County Upper School

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Bury St Edmunds County Upper School
CUS crest.jpg
Established 1904
Type Academy Converter
Headteacher Mrs Vicky Neale
Location Beetons Way
Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk
IP32 6RF
England Coordinates: 52°15′24″N 0°42′08″E / 52.25662°N 0.70217°E / 52.25662; 0.70217
DfE URN 136990 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Staff 91
Students 992 (209 in 6th Form)
Gender Coeducational
Ages 13–19
Website www.burytrust.org/county/

Bury St Edmunds County Upper School is a 13 to 19 co-educational comprehensive high-performing academy[1] part of the Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust comprising County Upper School, Horringer Court School, Westley School and Barrow CEVC and Tollgate Primaries.[2] It is one of three 13-18 schools serving the town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, England and its surrounding villages. Pupils enter Year 9 primarily from three catchment Middle Schools in Bury St Edmunds but students are drawn widely from across the villages and towns of West Suffolk.[3] The school is regularly[1] over-subscribed with 266 first-choice applicants in 2009/10, 287 in 2010/11, 282 for 2011/12, 279 for 2012/13[4] and 268 for 2014/15 [5] against a LEA Planned Admission Number of 260.[6] In September 2013 the number of students on roll was 992 and it is expected that will remain relatively unchanged for the foreseeable future. Attached to the main school is a Sixth Form, which at present stands at around 209 students spread between Years 12 and 13.[7] The school is located on Beetons Way, on the outskirts of town, next to St Benedict's Roman Catholic Upper School, which has close links with the County Upper Sixth Form.

County Upper School has specialisms in science and languages with an Able and Talented Focus,[8] and is also accredited as a "Consultant School" by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust[9]

Together with Westley School, part of the Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust, it is the Area Hub for West Suffolk and East Cambridgeshire for the Computing At School Network of Excellence[10] as part of the joint effort by the BCS, Chartered Institute for IT[11] and the Computing Industry to provide leadership and strategic guidance to all those involved in Computing education in schools.

The school is accredited with the National College for School Leadership as a Teaching School and is part of the West Suffolk All-Through Teaching School Alliance,[12] to train and develop teachers from September 2013[13] and it is also the lead Suffolk school in the Suffolk and Norfolk Initial Teacher Training (SNITT) initiative,[14] in partnership with Suffolk County Council and University College Suffolk, which is part of the Department for Education's School Direct Training Programme.[15]

Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust[edit]

As a school rated by Ofsted as "Outstanding" (1999, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013)[16] under the Academies Act 2010 County Upper School applied to become a High-Performing Academy – a publicly funded independent school.

Together with Horringer Court School, Westley School, Tollgate Primary School and Barrow CEVC Primary School, and working closely with Howard Middle School,[17] it forms the 4-18 Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust[18] with the potential for students to move flexibly through the pyramid in accordance with their ability and aptitude allowing the six schools to work together strategically to drive up even further their standards and results.[19]

The Trust, in this instance led by County Upper, has become an Early Adopter of the World Class Schools Quality Mark.[20]

Origins[edit]

The Original West Suffolk County School Northgate Street Bury St Edmunds

County Upper School traces its origins back to the Education Act 1902 that gave County Councils the status of Local Education Authorities, greatly expanding their powers and their expenditure. Within a few years it was normal for half a county's budget to be devoted to education and the West Suffolk County School was opened in Northgate Street in Bury. A large red brick building, the former Falconbury School and site of the original Northgate House, had been purchased for the purpose in 1904, then altered and improved. This original building was then extended in 1907. At this time it was co-educational (for both girls and boys), with separate playgrounds. In the early 1950s the school became The County Grammar School for Girls with eligible boys from Bury and its surrounding villages attending the King Edward VI Grammar School.

