needs of two particularly important transitional stages. First it will provide a Year 7 Home base which will be part of the main school but will have a distinct identity and similarly a distinct Post 16 centre that also incorporates Applied Learning, that will function as part of the main school for students beginning diplomas at 14 but will provide a college ethos for older students.

    Underpinning this re- structured provision, BSF will help us provide further support by creating spaces facilitating multi agency work to support and mentor students who are underperforming and are at risk of disaffection.

The key impact of BSF in this area is the fundamentally important “wraparound” support it will

    allow us to offer at various stages in our student‟s careers, especially for those with a range of

    special educational needs and we passionately believe that the provision of well designed spaces which address academic, emotional and social needs will help to prevent the development of disaffection as our students progress through education.

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    We have already begun the transformation agenda. BSF will allow us to develop this much further as currently the new pedagogies we are embracing are severely hampered by the nature of the current buildings. In year 7 we have developed a new competencies based curriculum emphasising PLTs and SEAL as prime drivers for improving student engagement. These are currently in three “learning zones” -Scientific Discovery, Me and My World and Aesthetic Design.

    As we develop our “stage not age” philosophy students can access a wide range of qualifications that currently include:

    ; GCSE ; Diplomas

    ; NVQ ; BTEC

    ; YA ; ASDAN

    ; BTEC ; Key Skills

    ; AS and A2 ; Foundation Skills

    The challenge we presently face is how to ensure that the significant progress we are making in transforming learning in our school so we develop students who are flexible, creative thinkers and highly motivated self managers of learning, does not regress due to the inevitable inability of the current building to support the new teaching styles. BSF will enable us to create spaces where students can learn in large groups, small groups and individually. There will be “traditional” classrooms but also suites of spaces which incorporate smaller rooms for Diploma, As and A2 groups. Assembly space can be designed flexibly in terms of accommodation of numbers and functions. A learning resource centre will be the hub of our school and de facto our community, with collaborative work spaces and individual work spaces fully supported by ICT. In addition to BSF transforming the way education in a more formal sense is delivered, it will also support our passionate commitment to “off timetable” days as a way of enriching our students‟

    formal curriculum and also addressing the enterprise entitlement. By providing spaces which allow a plethora of wider educational, recreational and sporting opportunities BSF‟s impact will far

    beyond the confines of traditional curricula. In terms of personalising learning BSF will enable us to continue to offer specialised learning support for specific learning needs but in an environment that can truly ensure that all learners with whatever their needs are valued and catered for.

The impact of BSF will be the creation of a school that is always open without the traditional

    timetable constraints to learning. The VLE will be transformed by BSF into a genuine learning platform where current and emerging technologies are compatible and inextricably linked so that learning will be increasingly project based with students able to learn in their own time, anywhere. As a consequence of this transformed way of learning our students and learners will be in the vanguard of the flexible, adaptable, creative thinkers who will succeed in, but perhaps equally importantly, will shape the society of the future.

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     Curriculum proposals

    Our technology specialism emphasising Maths, Science, Technology and ICT will form the bedrock of our transformation. In addition, we currently offer a competencies based curriculum in Year 7 and a more “traditional” curriculum for Years 8 and 9. Within the 11-19 curriculum we will

    focus on the 14-19 agenda working in collaboration with our partner schools to deliver the entitlement to the 2013 diplomas and access to wider vocational provision. In addition we will develop business and applied learning pathways to ensure our students enjoy maximum opportunities to develop the skills increasingly identified as essential by employers.

    The challenge for us is to ensure our specialism is the foundation on which our transformation of learning is built. BSF will be the primary agent for transforming learning by providing STEM facilities of unparalleled quality at the core of our curriculum. Further, BSF will facilitate the development of flexible learning studios to support the new teaching pedagogies required for the delivery of diplomas where we envisage learners of different ages learning together and from each other, side by side. Our heartspace will feature on site simulated retail outlets and a beauty salon to provide a unique opportunity for students to explore the world of business within an educational setting. We will investigate all appropriate funding streams in addition to BSF to ensure this vision for more “hard” vocational provision can be located here, adding practical training and skills to the

    more traditional theoretical learning already being delivered.

    BSF will therefore have an enormous impact on the central core of our vision by providing genuine world class facilities and spaces within our institution. This will in turn create a synthesis between motivation and opportunity for all our students on a site that both inspires and provides the physical environment to maximise the raising of aspiration.

     The management of learning

We are determined to develop students from “recipients of knowledge to learners who are highly

    skilled in acquiring knowledge themselves. In addition, we will place an emphasis on the acquisition of skills and competencies by self managing learners. Our current challenge within this context is to develop teachers who will increasingly redefine their skills in terms of facilitating and coaching pupils. Presently, the disparate and unco-ordinated physical growth of classrooms and corridors over a forty year timespan and our current ICT infrastructure does not adequately support this overarching vision of independent learning and the new emergent relationships between learners, teachers and society we wish to fully exploit.

    BSF will help us achieve our goals by delivering flexible spaces which support both staff and students in embracing such a fundamental transformation of what outstanding learning should be. By providing exciting contexts for individual and group work the environment will support new ways of learning both now and in a future yet unimagined. To support students BSF will provide robust integrated ICT systems which means staff, students and critically, parents and carers can access much greater use of “real time data to keep abreast of current attainment and what steps need to be taken to progress. Closer scrutiny of data through tracking systems will increasingly lead to individual target setting and ultimately individual learning plans.

