Aylesford School – Sports College
|Motto||"Raising the Standards"|
|Headteacher||Mr C Guthrie|
|Chairman||Mr. P Divall|
|DfE URN||118882 Tables|
|Students||943 (plus 124 in sixth form)|
|Houses||Four "Schools of Learning"|
|Colours||Blue & Yellow|
|Website||Aylesford School Sports College Website|
Aylesford is a mixed-sex school comprising years 7 to 11, plus a Sixth Form for pupils in years 12 and 13.
The School achieved Specialist status as a Sports College in 2004, which ensured that a focus on sport was introduced to all aspects of the curriculum.
The school site at Teapot Lane - originally built largely by Italian prisoners of War during the 1940s, was redeveloped in 2005-2008, as part of a KCC-sponsored PFI scheme which also included two other local secondary schools, Holmesdale in Snodland, and The Malling, in East Malling, and three others elsewhere in Kent. Construction of the new school was headed by Costain. Unlike the other schools involved, space constrictions on the site meant that the new buildings had to be built over the original foundations, so a "temporary village" of classrooms was constructed on part of the site to house the majority of pupils and staff during the reconstruction period.
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, accompanied by local MP Jonathan Shaw and officials from KCC, officially opened the new school buildings on 28 May 2008. Referring to the three local schools, the Minister said: If we can do around the country, what we've seen in these three schools, we could really transform education in Britain.
Because of the restricted site at Aylesford School, it was necessary to rebuild the school largely in the same location on the site that the old buildings occupied. This required careful planning and a certain amount of disruption to both staff and pupils. When the school was housed in the old buildings, its reputation was very poor. Even with the news that new buildings were on the way, the school was still considered to be underperforming. During the rebuilding process many of the old buildings were demolished and replaced with 23 small mobile classrooms, which become known as the Learning Village. Only B block (Science), C block (Technology and Art) and M block (English, and the library) remained in use from the old school. The mobile huts were difficult to maintain in a clean and tidy manner, especially as they were often surrounded by construction work and materials, and teaching was considered very difficult. Many believe this is the reason why many teachers and pupils left. Over 40 teachers have left since 2005.
However, once the new, state-of-the-art, buildings were completed, the school started to regain its former good reputation, and is currently (20) full in all years. It is reported that over 400 pupils are applying to join in September 2009, and there is also a large number of parents interested in transferring their children to the school. The new build has also attracted many new teachers, dozens have joined since the opening of the new buildings.
The School now consists of 4 Main Buildings named after famous sporting venues: Twickenham, Lords, Wembley and Wimbledon. Wimbledon - formerly known as C-Block, is the only building to remain from the old school, and has been fully refurbished. The School also boasts a large Hall with a performance stage, an indoor sports hall containing 6 badminton courts and mechanically retracting basketball nets, a separate gym with dance mirrors, gymnastcs/trampoline facilities and an indoor climbing wall, an outdoor assault course and fitness area, and a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA). Funding was being sought for an Astroturf football pitch; though these plans have now been scrapped.
The school is also equipped with state-of-the-art ICT facilities, with over 500 desktop PCs, over 200 staff and student laptops, fixed and portable projectors, interactive whiteboards and interactive learning zones.
In 2007, Aylesford introduced a new structure: although most teaching and learning continues to be carried out in year-based classes, instead of pupils being in year-based tutor groups, they join small mentor groups with pupils from all years. These meet regularly to focus on removing the barriers to education, so improving pupil's behaviour and achievement levels, through generating a family-based sense of belonging.
Each mentor group belongs to one of four larger groups known as 'Schools of Learning'. These allow for peer group mentoring to take place naturally, greater involvement for each and every child and more of a competitive atmosphere when it comes to Sports Day and similar events, as well as reducing incidents of bullying and intimidation, breaking down barriers across year groups, easing year seven pupils into secondary school education, and helping to build civil responsibilities and shared experiences for all. Each School of Learning has a Director of Learning who acts as a mini Headteacher for that particular "School" and a dedicated Pastoral Support Manager (PSM) who deals entirely with student issues, parental contact in school hours and helps the students on a more personal level.
The School Curriculum has also taken a diverse turn by placing students into a personalised "Learning Pathway" at the start of Year 7. This pathway aims to play to the students strengths and develop their weaknesses by ensuring that the most able students are pushed further (many of which look at taking certain GCSEs in Year 9) whilst less abled students are given more focused teaching and learning, more support and are ensured the chance of securing good grades and skills by the end of Year 11
The uniform is: Royal blue polo shirt with School name and badge
- Black plain jumper, crew or v-neck
- Black tailored full length trousers/knee-length black skirt
- Black leather ankle-height footwear
- School outer coat – choice of: - Black fleece with School name and badge
- Two new versions of a winter coat
- Also acceptable as outer coats:
- PE tracksuit jacket with School name and badge
Aylesford School is an 'No Hoodie zone.' Any Hoodies worn by students will be confiscated by a member of staff.
The sixth-form is part of the Medway Valley Sixth-form Consortium - collectively known as WHAM - a collaboration with Wrotham School, Holmesdale Technology College and The Malling School, which offers a wider range of A-level and equivalent courses than any one of the schools could provide individually. Aylesford has a particular strength in Business Studies provision.
Ofsted and results
The school was inspected by Ofsted in March 2013, February 2012, September 2010, May 2008, and before that, in December 2003.
In the latest report, the school is rated overall as Satisfactory, and the Sixth-form: Good.
The report also comments that:
"Students are proud of their school. It provides a safe environment for learning and students behave well. They speak highly of the staff who work with them and who are very supportive of their learning."
This was reflected by the School's 2012-2013 GCSE results where 96.2% of pupils achieved 5 A*-C grades (47.6%% including both English and Maths), the best results the School has ever achieved. In 2008 Kent County Council and the Sports College Trust recognised Aylesford School's achievement revealing it was the "most improved school in the county" and second most improved Sports College in the country.
5 A* to C
5 A* to C (Inc. English and Maths)
Percentage of all pupils attained five GCSEs grade A* to C including English and mathematics.
Results are from the Ofsted Database
January 2010 winter coats incident
On 5 January 2010 it was reported that, because of severe cold weather with hard frost and snow, many pupils came to school in non-uniform winter coats, and that several were confiscated by staff. Eight pupils refused to surrender their coats and walked out of school. A number of parents protested to the school, complaining that the school uniform coat was too thin to be warm enough in extreme cold weather. The school's head teacher, Doug Lawson, defended his decision: "We told pupils about the uniform policy and 32 coats were confiscated, but only until the end of the day. We did not tell pupils they had to go home but eight pupils decided not to hand over their coats and, supported by their parents, left the school. We will be treating this as truancy."
Notes and references
- School Website Retrieved May 2008
- Kent Messenger Newspaper, 13 June 2008
- School Prospectus, 2013/14
- Ofsted Section 1 Inspection Report ref. 118882, March 2013
- "Aylesford School - Sports College". Department for Education. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
- Wardrop, Murray (5 January 2010). "Heavy snow forces hundreds of schools to close". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- Hollands, Luke (4 January 2010). "Video: Aylesford School Sports College gets tough over uniforms". Kent Online. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- The School website
- Kent County Council - the Local Authority
- Department for Children, Schools and Families
- 6th Form WHAM Consortium
- Aylesford School - Sports College Ofsted Report