Charters School

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Charters School
Established 23 April 1958
Type Academy
Co-Headteachers Martyn Parker and Richard Pilgrim
Location Charters Road

DfE number 868/4029
DfE URN 138823 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses Nightingale, Churchill, Pankhurst & Armstrong
Colours Yellow (Nightingale), Green (Churchill), Blue (Armstrong) and Red (Pankhurst)>
Website Charters' Website

Charters School is a secondary school and sixth form with academy status located in Sunningdale, Berkshire. In December 2006 and December 2009 it was graded 1 outstanding by OFSTED.

Charters School is the highest performing state secondary school in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and nationally achieving a Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4 value added score of 1026.6 in 2013 making it at the 11th percentile nationally.

The school’s motto is ‘Unity, Respect, Excellence’. This reflects a consistent ethos based on warm, supportive relationships amongst all members of the school community and a desire to provide students with a range of opportunities so that whatever their background, interests and aptitudes, they are able to achieve their personal best.

Prior to the co-headship, the school has had four headteachers: The first was John Waddleton (1958 – 1976). Then Paul Buet (1976 – 1988), Barry Mitchell (1988 – 1997) and Dame Marcia Twelftree (1997 – 2009).

Following Dame Marcia Twelftree’s retirement in 2009, the governors appointed the existing deputy headteachers as Co-Headteachers: Martyn Parker and Richard Pilgrim.

This is an innovative leadership model that emphasises the importance of clear leadership based on teamwork and a sense of common purpose. Although the Co-Headship was highly unusual in 2009 the model has, subsequently, been adopted by several other schools including schools local to Charters; and the model is attracting further attention following an article written by Martyn Parker and Richard Pilgrim about co-headship published in SSAT’s Leading Edge magazine (Issue 09 Winter 14).

Charters School got its name because it was built on part of the grounds of a house by that name, formerly the home of Montague Burton, of tailoring fame.

The origins of the school badge came from the opening day of the school. The school opened on St. George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday. The red cross of the school badge comes from the cross of St. George, the dagger symbolises Shakespeare and the stag is the symbol of Berkshire. The badge itself was to reflect courtesy, compassion, chivalry and scholarship.

Queen Elizabeth made an informal visit to Charters School on 4 April 1962. During her visit, the Queen saw diverse lessons, from recorder playing to hammer forging, from a comptometer-operating class to woodwork and metalwork. A boys’ handicraft class was also on the agenda.

By 1965 the population of Bracknell, Windsor and Ascot was on the increase and intense discussions were under way as to the future of secondary education in the area. A decision was eventually made to develop Charters into an eight form entry comprehensive school taking all children from the area from the age of 11-18 and by 1969 plans were under way for proposed extensions to cope with the massive increase in school numbers.

In 1970, a Forestry Commission house set in the Brecon Beacons in Wales was bought by three Berkshire schools as a field study and outdoor pursuit centre – Tirabad! After much renovation to convert it for its new purpose, it was officially opened on 29 September 1971. The centre now operates as an independent trust with the three founder schools’ headteachers as trustees. Students from Charters, Emmbrook and Maiden Erlegh as well as other local schools enjoy week-long courses developing skills and personal attributes such as empathy, resilience, initiative and organisation. Tirabad is one of the jewels in the schools’ crown.

1972 saw extensive alterations to the school with the addition of 10 science laboratories, a games hall, drama hall and arts, crafts and home economics centres being built. By 1977, a growing Charters School faced severe over-crowding to the extent that nine classes were regularly being taught in corridors, the dining room or the two halls!

1979 saw Charters celebrate its 21st birthday and in 1983, its Silver Jubilee. To mark the occasion, a huge cake in the shape of the school crest was made.

In 1981 a decision was made to make Charters School a centre for physically disabled pupils. The school undertook a series of modifications, which included two lifts, a medical room, and home base for these pupils as well as access ramps around the school. The school opened its doors to the first physically disabled students in September 1983. In 1985 the sports facilities were expanded to make Charters School the focus of the area's recreational, social and community activities.

The school continued to grow and in September 1992 a new purpose built Library and Resource Centre was opened. More modular classrooms were also added. Refurbishment of the Humanities Buildings and the completion of new Sixth Form accommodation allowed numbers of the school to grow to nearly 1700. Further expansion is planned to address the demographic changes in the local community in the next few years.

Charters is no stranger to high profile visits after its auspicious royal guest in 1962. The Princess Royal visited the school in 1997 to present the Headteacher with a ‘School Curriculum Award’; Prince Andrew was the guest speaker at the Annual Prize Giving event in 2001; and the Duke of Kent visited the school in 2008 to commemorate Charters’ 50th Anniversary.


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