In 1964 The County Grammar School for Girls moved from its Northgate Street site to brand new premises at the end of Tollgate Lane (now known as Beetons Way) in north west Bury St Edmunds. For many years the girls had walked to this new site to make use of the playing fields that the Local Education Authority had acquired there. These long walks now became unnecessary. The school premises in Northgate Street gradually became used as an annex to the West Suffolk College until 1988. Today, the old red brick building forms the core of the Northgate Street Business Park, housing, amongst other enterprises, a Dance school, a Chiropractic clinic, the Headquarters of the East of England Ambulance Service and the East of England Museums Libraries and Archives, the original West Suffolk County School crest is still visible to passersby. In 1971 The County Grammar School for Girls became the co-educational and comprehensive County Upper School. The old single-sex state grammar school system, which divided children by gender and ability in Suffolk was now dead.[21]

The original West Suffolk County School crest, shown above the old Northgate Street building entrance, consisted of a gold cross fleury between five martlets on a blue shield and were the arms of Edward the Confessor, who in the 11th Century granted land to the Abbey of St Edmund,[22] and those of the old West Suffolk County Council.[23] The contemporary County Upper School crest has four birds around a cross surmounted by the Saxon Crown[24] of St Edmund, the last King of East Anglia.[25] The blue sweaters with an all gold crest worn by today’s pupils echo the colours of Edward the Confessor and are used by the school sports teams and on the school flag.

Facilities[edit]

Bury St Edmunds County Upper School today

The original girls' grammar school building, opened in 1964, provides the main teaching and administrative area. There are additional specialist facilities, built in the 1970s, to support the teaching of science, art, design technology. New facilities for humanities were built in the 1990s. In 2004 the school's kitchens were refitted, and a new block containing a secondary eating area was created alongside a gym, above this two classrooms were constructed, which are now the Sixth Form common rooms.

A new library opened in October 2006, and a completely refurbished Performing Arts Centre opened Easter 2007 which contains facilities for Dance, Drama and Music. This was dedicated to the memory of Michael Woodhouse, a wheelchair bound student, who unexpectedly died during Easter 2007.[26] Work on new facilities for Food Technology and Art were completed in Summer 2008 which forms part of a Visual Arts Centre, a Business Studies Centre was completed during Summer 2010, the Science Block was refurbished in Summer 2011 and the main Sports Hall in Summer 2012.

Staff[edit]

Since September 2005, the school has been led by Mrs Vicky Neale, following the retirement of Adrian Williams, who obtained an CBE for Services to Education after many years at the school. As of 2014, there are around 90 teaching staff.[27] The most recent workforce statistics from the Department for Education[28] indicates the Academy's pupil-teacher ratio of 14.4:1 is lower than both the Suffolk LEA average of 16:1 in Secondary Schools and 15.7:1 for England as a whole.[29]

Ofsted inspections[edit]

Their most recent full Ofsted inspection on 18–19 September 2013 rated County Upper School as Grade 1 - Outstanding for overall effectiveness and Grade 1 - Outstanding in all 4 inspection categories: Achievement of pupils; Quality of teaching; Behaviour and safety of pupils and Leadership and management for both the main school and Sixth Form; its 8th successive "Outstanding" rating from Ofsted since 1998[30][31][32]

The June 2013 Ofsted Report into the achievement of the top 30% most able students in non-selective comprehensive schools in England[33][34] visited County Upper School and gave a Grade 1 "Outstanding" rating for all five categories it inspected: Transfer, transition and induction; Most able achievement; Teaching, learning and assessment; Curriculum; Support and guidance[35]

The Education Act 2011[36] proposed that schools assessed as being Grade 1 "Outstanding" on their last inspection will not be subject to routine inspection unless concerns are raised with Ofsted about their performance. As with similar schools Ofsted wrote to County Upper School on 28 March 2011 with an "Interim Assessment"[37][38] stating that based upon pupils' academic performance,[39] very low rates of absence[40] and having taken into account the results of survey visits carried out since the last routine inspection.[41] they considered that the Outstanding performance had been sustained. Ofsted stated they would continue to undertake annual assessments of County Upper Schools' performance.

