Aylesbury High School
|Aylesbury High School|
|Type||Academy Grammar School|
|Motto||"prepare, challenge, inspire"|
|Department for Education URN||136846 Tables|
|Chair of Governors||Arfan Chaudhry|
|Age||11 to 18|
|Colour(s)||Navy and white|
Aylesbury High School (AHS) was founded in 1959, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, when the previously co-educational Aylesbury Grammar School (founded 1598) split to become two single-sex grammar schools. The two institutions remain on adjacent sites. The school takes its pupils from a wide area as far from Aylesbury as Oxford and Milton Keynes, as admissions are determined by the eleven-plus. The current headmaster is Alan Rosen.
The school is colloquially referred to by locals as "Aylesbury Girls'" and by the students as "the High" or "AHS".
The school is a selective state-funded grammar school, and as such entry requirements are dictated by the eleven-plus, now called transfer tests, although several students are admitted on appeal to Buckinghamshire County Council. In the fairly unusual event of free places, the school will accept pupils in Year 8 upon success in the eleven-plus, and later upon reasonable evidence that prospective pupils are academically capable. A large number of pupils are also admitted in the Sixth Form from both local state and independent schools, though impressive GCSE results are required and competition for these places is high.
The school educates girls from the age of 11, in Year 7, through to the age of 18, in Upper VI. The school has its largest intakes at Year 7 followed by Lower VI. On completing GCSEs, most girls stay on to complete their A-levels at the school's sixth-form.
It is situated east of the town centre on the southern side of the A41, between Walton (to the west) and Victoria Park (to the east). This site was built and opened in 1959 by Princess Alexandra, and is reflective of the modern, minimalist post-war architecture of the time. The school is housed in gardens which the students enjoy particularly in the summer.
The school has been awarded specialist school status in Languages, which it kept until Summer 2011, when it gained Academy Status. Languages remain a particular strength at the school and are extensively resourced and promoted. Each girl is required to take at least one language to GCSE level, and many take languages on to A Level and university.
Current senior teaching staff
There are currently five members of the school's Senior Leadership Team:
- Headmaster- A Rosen
- Deputy Headteachers – N Hamnett
- Assistant Head – A Brigden and H Queralt
There are currently seven Heads of Year at the school, one for each Year Group:
- Year 7 – J Jarrett
- Year 8 – S Saunders
- Year 9 – C McReynolds
- Year 10 – A Rust
- Year 11 – E Taylor
- Year 12 (Lower VI) – L Mallet
- Year 13 (Upper VI) – I Ochiltree
Additionally, Mr I Ochiltree is overall Head of the Sixth Form.
Each pupil is placed into one of six houses upon starting at the school. The houses are as follows:
|Ascott||Blue||Named after Ascott House, a local estate predominantly owned by the de Rothschild family, who are residents of Buckinghamshire.|
|Claydon||Yellow||Named after Claydon House, a local manor.|
|Hughenden||Purple||Named after Hughenden Manor, a local estate.|
|Missenden||Green||Named after Missenden Abbey, another local Manor and the traditional location of the joint Aylesbury High School and Aylesbury Grammar School Leavers' Ball.|
|Stowe||Red||Named after Stowe House, a local Manor.|
|Waddesdon||Orange||Named after Waddesdon Manor, a local estate predominantly owned by the de Rothschild family, who are residents of Buckinghamshire.|
The house cup
Every year, each house battles to win the House Cup. During the last week of term is the concluding House Event, House Athletics. Then, on the last day of term, the winning house is announced. Now merit marks, that the pupils earn, count toward the house cup.
There are several house events, such as:
|House Athletics||Members of each house in every year bar the Upper VI participate in track and field events.|
|House Dance||Members of each house in every year bar the Upper VI perform a sequence of dances in front of an audience. The dances are choreographed by House Dance Captains in the Lower VI in response to a given stimulus. External assessors judge each of the six dances and results are announced upon the conclusion final evening performance.|
|House Drama||A small selection of actresses from each house perform a piece written by House Drama Captains in the Lower VI. The piece is based on a given stimulus and is performed in front of an audience and external judges.|
|House Languages||A short picture is filmed in a foreign language, written and directed by House Language Captains in the Lower VI. Each film is screened in front of and audience and is judged by a panel of both internal and external assessors.|
|House Hockey||A set of hockey matches between houses. Each year bar the Sixth Form produce a team of twelve girls to play.|
|House Swimming||A series of heats between swimmers from each house. All year groups are represented.|
|House Music||A theme is chosen by the House Music Captains in the Lower VI. They then arrange pieces of music to fit this theme, which are performed on two evenings and judged by an internal panel. The results are announced upon the conclusion of the final performance.|
|House Art||House Captains in the Lower VI design a response to a given stimulus. Occasionally, these pieces have been reproduced and formally displayed; for example, the winning design of Waddesdon House, the 'Ladder of Success' has been cast in bronze and is displayed beside the entrance to the drama studio.|
The school also holds numerous minor sporting inter-house events.
