THE BISHOP'S STORTFORD HIGH SCHOOL (TBSHS)
A Truly all-round education
Introduction to the School
The core objective of TBSHS is to provide all of its students with the very best educational experience, within a caring, safe and moral environment.
Education is about academic excellence, personal fulfilment and moral and spiritual growth and TBSHS prides itself on promoting excellence in all areas, whether in the classroom, or through its outstanding extra-curricular provision.
As a Mathematics and Computing Specialist School, the School has a special focus in these areas, which accordingly informs all of the school's teaching and learning.
TBSHS is a five-form entry all ability School which acquired Grant Maintained status in January 1993 and became a Foundation School in 1999. It admits students aged 11-18 years, accepting only boys up to the age of 16 and admitting boys and girls into the sixth form. There are presently some1100 pupils at the school, including in the order of 320 students in the sixth form of whom some 100 are girls.
The School is oversubscribed notwithstanding strong competition from a number of selective schools. Pupils are drawn not only from Bishop's Stortford, but also from the surrounding villages and towns. At entry at age 11, pupils join the School from about 40 primary schools in Hertfordshire and Essex. Almost half of the pupils travel five or more miles to reach the School.
The School regards the practice of Christian ethics as fundamental and students learn spiritual and moral values by being part of a community whose life is moulded by such ideals. The school is not denominational and it is not a requirement for staff to be practicing Christians.
The School has had the Investors in People standard since 2002, a Curriculum Award in 2003, gained Specialist status in 2004, the ICT mark in 2006 and the Healthy Schools award in 2007. Also in 2007 the school won the BECTA award for excellence in ICT in the Leadership and Management category for Secondary schools.
Site and buildings
TBSHS is situated on the main Bishop's Stortford to Harlow road approximately a mile from the centre of the town. It is easily accessed by public transport.
The school building, which dates from the 1950s, has been improved and added to over the years. Recent additions include 'Broadway': the school's new purpose built Music and Drama block, with practice rooms, a recording studio and a studio theatre;' The Turing Suite': the vocational learning and training centre with state of the art computer and ICT facilities; a newly refurbished Learning Support department; and a new independent study facility for Sixth Form students.
Earlier major works have included a sixth form centre completed in 1990 with the school library being extended in the same year. In 1995 the science facilities were extensively refurbished and a substantial two storey building, known as Newton, was added. In 1998 the School opened the first Yamaha School of Music to be sited in a state school in the country. This is used during the school day by pupils and is used extensively by the community out of school hours.
The School's sporting facilities are among the finest of their kind in the country. The £1 million Jobbers Wood sports complex, which was opened by the former Minister of Sport, Kate Hoey, in 2001, boasts six football and rugby pitches, plus three cricket pitches. The school also has a gymnasium, a sports hall and on site sports fields with a modern pavilion.
Key Stage 3
In their first three years, boys follow a common core curriculum, in line with the requirements of the National Curriculum. The core in Year 7 consists of English, Drama, French, Geography, History, ICT, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Religious Studies and Science. In Year 8 the majority of students are able to opt for either German or Spanish in addition to French.
Key Stage 4
Most pupils take ten GCSEs - Double English and Double Science, Mathematics and ICT OCR Nationals with four optional subjects chosen from Art and Design Business Studies, Business and Communication Studies, Design Technology (Graphic Products or Resistant Materials), Drama, French, Geography, German, History, ICT, Music, Physical Education, Religious Studies and Spanish. Some students will be entered for 3 separate Sciences.
For those students for whom it is appropriate to take a reduced number of GCSEs, there is a pathway that enables them to take a reduced number of optional subjects and pursue a variety of courses in partnership with the local consortium schools and Hertford Regional College. Courses available include: Vehicle Maintenance, Multi Skills Construction, Food Preparation, Salon Services (Hairdressing), Public Services and Computer Upgrade and Build (hosted at TBSHS).
An integral part of the Specialist School Plan is to provide routes for early entry to GCSEs in the specialist subjects. There is the opportunity in Mathematics for some students to sit the examination at the end of Year 10 and then pursue an AS in Mathematics in Year 11. All students study OCR Nationals in Years 8 & 9 and achieve a GCSE equivalent at the end of Year 9. The students can then choose to study level three courses in OCR Nationals and iMedia. There is also early entry for French.