Academic achievements and attendance[edit]

County Upper achieved a 88% A*-C pass rate in the Summer 2014 "A" Level examinations versus a national percentage of 76.5%.[42] This was the best state school "A" Level result in Suffolk topped only by the fee-paying Ipswich School who attained 88.9%.[43]

County Upper Sixth Form students regularly achieve entry to Oxbridge Colleges[44] with an average of 6% of Sixth Form Pupils achieving entry to Oxford or Cambridge making it the 7th most successful non-selective school in England[45] and research by the Sutton Trust shows around three-quarters of students leaving Year 13 attend university after leaving County Upper with a third attending the 30 most selective universities and colleges.[46]

The 2014 GCSE results showed similar success with an 86% A*-C pass rate, compared with 68.8% for England nationally,[47] and 71% [48] of students gained 5 or more A*-C passes including English and Mathematics This was the joint second highest percentage awarded for a state school in Suffolk and joint highest in the Western Area together with neighbouring St Benedicts Roman Catholic Upper school.[43]

40% of students achieved an A*-C pass rate in 2013[49] for the GCSE subjects required to gain them the English Baccalaureate qualification,[50] (English, Mathematics, 2 Sciences, History/Geography and a Modern Foreign Language) surpassing the 35% government target for that year.[51]

Attendance in 2013 was recorded at 96.8% (2011 and 2012 were both 96.6%) compared with a national figure of 94.1% placing it in the first quintile of all schools in England and Wales[52] and which is the highest attendance figure in Suffolk of any Secondary School.[53]

Science[edit]

County Upper has a specialism in science with an Able and Talented focus. An Ofsted subject inspection in May 2009 judged the overall effectiveness of science to be outstanding with no areas for improvement.[54]

It is the lead school in the Norfolk & Suffolk Science Learning Partnership[55] promoting professional development amongst science education and learning professionals.[56]

County Upper runs a Science and Engineering outreach programme including visits to universities and other science centres as well as workshops for able and talented students from feeder Middle Schools in West Suffolk. Year 9 Science students also participate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) days run by the Smallpeice Trust[57] promoting engineering careers for young people and lower school students participate in the new Go4Set[58] STEM residential courses run by the Engineering Development Trust.[59]

In summer 2010 the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) designated County Upper as a Consultant School[60][61] in recognition of its assistance in helping other schools in Suffolk raise standards and achievement.

Languages[edit]

The school also has a specialism in languages with an Able and Talented focus.[8][62]

The school offers Latin, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish for all pupils with Italian in the Sixth Form. It runs an overseas exchange programme to Kyoto in Japan, the Ancona region of Italy, Guadalajara, Spain and the Rhineland area of Germany.[63][64] The Japanese programme involves annual language and scientific exchanges, summer camps and extensive cultural activities between Japan and Bury St Edmunds.

The school runs a Modern Foreign Language outreach programme with its feeder Middle Schools in West Suffolk where able and talented pupils take part in workshops and activity days hosted at County Upper during the course of the academic year.

Sport and physical activities[edit]

The school over 30 weekly extra-curricular sports clubs and activities,[65][66] its facilities include a sports hall, gymnasium, a mini-sports hall, a fitness suite, a PE lab, six tennis and netball courts, two full-sized football pitches, cricket nets and a floodlit all-weather hockey/five-a-side football pitch all on site.[67]

County Upper School won the 2011 BBC Look East School of the Year for Sport,[68][69] was selected the Suffolk Sport "Secondary School of the Year" Award sponsored by Ipswich Town FC Community Trust in 2011,[70][71] won the St Edmundsbury "School of the Year Award" for sport in both 2008 and 2011,[72] gained the Association for Physical Education (afPE) Quality Mark with Distinction in autumn 2012 after being asked by the Association to help pilot the new scheme nationally,[73] is partner school of both Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust via the Sportsmark Scheme[74] and offers a wide variety of sport and team games. It has achieved the Football Association Charter Standard Secondary Development School status in recognition for the quality of its coaching.[75] The school works with the East of England coach for British cycling[76] and also fields an equestrian team.[77][78][79]

School teams were the Suffolk U15 cricket[80] and U16 netball champions for the 2010-11 season,[81] the U17 rounders team reached the semi-finals of the English National Schools Championships in July 2011,[82] and won the English National Golf Championships in July 2014.[83]

