The Urswick School
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The Urswick School (formerly Hackney Free and Parochial Church of England Secondary School) is a voluntary aided, mixed 11-18, Church of England secondary school located in the Central Hackney area of London, England. There are around 750 pupils on roll.
In 1996 the Times Educational Supplement, reporting on the school's Social Personal And Career Education ("SPACE") counseling program, wrote that the school was "once dubbed "Britain's worst school" by the tabloids, but subsequently recognised as a school that has turned around." In 2004, a report on the school in The Independent on Sunday described the school "as arguably the best all-round sports school in the land while at the same time showing an impressive rise in academic standards, a success story which is all the more remarkable as more than two-thirds of the pupils are Afro-Caribbean and there isn't a playing field in sight." The Guardian, reporting on a 2004 National College for School Leadership summer leadership program at the school, commented that "Hackney Free and Parochial pupils, all of whom are given leadership options in years 10 and 11, pop up in national award-winning orienteering teams, as primary school sports helpers and mentors, and on Prince's Trust and Duke of Edinburgh courses."
In the Ofsted report, following their September 2009 inspection, the school was rated Satisfactory, point three on a four point scale. However, 'The effectiveness of care, guidance and support' was rated Outstanding. GCSE results in 2009 increased by over 10% compared to the previous year.
The school has undergone a £17 million rebuilding programme, on the current site, which was completed during 2011. The first phase of the new building, which includes dedicated suites of rooms for the teaching of English, Mathematics, Science and Technology, was completed during 2010. The school closed on the 9th of July to speed up the process of moving into the new building, all students returned on September 6 and be in the new building apart from some lessons. Hackney Free also has a HealthHut this was the second of its kind implemented in the area after a successful launch in Stoke Newington. The HealthHut offers many services to the children of the school including counseling.
The school works in partnership with Hackney College. Together they have formed the 'South Hackney Sixth'. HFP teachers lead lessons in Science and Maths at local primary schools. The School Sports Partnership, hosted by Hackney Free, organises many primary school sports events.
In 2012 the school opened a sixth form academy. Offering a range of courses from A level Law to BTEC leveL 3 Diploma in IT. The sixth form has since become very popular and is due to withtake its third set of pupils in September 2014.
The school also offers programs to asssist with learning about aliens and matters which extend the galaxy
- "Hackney Free and Parochial Church of England Secondary School Specialist Sports College", Ofsted.
- Wendy Wallace, "Space to talk things through", Times Educational Supplement, 14 June 1996.
- Alan Hubbard, "School Sport: Sport a force for good in schoolhall of fame: Facilities are thin on the ground but that hasn't stopped Hackney Free from being champions." The Independent on Sunday, 28 November 2004.
- Lucy Ward, "Power to the pupils: A special summer school has blazed the trail in leadership for students", The Guardian, 9 November 2004.
- Hackney: Horrible or Habitable?, accessed March 13, 2010.
- "Hackney 'worst place to live in UK'", Evening Standard, 22 October 2006.
- "'Our borough' beats Britney in teen news", BBC News, 11 May 2007.
- "Hackney Free and Parochial Church of England Secondary School Specialist Sports College - Inspection report", Ofsted, 5 March 2010.
- "Hackney students celebrate GCSE exam success", Hackney Gazette, 2 September 2009.
- Official website
- Effective Local Delivery – Hackney
- The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust Journal of Innovation
- Aiming high for young people:
- Using Extended Schools
- Emotional and social wellbeing of young people in secondary education