All pupils take part in Physical Education and Citizenship.
A GCSE is available in Latin delivered in twilight and lunch time sessions.
Key Stage 5
There are Applied courses in Business Studies, ICT and BTEC National Certificate in Sport.
The school offers combinations of AS/A2 level and applied programmes for appropriate students.
The school has introduced additional courses in line with its specialist school status eg COMPTIA A+ course; run in 3 phases: A+ hardware, A+ software and A+ networking. These qualifications are recognised and valued in the computer industry. In partnership with Hertfordshire University there is an enrichment programme in advanced computing applications for students studying computing and applied ICT.
The local Consortium of Secondary Schools offers a range of courses, principally at AS/A2 level in a variety of subjects according to demand within the scheduled timetable eg Computing and Music Technology.
At AS and A2 level the school offers Applied Business Studies, Applied ICT, Art and Design, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Critical Thinking, Computing, Design Product, Drama, Economics, English Language and Literature, Film, French, General Studies, Geography, German, Government and Politics, History, Latin, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Media Studies, Music, Music Technology, Philosophy, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sport (BTEC National), Spanish and Theatre Studies.
TBSHS is an oversubscribed school. Important features of the School's admissions criteria are the preference given to siblings of current pupils, and the admission of up to 10 per cent of pupils with aptitude in music or sport. The School's approved admission number is 155.
At TBSHS great emphasis is placed upon the central role that the tutor plays in a child's social, personal and academic development. Through the School's Tutoring for Learning programme every child is taught not only what to learn, but also the best way to learn, taking into account the students' own preferred learning styles and methods.
TBSHS operates a schools system for grouping students in tutorial groups. In the first two years at TBSHS, students will be in the Lower School, in mixed tutorial groups of Year 7 and 8 students. In Year 9 they move into the Middle School. Here students are in mixed tutorial groups made up of Years 9 and 10 students. The Upper School comprises students from Years 11, 12 and 13 with tutorial groups made up of either Year 11 students alone or a mixture of Years 12 and 13. The School believes in the pastoral and academic benefits of mixing students of different ages which allows older students to act as role models for younger ones. The Lower, Middle and Upper Schools are each led by a Head and Deputy Head of School and have dedicated secretarial support.
The school library, supervised by a full time chartered librarian, is large, pleasant and well resourced. It has an extensive stock of fiction and non-fiction books that is constantly up-dated together with a reference section and CD-ROM facility. Magazines and newspapers are always available. A modern security system has recently been installed and further refurbishment is planned for 2008.
Staffing and organisation
The School's departments are organised into 5 faculties: The Arts; Communications (English, MFL, Media); Humanities; Mathematics & Computing; Science & Technology.
The Senior Leadership Team currently consists of the Headmaster, three Deputy Heads and two Assistant Heads and there are currently 74 teaching staff, a number of whom are new entrants to the profession. The Staffroom possesses a healthy mix of youth, dynamism, valued experience and an engaging vitality.
Staff are involved in the management of the school. As well as providing staff governors the staff are well represented on governors' sub-committees. There is also a staff association that organises social events.
The support provided by the non-teaching staff is invaluable, and they are included in the staff development programme. The school directly manages its own catering services, and receives many compliments on the quality and range of its cuisine. The School has a care-taking and grounds staff of six and is thus able to maintain its buildings and grounds to a high standard.
The head boy or girl lead a team of senior prefects and prefects drawn from the Upper Sixth. This team is active in the day to day running of the School, and complements the work of the School Council.
Extra curricular activities
Central to the ethos of The Bishop's Stortford High School is the commitment to a truly all-round education. TBSHS believes that School is more than the classrooms, and that all students should be enriched through cultural, sporting and wider experiences.
The staff at TBSHS are committed to running clubs, teams and societies. Along with the many sporting and music activities, other clubs include: Art Club, Chess Club, Debating Societies, French Film Club, Film making club, Film watching club, Young Enterprise and Youth Speaks.
All of these clubs seek to develop students' talents, and help them to work well with fellow students and with the staff. They take place after the school day, at the weekends, sometimes in the holidays, and during lunch breaks. The aim is to provide something for everyone, whatever their interests.
The importance of the House System at TBSHS reflects the emphasis that the School places upon extra-curricular involvement and competition leading to excellence in all fields. There are six Houses: Chantry, Dane, Meads, Rhodes, Twyford and Waytemore each overseen by a Head of House and largely run by student House Captains and Deputies.