The captain of Suffolk County Cricket team, Mr Justin Bishop, is a PE teacher and cricket coach for the school[84] and Miss Heather Lymburn, also on the PE staff, is a member of the England Senior Korfball Squad.[85]

County Upper Basketball Academy[edit]

In addition to the main school sports activities County Upper also hosts a dedicated Basketball Academy.[86] The academy has its own Sports Director with students from across East Anglia attending the County Upper Sixth Form. Students are accommodated locally, attend the school and regularly[87] enter regional and national-level competitions,[88] tour the USA and have achieved scholarships to US Basketball Colleges.[89] The U17 Basketball Team were finalists and eventual runners-up in the English National School Championships in 2012.[90]

Music, drama and visual arts[edit]

County Upper has achieved an Artsmark Gold award for its wide range of musical, dance and theatrical groups and events.[91] The school is an accredited Arts Award Centre[92] for the Trinity College London and Arts Council England scheme and an Examinations Centre for the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music and Rockschool.[93] It also, together with Westley School from the Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust, participates in the annual BBC School Report project[94] run collaboratively between BBC News and BBC Learning giving young people an opportunity to make their own news reports for a real audience.[95]

The school ensembles regularly perform in public holding numerous plays, concerts and choral events in and around Bury St Edmunds including performances at the town's Apex Venue.[96][97][98][99] The school staged one of the first amateur productions of the Phantom of the Opera in 2012[100] and other recent productions have included Les Miserables, West Side Story, Anything Goes, The Pyjama Game and “South Pacific”.[101] There are over 20 music ensembles including two orchestras, several choirs, string & jazz ensembles and wind bands. There have been three Swing Band tours of Suffolk Virginia USA[102] together with music tours of Venice, Somerset and the Channel Islands.

The school holds an annual Art Exhibition for the community displaying students' work. Paintings, textiles, pottery and visual arts installations are shown to the public each summer with some of the very best going on display in public buildings in and around Bury St Edmunds.[103]

West Suffolk Music Centre[edit]

County Upper School hosts most of the Suffolk Youth Music activities in the Bury St Edmunds area on behalf of the Suffolk County Music Service.[104] These comprise of: The Bury St Edmunds County Music School; the West Suffolk Youth Jazz Orchestra, Big Band, Ceilidh Band, Wind Band, Youth Orchestra and various instrumental classes.

Awards and achievements[edit]

County Upper is recognized by Healthy Schools Suffolk and is accredited as an Investor in People. The English, Music and History Departments participate in the Prince of Wales' Prince's Teaching Institute Schools Programme[105] to enhance the quality and breadth of the curricula including visits to Stratford, Berlin, Rome, the Somme battlefields and Auschwitz[106] and County Upper received an International School Award[107] in 2007, 2010 and 2013[108] from the British Council both for its strength in foreign language teaching and its scientific and cultural links with Europe, Japan and the USA.

It earned a "Distinction" designation from Education Extra[citation needed] for its extensive range of extra-curricular activities consisting of more than weekly 60[109] clubs and activities, its musical, drama & dance productions, the Duke of Edinburgh Award[110] scheme (Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards) and its frequent sports, music and expeditionary tours abroad to countries including Malta, Jersey, Spain, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Madagascar, Borneo and the USA.[64][111]

The school's annual Charity Fortnight, organised by the Sixth Form, raises funds for local, national and international good causes.[112] The 2013 total of £14,718[113] took the overall total raised to over £250,000.

