Our school is an 11-16 mixed, community, comprehensive school of around 950 students. We are lucky to be based in a relatively new building, with great facilities, on a beautiful site at the edge of the Peak District market town of Chapel-en-le-Frith. The Peak District National Park is quite literally on the school’s doorstep.
We believe that our school is unusual in many ways. Perhaps the most obvious of these is structural. The current school was formed by merging the local area special school (John Duncan School in Buxton) with the existing high school. In our new building, the special school became our current 45 place enhanced resourced SEND provision, always referred to simply as ‘learning support’ in school.
Our school therefore consists of an average sized comprehensive school that operates like any other, teaching a curriculum that leads to GCSE to over 900 students. Sitting within that school is our learning support provision, the ‘enhanced resource’. This arrangement makes for a wonderfully inclusive school with young people who are very accepting of difference. Our inclusive approach spreads more widely too, and we buck local and national trends by regularly opening our doors to students with difficult and complex backgrounds.
To meet the moderate to severe special educational needs of our enhanced resource cohort, the Learning Support department runs a full, independent non-GCSE curriculum taught by a strong team of dedicated SEND trained staff. Whilst Learning Support can provide a bespoke learning experience for students, in every other way this cohort is fully integrated into the life of the school. The arrangement means that we can provide a very flexible curriculum, with students able to access the main school curriculum and take GCSEs where appropriate. We consistently deliver above average GCSE outcomes for our mainstream students, alongside brilliant personal development and basic skills for the cohort based in learning support.
The school is different in other ways too. We offer a very wide range of options, for example we teach three modern foreign languages to GCSE. We value the creative arts and art, drama and music are strong in school. We also run a comprehensive and responsive learning for life programme, preparing young people to live safe and happy lives. A strong enrichment programme supplements our classroom curriculum, including an impressive sporting offer, as well as a range of residential trips. We put exceptional effort into raising aspirations, work reflected in our consistently above average figures for progression to post-16 education.
We always try hard to operate in an open, honest and straightforward way.
Importantly, students and staff are happy here. People want to work here and students want to come to school here.
We are an outward looking school, we are a member of the Peak Edge Group of local primary and secondary schools.