Inter-house sport ensures that all students are given the opportunity of enjoying the benefits of competitive sport and the School has an outstanding sporting tradition. Rugby, Football, Cricket, and Athletics are the major disciplines with up to 16 teams fielded within their respective terms. There are tours in all of these sports and in 2002 the Senior Rugby Squad toured South Africa with another tour planned to Canada in 2008. The School provides a full weekend sports programme and competes with some of the best Independent schools in the South of England. In 2000 the 1st XV reached the quarterfinals of the under 18 Daily Mail Cup. A number of individual International honours have been achieved by students. The outstanding cricket fixture list includes a prestigious annual fixture against the M.C.C. The School is well served by a five-badminton court sports hall. Netball in the sixth form has been developed to a high standard such that TBSHS have been district champions in for several years in recent times. Excellent links within the local community ensure these sports are complemented by Hockey, Squash, and Tennis.
Music is well established in the School. One in four pupils plays a musical instrument. There are many ensembles, including senior and junior concert bands, a swing band, orchestra, string orchestra, various choirs and smaller instrumental groups. Several concerts are staged each term, the major event being the annual music festival during the spring term with adjudicators being drawn from outside the School.
Pupils at the School have participated in National Orchestras and Choirs, county music groups and the National Youth Orchestra.
Drama is very strong, with two or three major productions every school year. These have recently included The Pirates of Penzance, Dracula Spectacular, Two Weeks with the Queen, Godspell, Oliver, Lord of the Flies, Jesus Christ Superstar, the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Guys and Dolls, Sweeney Todd and Les Miserables. In addition to the major productions there is an annual House drama competition, a Sixth Form production and dramatic readings of, for example, Dickens or PG Woodhouse.
Public speaking and debating, are both strong. In 2003, two of the school's senior debaters were national champions in the English Union's Public Speaking Competition.
The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme is popular and heavily subscribed at all levels including Gold.
TBSHS regards out of school visits and trips as an essential part of a child's education.
Throughout their time at TBSHS students are given many opportunities to take part in trips either as part of the curriculum or as an enrichment activity. The School runs many theatre and cultural visits, as well as subject-based expeditions.
During the School's annual Activities Week students in the Lower School are given the opportunity to visit France for a week for a residential trip. They are provided with the opportunity to participate in a variety of cultural and historic activities - as well as to improve their language skills.
Opportunities also exist to take part in language exchanges with students in France, Germany and Spain.
Further afield, the school's Interact club for Sixth Formers has visited some far-flung destinations over the years, including Mexico, Peru, Sumatra, Nepal and India to take part in social projects in developing and disadvantaged areas. The school also participates in World Challenge expeditions.
Parental Support & Fund raising
The PTA is very active, arranging and running a full programme of events during the school year as well as supporting the School at open evenings, parents' evenings and the like. PTA events include May and Christmas fayres, quiz nights, car boot sales, barn dances and a very popular annual candlelit dinner. The school operates a covenant scheme for parents and friends of the School who wish to contribute to 'The Mitre Fund'. The Parents' Sports Association (PSA) also organises a programme of events to support sport within the school. Golf days, car washing and the dinner/dance have been recent examples. There is a TBSHS Former Pupils Association (SHOBA - Stortford High Old Boys Association) who also organise fund raising events from time to time. Sixth form students are involved in charitable fund raising and charitable work in the local community. The very successful and active Interact Club oversees the School's fund raising events for local and national charities.
Bishop's Stortford has developed from a small market town into a prosperous expanding commuter town within easy travelling distance of London and Cambridge. The number of children receiving free school meals is just over 1 per cent, well below the national average. There has been significant residential development over the last 10-15 years, with the likelihood of more to come. The town has good road and rail links. The proximity to the developing Stansted airport (about six miles from the school, but whose flight-path avoids the School) will ensure the continuing prosperity of the area.
There is easy access to open countryside, including Hatfield Forest, Epping Forest and the delightful villages to be found in Hertfordshire, Essex and Cambridgeshire. There is a high standard of rugby, cricket tennis and squash in the town as well as good facilities for hockey, golf and swimming. New staff comment on the friendliness of people in the town.
Further details can be found on the School's website at http://www.tbshs.herts.sch.uk/ .