The school recognises exceptional service by students to the school and the wider community each year by presenting The Princess Diana Award at its annual Prize Giving.[114]

St Edmundsbury Borough Council awarded the school catering department a maximum 5 star rating in October 2010.[115]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b County Upper School page on Suffolk County Council Education and Learning web site abstracted 14 September 2011
  2. ^ DfES List of Open Academies and Schools Submitting Applications
  3. ^ Suffolk County Council map of CUS Catchment area
  4. ^ Suffolk County Council booklet Upper/High Schools in Suffolk 2012
  5. ^ Answer to FOI question 8059 to Suffolk County Council dated 18 July 2014
  6. ^ Suffolk County Council Guide to Upper/High School Admissions 2011/12
  7. ^ School population taken from latest DfE statistics September 2011
  8. ^ a b Specialist Schools and Academies Trust school search page
  9. ^ Bury Free Press article 8 October 2010
  10. ^ Bury St Edmunds Computing at School Hub webpage
  11. ^ Computing at School and BCS web page
  12. ^ WSTSA Webpage abstracted 5 October 2013
  13. ^ BFP Article 15 March 2013
  14. ^ SNITT website abstracted 23 Dec 2012
  15. ^ SDP page DfE website abstracted 23 Dec 2012
  16. ^ 2013 Ofsted Report for Inspection 18-19 September 2013
  17. ^ EADT Article dated 6 March 2014 abstracted 22 Augsust 2014
  18. ^ Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust web site
  19. ^ Bury Free Press article dated 23 July 2012 abstracted 2 September 2012
  20. ^ List of Early Adopters from the World Class Schools website
  21. ^ St Edmundsbury Borough Council web site - The Twentieth Century (edit)
  22. ^ English Heritage Bury St Edmunds Abbey History
  23. ^ West Suffolk County Council Coat of Arms
  24. ^ Arms of St Edmund King and Martyr
  25. ^ "The history of the legend of Saint Edmund" Stedmundsbury Borough Council web site
  26. ^ Bury Free Press Article 26 April 2007 Retrieved 16 April 2009
  27. ^ County Upper Teaching Staff
  28. ^ DfE 2011 School-level Workforce statistics (provisional) released 20 April 2011
  29. ^ DfE 2010 School Workforce in England statisics published 26 May 2010
  30. ^ Ofsted Inspection 18-19 September 2013 Final Report number 427214
  31. ^ EADT article dated 11 October 2013
  32. ^ BFP article dated 11 October 2013
  33. ^ Ofsted Report 130118 dated 13 June 2013
  34. ^ BFP Article dated 26 April 2013
  35. ^ Ofsted Inspection Report 22 March 2013
  36. ^ BBC Article on 2011 Education Bill dated 27 January 2011
  37. ^ Ofsted Letter dated 28 March 2011
  38. ^ Bury Free Press Article 15 April 2011
  39. ^ DfE Performance Tables 2010 for Suffolk Schools
  40. ^ DfE Suffolk School Absence Rates 2011
  41. ^ Science Subject Visit 12 Mat 2009
  42. ^ Daily Telegraph Article dated 14 August 14
  43. ^ a b EADT Results Table compiled August 2014 abstracted 23 August 2014
  44. ^ Bury Free Press Article 15 August 2014
  45. ^ DofE KS5 tables published 17 July 2012
  46. ^ Degrees of Success - University Chances by Individual School, Sutton Trust, 8 July 2011.
  47. ^ The Independent article dated 22 August 2014 abstracted 23 August 2014
  48. ^ BFP Article dated 22 August 2013 abstracted 23 August 2013
  49. ^ DfE EBacc Performance Tables
  50. ^ DfE English Baccalaureate web page dated 25 March 2011
  51. ^ Daily Telegraph article dated 12 January 2011 abstracted 6 September 2011
  52. ^ Schools’ Ofsted Data Attendance Dashboard
  53. ^ 2013 Schools Performance Tables
  54. ^ Ofsted Science subject visit feedback letter re: Inspection 12 May 09
  55. ^ Norfolk & Suffolk Science Learning Partnership Newsletter Summer Term 2014
  56. ^ BFP Article dated 01 November 2013 abstracted 23 August 2014
