High Arcal School
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|Motto||Wisdom & Service|
|Headteacher||Mrs J Bull|
High Arcal Drive|
|DfE URN||137705 Tables|
|Houses||Attingham, Himley, Boscobel, Wightwick|
|Publication||The Arcalian (former grammar school)|
|Website||The High Arcal School|
The High Arcal School is a secondary school in Dudley in the West Midlands of England. It has academy and specialist science college status. It was opened in 1961 as a grammar school and became comprehensive in 1975.
High Arcal was opened as a grammar school for 11- to 18-year-olds in the Sedgley and Coseley areas who had passed the 11-plus examination, but is now a comprehensive school. After nearly two decades serving the 12–18 age range, it is once more an 11–16 school. The school draws most of its pupils from Bramford Primary School, Foxyards Primary School, Hurst Hill Primary School and Cotwall End Primary School. Sycamore Green Primary School was also a feeder school until its closure in 2006. High Arcal has also been a popular school for former Tipton Green Junior School pupils since 1990.
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The large growth of Sedgley and Coseley urban districts during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s saw rising demand for school places in the borough, resulting in Dormston Secondary Modern School being built during the 1930s, along with several primary schools for younger pupils. By the 1950s, Sedgley Urban District Council was planning to build a grammar school within its boundaries to serve the two urban districts; work was underway by 1960, and High Arcal Grammar School opened in September 1961. In April 1966, control of the school passed to Dudley Council as a result of the absorption of Sedgley Urban District into Dudley.
As with other schools in the Dudley, the school's age range was altered to 12–18 from September 1972. In September 1975 it became a comprehensive school, and was renamed The High Arcal School. Its Sixth Form centre closed in July 1990 as part of further reorganisation by Dudley Council, and from September of that year the age range was altered to 11–16. This has meant that High Arcal is an option for pupils living in Tipton (just beyond Dudley's boundary in Sandwell, where the secondary transfer age has always been 11 years), and the school has become a popular choice particularly in the Tipton Green area.
In September 2002 a new Sixth Form was opened at the school by Dudley College. In 2006 High Arcal came seventh out of the Dudley borough's 22 schools in the GCSE results league tables. In 2014, the school received an Ofsted report which stated that some major departments needed improving, and it was put into 'special measures'. The school appealed the report, and after the final Ofsted inspection in 2015 it received a 'good' rating, a rare degree of improvement in one year.
Starting in September 2017, the school is associated with Castle High School, Hillcrest School and Community College and Holly Hall Academy in the Dudley Academies Trust, sponsored by Dudley College.
The first headteacher of High Arcal was Laurence Ardern. At his retirement in June 1975 he was succeeded by John Gerrish, who in turn retired in December 1992. Jeffrey Williams, a former teacher at the school, then returned to become head teacher; he resigned in August 2006 after being convicted of kerb-crawling and was succeeded by Jo Manson, previously a deputy head. Since her retirement in April 2016 the head teacher has been Jo Bull, who had also previously been deputy head.
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The school population is divided into a house system, currently consisting of four houses named after local stately homes. The houses participate in both physical and academic competitions, competing in sports such as cricket, football and rugby. The students in each house have a 'Head of House' and a 'Student Support Manager', and have the right to talk with House leaders about concerns of school life or any other subjects.
Notable former pupils
- Lorely Burt MP, Liberal Democrat politician (attended High Arcal 1966 – 1971)
- Andrew Griffiths MP, Conservative politician
- Chris Wood, diplomat (attended High Arcal 1970 – 1977)
- "New £60m academy trust to be launched across Dudley". Express & Star. 6 February 2017.
- Neil Connor (31 July 2006). "Education Matters: Kerb-crawling head quits". Birmingham Post and Mail – via The Free Library.
- "Any Questions hosted by High Arcal School". Express & Star. 10 December 2011.
The High Arcal School is now under the control of the Dudley Academies Trust, with Jo Higgins as the CEO. While Mrs J Bull remains Headteacher at the school, the CEO has the power to make structural changes to the operation of the school, to the staff employed (making descions such as sackings and hirings).
The High Arcal School, along with the other DAT schools is undergoing a name change in September 2018. The High Arcal School, from this date, be known as "Beacon Hill Academy". It will still remain under the control of the DAT.