Wensleydale Newsletter – November 2011

This summer 88% of our Year 11 students achieved five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C; 80% of students got five or more A*-Cs including in English and Maths.

This latter statistic is now the government’s main measure of performance and, to put our results into perspective, the national average was 49.6%.

These results are the best The Wensleydale School has ever achieved and make us one of the top five most improved schools in the country.

Moreover, our GCSE results are the best of any comprehensive school in North Yorkshire.

At A Level, our average point score per entry went up again, meaning results in each subject were broadly better than last year, and our pass rate remained exceptionally high at 98%.

We are rightfully very proud of our students and staff for this excellent feat and this year there’s a real buzz around school: we’ve started this term with a tangible sense of pride and purpose. We’ve been visiting local primary schools recently and word seems to be spreading that The Wensleydale School is now a highly successful school, unrecognisable from a few years ago.

I think it was Aristotle who famously said, ‘one swallow does not a summer make’ and it was natural for people to be cautious after one good set of results but we now have evidence of a positive 3-year trend and this year we expect to be even better with 82% of students achieving 5 GCSEs at A*-C including English and Maths.

A school is not an exams factory, however, and although these results are important because they allow our students to achieve their potential and provide a gateway for future success (all our Year 11 students have gone on to employment, education or training; nearly all our Year 13 students who wanted to go to university have been able to do so) we are also very proud of the way in which our students behave and how they develop emotionally and socially. Students are always smartly dressed, impeccably behaved and wellmannered.

I have never worked in a school where the students are so mature and take such pride in their school. In fact, a student who recently joined us from another school told me this week that he likes it at Wensleydale because “it’s cool to behave here”.

After years of planning and trying to secure funds, work on the school’s new allweather pitch, or MUGA, started in October. It is expected that the new facility – which will be a great addition to the community not just the school – will be ready for use by Christmas.

Performers from Opera North joined us in school last month to work with music students – it was an important event for North Yorkshire and the county’s lead music advisor was also in school – and students travelled to Leeds that evening to watch a performance of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Queen of Spades’.

Finally, our annual open evening took place on October 12th for prospective parents and students from Year 6 – although anyone was welcome to come and have a look around – and it was an impressive turn-out. It was a really positive evening celebrating the school’s recent achievements and showcasing our work.