  57. ^ "STEM Day" Page 1 Bury St Edmunds CUS Accolade December 2008
  58. ^ Go4Set Home Page
  59. ^ Engineering Development Trust Home Page
  60. ^ SSAT Accreditation page
  61. ^ Bury Free Press article Friday 8 October 2010
  62. ^ Page 1 Bury St Edmunds CUS Accolade February 2009
  63. ^ School Document
  64. ^ a b List of school major residential trips September 2009
  65. ^ List of summer sports clubs abstracted 23 Aug 14
  66. ^ Bury Free Press Article "Sport is a top scorer for school" dated 16 December 2011
  67. ^ 2013/14 Prospectus listing sports facilities
  68. ^ BBC Sport Web Site Look East Sports Awards abstracted 9 December 2011
  69. ^ BFP article "County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds takes Gold in Regional Awards" dated 9 December 2011
  70. ^ Suffolk Sports 2011 Awards winners list
  71. ^ Suffolk Sports Awards 2011 Citations
  72. ^ Abbeycroft Leisure Ports Awards Nmination & Winners 2011
  73. ^ afPE Quality Mark for PE &Sport
  74. ^ "Sportsmark 2008". Bury St Edmunds CUS Accolade. February 2009. p. 6. 
  75. ^ "Charter Standard for Football". Bury St Edmunds CUS Accolade. January 2009. p. 5. 
  76. ^ "Cycling with a British Coach". Bury St Edmunds CUS Accolade. February 2009. p. 6. 
  77. ^ "Equestrianism". Bury St Edmunds CUS Accolade. June 2009. p. 7. 
  78. ^ "All the Sport for October". Bury St Edmunds CUS Accolade. October 2009. p. 4. 
  79. ^ "Equestrianism". Bury St Edmunds CUS Accolade. October 2011. p. 6. 
  80. ^ Page 1 CUS September Accolade
  81. ^ Bury Free Press article "County top of the class after Suffolk triumph" dated 3 June 2011 abstracted 5 June 2011
  82. ^ Rounders England National Championships results webpage abstracted 26 October 2011
  83. ^ BFP Article dated 21 July 2014 abstracted 23 August 2014
  84. ^ Bury Free Press article dated 3 June 2011
  85. ^ [1]
  86. ^ UCAS Progress web page
  87. ^ CUS Basketball Academy Fixture List
  88. ^ London24 Article dated 24 May 2013 abstracted 23 Aug 2014
  89. ^ EADT Article 21 Dec 2012 abstracted 22 Dec 2012
  90. ^ EADT Article 19 April 2012 abstracted 6 May 2012
  91. ^ Artsmark Centre map for West Suffolk
  92. ^ List of Arts Award Centres in the East of England
  93. ^ County Upper School [age on Rockschool Website
  94. ^ CUS Page on BBC School Report website
  95. ^ BBCNews Report website
  96. ^ Bury Free Press Article 25 July 2008
  97. ^ Bury Free Press Article 18 April 2011
  98. ^ Bury Free Press Article dated 18 April 2011
  99. ^ [2]
  100. ^ EADT Article dated 13 July 2012 abstracted 2 September 2012
  101. ^ Bury Free Press article dated 13 July 2012 abstracted 2 September 2012
  102. ^ Swing Band Concert Apex Bury St Edmunds June 2011
  103. ^ Bury Free Press Article "Praise for annual school exhibition" p119 1 July 2011
  104. ^ Head of Suffolk County Music Service letter "Re-location of Suffolk Youth Music activities: Bury St Edmunds" dated 19 December 2012
  105. ^ The Prince's Teaching Institute
  106. ^ List of Prince's Teaching Institute participating schools
  107. ^ Global Gateway DCSF International School Award
  108. ^ List of Schools in 2007 receiving the International School Award
  109. ^ List of Clubs and Activities Autumn Term 2008 County Courier No.2 Dated 12 September 08 Spring Term 2009 County Courier No.15 Dated 9 January 09Summer Term 2009 County Courier No.26 Dated 24 April 09
  110. ^ County Upper School page of Suffolk DofE Website
  111. ^ Bury St Edmunds CUS Accolade Archive 2007-2009
  112. ^ Bury Free Press Article 25 December 2010
  113. ^ Bury Free Press Article dated 24 Dec 2013
  114. ^ Bury Free Press article dated 14 August 2014 abstracted 24 August 2014
  115. ^ St Edmundsbury Borough Council Food Hygiene Ratings

External links[edit]