House Points awarded for exemplary work also contribute, though comparatively insignificantly, to the House Cup.
A points system is then used to determine the winner of the Cup. The result is usually hotly contested in the hours after the announcement.
The school appoints five members of the Upper VI to the positions of Head Girl and four Deputy Head Girls in a group formally known as the School Cabinet. Girls are short-listed for these roles by the nominations of members of their year group, and are subsequently elected by students, staff and members of the senior leadership team based on maturity, behaviour, attitude, academic achievements and contribution to school and house events. They are identified by blue lacquer Head Girl badges.
In the first three years at Aylesbury High School, girls are almost exclusively taught in their houses (with the exceptions of Maths, in which pupils are streamed by ability in year 8–9, and by their Foreign Language choice in year 8–9; until the 2008/9 academic year, where year 7s are now assigned two languages. Houses are also paired (Ascott with Claydon, Hughenden with Missenden and Stowe with Waddesdon) and then split up into groups of 15–20 for Design Technology lessons and Art lessons in Years 8–9.
In Year 10 and above, the year group is reshuffled into different classes for each subject depending on their GCSE options these different GCSE choices mean they may not see others from either tutor group or form. From this point onwards, the houses play a lesser role in the day-to-day life of students but continue to organise teams for the House Cup as well as taking house assemblies and sharing a form room with other house members in their year, where students generally congregate during break-time and lunch if they are not eating in the Dining Room.
In the Sixth Form, all form groups are reshuffled and divided into smaller groups. One member of staff is responsible for each of these forms and oversees their progression to university and UCAS applications. Interview advice is given by the Head of Sixth Form Ms. Mallett and the Headmaster Alan Rosen.
The school is also known for offering a wide range of subjects at both GCSE and A Level, with less commonly offered subjects such as Art History being particular strengths.
Aylesbury High School consistently ranks in the top 100 schools in the country for exam results. Recent rankings (2012) listed Aylesbury High School as 15th nationally and A Level Results within the top 100 selective schools (including independent schools).
The school gives an annual travel scholarship award to honour the memory of Jane Brownlee a Head of Geography who died in service in 1998. The award is presented by her son Ben Brownlee and is awarded to a pupil in Year 13 to support travel in their gap year.
The school is locally known for taking fundraising to (frequently comical) extremes – including sky-dives and 20-hour treks. On Tuesday 21 November 2006 the school broke the world record for the number of Christmas crackers pulled simultaneously. In addition to setting a new Guinness World Record of 1,217 Christmas crackers, the school pupils also raised over £2,500 in sponsorship for children's charity the NSPCC.
The prime minister's global fellowship
The school has a good record of students attaining places on the prestigious Prime Minister's Global Fellowship programme. The school achieved its first student in the inaugural year of the programme, 2008, and in 2009 had 2 successful applicants.
Notable former pupils
- Lynda Bellingham, actress
- Emma Brockes, writer
- Claire Foy, actress (Amy Dorrit in Little Dorrit (TV serial) and Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown (Netflix series) for which she won a Golden Globe)
- Joanna Gosling, news presenter (BBC News 24)
- Anne Mills FRS, health economist
- "Open academies map and schools submitting applications". Department for Education. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
- "Secondary league tables 2012: Best GCSE results". BBC News. 24 January 2013.
- "The Top 100 Selective Schools at A-level". The Independent. London. 26 January 2012.
- "Jane Brownlee Scholarship". Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- "Ben Brownlee's website". Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- "Christmas cracker at Aylesbury High School". Aylesbury Today (The Bucks Herald). 22 November 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2006.[dead link]
- British Council website "Fellows" Archived 12 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine accessed 10 November 2009.
- Dodson, Sean (17 July 2001). "1972 and all that". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Wigg, David (31 October 2008). "Don't let me end up like Sienna Miller: Little Dorrit star Claire Foy on the price of fame". London: Daily Mail – Online. Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 28 November 2008.