    The impact of BSF will mean students will become increasingly independent learners who become evermore confident in developing their own learning plans and target setting; are appropriate risk takers, enquirers and problem solvers able to work equally effectively as independent learners or collaboratively. We remain deeply convinced that this approach will best prepare our students to live fully productive lives in a rapidly changing world.

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     ECM, ICS, extended schools

    Our ongoing consultation with our community, in addition to the consultation process inherent in the BSF programme, has clearly indicated the imperative to transform what this school should mean in its widest sense, to the community it serves. To address these needs we currently offer:

    (a) extensive out-of-hours cultural and sports activities for students and the community, including

    on site after school activities for primary pupils.

    (b) adult and community learning provision which already has in excess of 500 learners per year

    The challenge that now presents itself is how we will develop the triangulation of education, health and leisure on this campus to ensure all learners of all ages enjoy the maximum benefit fully from fully integrated provision of extended services.

    BSF will be the mechanism to create a truly extended school where services are co-located to “wrap around” all our learners to ensure that “Every Child Matters” is more than just mere rhetoric. Further, as we are committed fully to the concept of lifelong learning our services and facilities will be available for all of the community‟s learners as we believe our adult learners in our local

    community will continually need to skill and re-skill in tomorrows world. By increasing our offer of

    accredited courses and mixed-use access, “blended learning” (e.g. adults and sixth formers

    learning together) will become an everyday occurrence.

    BSF will help us to build on our current practice to maximise the use of enhanced facilities in the following ways:

(a)Our building and all its facilities will be used as community space.

    (b) Catering facilities will be re- located appropriately to support the extended school agenda (c) We will locate on the campus access to:

    ; BBSS ; School nursing service

    ; EP ; Connexions

    ; CAMHS ; Barnados

    ; Senias ; Young Carers

    ; VI unit ; Runnas

    ; Triple P / LPPA ; School counsellor

    ; 360 ; Youth service

    ; Parallel Centre ; Outdoor Education

As a consequence of this “one stop” approach to services BSF will enable the location of interview

    and administrative spaces operating as online bookable resources allowing us to extend our

    community and corporate offer. BSF will therefore be the precursor to a campus that allows all visitors easy, secure and welcoming access to a campus of which all of the town‟s community will

    be justifiably proud.

    We do not believe it to be hyperbole when we state with absolute conviction that the impact of BSF on our campus will be the single most significant development in our town‟s history. Put simply, the

    once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented by BSF will enable the creation of the most valuable and more importantly valued public asset in the town.

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    Westhoughton High School currently has an SEN intake of 25%, representing the full range of needs. Consequently, the school offers specialist teaching to targeted and identified students for dyslexia, Social & Communication Skills, Visual and Hearing Impaired and Basic Literacy and Numeracy. We also have some students with specific physical disabilities which require specialist support. In addition to in-class support we have two dedicated centres, which support learners outside of the main classroom environment (ATLAS and ACE). We wish to continue to develop both centres with an emphasis on behaviour for learning.

    Our challenge is to ensure that we include all these students within the mainstream as far as possible. In addition, we need to transform our educational provision by emphasising behaviour for

    learning for disaffected groups.

    BSF will enable us to provide genuinely integrated provision by developing spaces with appropriate adjacency and flexible usage. Through this all students, regardless of specific needs, can be fully included in our broad and balanced curriculum, working at an appropriate pace, accessing relevant and professional support for specific areas of need, as well as targeted specialist teaching for more significant needs. BSF will facilitate the development of specialist bases and teaching areas across the campus where all students will be able to address their needs on a subject by- subject basis

    and access provision accordingly. Most students will be able to access provisions that are

    additional to and different from the usual curriculum practices to address their needs, and a few

    students will require access to specialist additional teaching, both from within the school and from external professionals, with support over longer periods of time.

    The impact of BSF will be the creation of a genuinely inclusive campus where all students with special needs can not only be assessed appropriately but most importantly, they will be supported by resources that allow them to achieve their full potential despite any challenges they may face.


    The school is justifiably proud of the recent achievement of a SSAT inclusion award. This is formal recognition of our deep commitment to a fully inclusive institution.

    The challenge we wish now to address is to widen the remit of inclusion across our campus to allow us to engage with those previously hard to engage groups while simultaneously encouraging our Gifted and Talented cohort to flourish. However while forced to use this generally accepted nomenclature for high achievers, we passionately believe every single one of our students, at which ever position on the “bell curve”, are gifted and talented.

    BSF will be the means by which we can encourage all who aspire to learn on our campus to achieve to the best of their potential. BSF will help us achieve this by providing an environment rich in potential for self managed learning whether in a learning resource centre at the hub of our community, in an “Internet Café” or exploring and learning in cyberspace utilising the latest wireless and hand held technologies. In addition, the BSF programme means we can develop and enhance practise within our internal exclusion base by maximising direct and passive supervision and the provision of resources which not only provide a short term solution but re -orientate and re- engage reluctant students.

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