High Arcal School

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High Arcal School
High arcal school crest.jpg
Motto Wisdom & Service
Established 1961
Type Academy
Headteacher Mrs Joanne Bull
Location High Arcal Drive

West Midlands
Coordinates: 52°32′01″N 2°06′34″W / 52.5336°N 2.1095°W / 52.5336; -2.1095
Local authority Dudley
DfE URN 137705 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1213
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–16
Houses Attingham, Himley, Boscobel, Wightwick
Publication The Arcalian (former grammar school)
Website www.higharcal.co.uk

High Arcal School is a secondary school in the West Midlands of England. It is situated in Dudley and has academy and specialist science college status. It was opened in 1961 as a grammar school and became comprehensive in 1975.

The school is located between the A457 (Tipton Road) and the A459 (Dudley Road) in Woodsetton, to the east of Sedgley.


High Arcal was originally 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 was reorganised to form an 11-16 school. The majority of pupils enrolling at High Arcal are former pupils at 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.


The school opened in September 1961 as a grammar school to serve the urban districts of Sedgley and Coseley. Its age range was altered to 12-18 from September 1972, and its status changed from a grammar school to a comprehensive in September 1975.

The school's sixth form 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. Since then, places at the school have been obtainable to 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 consequently become a popular choice for children living in Tipton, particularly in the Tipton Green area.

The school's first Headteacher was Mr Laurence Ardern. He was succeeded by Mr John Gerrish who was in the post until retirement in December 1992. The school's current head teacher is Mrs Jo Manson, who took the position in August 2006 following the resignation of Mr Jeffrey Williams.[1]

A highlight of the school's recent rise in fortunes came in 2006, when High Arcal came seventh out of the Dudley borough's 22 schools in the GCSE results league tables. Its rising standards have attracted a growing number of pupils from areas which previously attracted a much lower intake. The school's GCSE results are at the England average.

  • September 1961 - High Arcal Grammar School is opened to serve as the first grammar school for the Sedgley and Coseley areas. Education is provided for pupils aged 11 to 18 years.
  • April 1966 - Control of High Arcal Grammar School passes to Dudley Council due to Sedgley Urban District Council being absorbed into Dudley.
  • September 1972 - As with other schools in the County Borough of Dudley, the starting age for pupils at High Arcal is increased from 11 to 12 years.
  • June 1975 - Founding head teacher Mr Laurence Ardern retires after 14 years at the school.
  • September 1975 - High Arcal Grammar School becomes The High Arcal School due to a transition to Comprehensive status.
  • July 1990 - High Arcal's Sixth Form centre closes after 29 years.
  • September 1990 - High Arcal re-opens to 11-year-olds as part of a local education reorganisation.
  • December 1992 - Head teacher Mr John Gerrish retires after 17 years.
  • January 1993 - Mr Jeffrey Williams, a former teacher at the school, returns to take on the role of head teacher.
  • September 2002 - Sixth form facilities return to High Arcal for the first time in more than a decade, with a new sixth form being opened at the school by Dudley College.
  • August 2006 - Mr Jeffrey Williams resigns as headteacher after nearly 14 years. His successor is Mrs Jo Manson, previously a deputy head at the school.
  • August 2007 - Pupil Stephanie Faulkner, aged 14, dies after suffering an allergic reaction to a curry at a Tipton restaurant.
  • February 2008 - Founding head teacher Mr Laurence Ardern dies in Oldham, Greater Manchester, at the age of 89.
  • 2014 - After the school received an Ofsted report in 2014 which stated some major departments in the school needed improving it was put into 'special measures'. The school appealed this report and further details have yet to be released.[citation needed]
  • 2015 - Due to the final inspection from Ofsted, the High Arcal School had received a 'good' rating. This is a remarkable improvement for the school, since it is a rarity that Ofsted change a school's rating from 'special measures' straight to 'good'.
  • April 2016 - After 10 years in the role of headmistress, Mrs. Jo Manson made the decision to leave the High Arcal School in April (Easter Term Break). Mrs. Jo Bull who has previously been a deputy teacher, and headteacher at the school replaced her as headteacher.
  • Throughout 2016 - The High Arcal School is one of the most likely schools within the Dudley borough to have many Coseley School students to join. Although, only years 7 to 9 will see new pupils join (Year 10 and students of Coseley will stay for their final school year), High Arcal School will most likely see an increase of year 6's from the Coseley area request to join the school too.


The school population is divided into a house system, currently consisting of four houses named after local stately homes. The students in each house therefore have a 'Head of House', 'Deputy Head of House' and a 'House Learning Mentor'. Each student within the four houses has a right to be able to talk comfortably to any of the said House leaders about concerns of school life, or any other subjects.

The original house names were named after local landmarks Abbey, Beacon, (Sedgley Beacon,) Castle (Dudley Castle) and Priory (Dudley Priory) .The 1970s saw the houses renamed to reflect local hills: Clee (Clee hills), Malvern ( Malvern Hills Worcestershire), Wenlock, (Wenlock Edge) and Wrekin (The Wrekin Shropshire). They were changed again in the 1990s to the current names:

The houses participate in both physical and academic competitions, competing in sports such as cricket, football and rugby.

Subjects Taught at High Arcal School[edit]

The school offers such a wide range of subjects. This is due to a huge amount of teachers and staff who work at the High Arcal School. Years 7 and 8 must learn all KS3 subjects. When a student is in year 8, they must choose what subjects they would like to learn for their GCSE qualification - some subjects of which, are not taught within the KS3 curriculum at High Arcal. Furthermore, KS4 (GCSE) students must learn the compulsory 'core subjects', as well as having one lesson of Physical Education each week - they can choose to do further P.E. as a GCSE qualification. Moreover, it is compulsory for GCSE students to do 'Triple Science' - it used to be an option subject.

The core subjects are as follows:






·P.E. (Physical Education)

The KS3 curriculum subjects are as follows:

·Art ·Design and Technology (Food, Construction, Engineering, Product Design, Resistant Materials)






·IT and Computing


·PEARS (Philosophy Ethics And Religious Studies)


The KS4 GCSE curriculum subjects are as follows:


·Business Studies

·BTEC Sport

·Child Development

.Computer Science






·GCSE P.E. (Physical Education)



·Health and Social Education


·IT and Computing


·PEARS (Philosophy Ethics And Religious Studies)

·Product Design

·Resistant Materials


Stephanie Faulkner[edit]

The school suffered a loss in August 2007 when 14-year-old pupil Stephanie Faulkner died from an anaphylactic shock caused by a nut allergy at a restaurant in nearby Tipton.[2] A series of fundraising events subsequently took place at the school to fund a memorial garden.[citation needed]



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