Backwell School

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Backwell School
BackwellSchool Logo.png
Backwell School.JPG
The main gates
Station Road, Backwell

BS48 3BX

Coordinates51°24′58″N 2°44′21″W / 51.4161°N 2.7392°W / 51.4161; -2.7392Coordinates: 51°24′58″N 2°44′21″W / 51.4161°N 2.7392°W / 51.4161; -2.7392
Established1954; 65 years ago (1954)
FounderSomerset County Council
Local authorityNorth Somerset Council
TrustBackwell School Academy Trust
SpecialistPerforming and visual arts college
Department for Education URN136722 Tables
Chair of GovernorsMaurice Moloney
HeadteacherJon Nunes
Age11 to 18
Enrollment1,706 (Data from January 2015)
Capacity1,728 (Data from January 2015)
Houses     Cotswold
Colour(s)Navy blue and gold         
PublicationBackchat, Backwell School Radio and The Toad
Teaching schoolYes, since 2012

Backwell School is a secondary academy school in Backwell, Somerset, England. It is considered to be one of the best-performing state schools in England, leading results at both GCSE and A level in the area and consistently being rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted.

The school is a National Teaching School, through which it leads the North Somerset Teaching Alliance, with Healthy School Plus and International School status. Since March 2011 the school has been a self-governing academy convert. It holds the Artsmark Gold award and includes a sixth form.

It has 1,738 pupils, of which 387 were in the school’s sixth form in 2016, from the age of 11 (year 7) to the age of 18 (year 13).[1] Backwell has previously been a Beacon School, specialist performing and visual arts college and National Training School.


The original secondary modern school at Backwell was founded by Somerset County Council in 1954 and later became a comprehensive school in 1976 when the tripartite education system was abolished in the area. The school's original building dates from 1954,[2] when Britain was in the midst of a post-war school-building boom.[3]

The first Headmaster of The School, Mr W. C. M. Cox was in the 1946 New Year Honours (Mentioned in Dispatches) he was Flight Lieutenant W. C. M. Cox (133777), RAFVR.

In 2009, 71% of GCSE pupils achieved at least five GCSE passes above grade C including English and Maths.[4] This is 21% above the national average that year. It is the highest performing state secondary school in North Somerset.[5]

In November 2008, Backwell School was rated as outstanding by Ofsted.[6] It was inspected again in May 2013 (no. 413323) due to the school having converted to an academy two years previous. It was judged to be outstanding in all categories.

On 11 September 2015 a small fire broke out in the Cotswold house building, causing minor damage to the block. All staff and pupils were safely evacuated.[7]

Catchment area[edit]

The school's catchment area includes the villages of Backwell, Yatton, Claverham, Cleeve and Kingston Seymour, although several hundred of the school's pupils come from locations outside of its official catchment area from locations such as Nailsea and Bristol. Admissions are managed by the local education authority – North Somerset Council.

School site[edit]

The site at Backwell is relatively large, featuring multiple large sports grounds to the North. Buildings vary extremely in design and age with the oldest part of the original school, known as 'Lower School' and the 'Science Corridor', which includes the main theatre, dating back to 1954 – being the same design as at Kingsmead School while the Sixth Form Centre was completed in just 2011.

Backwell Leisure Centre is no longer part of the school grounds, but is situated directly next to the rear entrance of the school, and is used for swimming in PE lessons.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Backwell is known for its strong association with the performing arts, having previously been a specialist performing arts college. Its bi-yearly whole school productions, which last featured the ever-popular musical “Singin' in the Rain”, regular music concerts, as well as the yearly student-organised sixth form production, this year (2016), being the Broadway musical “Hairspray”, with a cast, crew and band of over 100. The year before, the sixth-form organised a production of “High School Musical”, which was a sell out. All sixth form productions raise money for charities, this year's being Alzheimer's Society

In 2015 a radio station was launched, having been set up by the student council.[8][9]

Notable alumni[edit]

Former Head Teachers[edit]

  • William Cox (1954-date unknown)
  • Roger Mason (dates unknown)
  • Mrs Sellers (date unknown-1988)
  • Richard Nosowski (1988-2006)
  • Julian Baldwin (2006–2016)


  1. ^ "Backwell School" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Planning committee meeting minutes". North Somerset Council. 11 November 2001. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2007.
  3. ^ "Designing Britain — Schools". Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Backwell School". Education League Tables. BBC News Education. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Secondary schools in North Somerset". BBC News. 13 January 2010. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Inspection Report". Ofsted. 20 November 2008. Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  7. ^ Cardwell, Mark (14 September 2015). "Backwell School evacuated as three fire crews tackle blaze". North Somerset Mercury Website. North Somerset Mercury. Archived from the original on 2015-09-27. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  8. ^ Sparling, Helen (30 January 2015). "Radio Station Launched!" (News Update). Backwell School Website. Backwell School. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  9. ^ Angear, Vicky (28 January 2015). "Pupils take over the airwaves" (News Article). North Somerset Times Website. North Somerset Times. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  10. ^ Interview in Venue magazine, 2008

External links[edit]