Kennet School

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Kennet School
The shield of Kennet School
Established 1957
Type Academy
Headmaster Paul Gerard Dick BA OBE JP DL
Location Stoney Lane
RG19 4LL
Coordinates: 51°24′05″N 1°14′55″W / 51.4015°N 1.2487°W / 51.4015; -1.2487
DfE URN 136647 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff 121
Students 1,790
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses 4
Colours Navy blue and gold
Publication Kennet News (1975–1990)
Kennet Chronicle (2002–2004)

Kennet School is an academy secondary school in Thatcham, Berkshire, England. In 2011, Kennet was the highest achieving state school in West Berkshire using contextual value added results and third-highest using five good GCSEs.[1] The school has an annual income of just over £8.9 million and spends roughly £5,000 per student per year.[2]

The school opened on 11 September 1957 as a secondary modern, before converting into a comprehensive in 1971[3] and finally changing to an academy on 1 April 2011.[4] The school has 1,755 pupils on roll in years 7 to 11, 300[5] pupils attending sixth form (years 12 and 13) with 121 teachers and 78 non-teaching staff. The headmaster is Paul Gerard Dick OBE[6][7] JP[8] DL.[9]

Kennet is one of few schools in England to have three specialisms: in September 2000 the school was given Technology College status. In February 2002 a new technology block was built on the north of the site to replace dispersed classrooms. In March 2005 the school received Arts College status[10] Most recently in April 2006 it was awarded the status of Language College.[10][11]


Kennet was awarded the Artsmark Gold by the Arts Council England in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010. and 2013[12] It was also awarded the Sportsmark by Sport England in 2001.[13] The school was also awarded the Challenge Award by National Association for Able Children in Education on 22 November 2006 and was re-accredited on 11 November 2010 as recognition for its efforts to support Able, Gifted and Talented students.[14] Kennet was only the 16th school in the country to receive the award at the time.

Teaching awards[edit]

The headmaster, Paul Gerard Dick, was appointed an OBE for Services to Education in the 2000 New Year Honours.[6] Paul Dick was also the Category Winner in 2001 in The Leadership Trust Award for School Leadership in a Secondary School in South of England.[15][16]

Members of staff receiving teaching awards:

  • Martyn Greenway, 2003 Distinction Award, The Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School in the South of England[17]
  • Juli Morgan-Russell, 2003 Category Winner, The Guardian Award for Outstanding New Teacher in the South of England[18]
  • Sandra Baron, 2004 Category Winner, The Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year in South of England[19]
  • David Wootton, 2006 Commendation Award, The DfES Award for Governor of the Year in South of England[20]
  • Lisa Manning, 2009 Commendation Award, The Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School in the South of England[21]
  • Dave Cath, 2012 Distinction Awards, Pearson Teaching Awards[22]

Sixth form[edit]

The sixth form block under construction

There is a sixth form at Kennet for students who wish to continue their education after the age of 16. The students have their own block that was constructed for the start of the 2007 academic year, which consists of a common area, where the sixth formers can socialise, a computer suite and the sixth form offices. There is also a section of the library provided for sixth form use only. There is no set uniform; instead a dress code is set. Boys must wear a shirt and tie, and girls must dress in smart office wear.[23] The European Computer Driving Licence qualification can be studied with any sixth form course. Some sixth formers are appointed house captains after an application and selection process by the heads of houses. The captains organise teams for inter-house sports, music, debating, drama and art competitions.

Position Staff
Head of Sixth Form Dr S West[24]
Head of Year 12 Mr A Wood
Head of Year 13 Mrs MJ Gibson

Extracurricular activities[edit]


When students join the school they become a member of a house. The house system provides a structure for pastoral care and competition through sports (including amongst others rugby, netball athletics, football hockey), music, drama and day-to-day studies through the award of house points and commendations. Each house is overseen by a Head of House and their Deputy who co-ordinate the appointment of vice-prefects, prefects, house captains and strive to encourage their students to deliver their best.

There are four houses at the school: Saint Patrick, Saint Michael, Saint Francis, and Saint David. Now defunct houses are Saint George and Saint Andrew, which were dissolved in the mid to late 1980s. Each house is associated with a colour as shown in the table below.

House Head of House Deputy Head of House Shield
St. David Robin Ireland Cheree Kelleher Kennet St.David Shield.gif
St. Francis Rachael Jubb Chris Adams Kennet St.Francais Shield.gif
St. Michael Tania Langley Paul Cameron Kennet St.Michael Shield.gif
St. Patrick Owen Joyce K. Barron Kennet St.Patrick Shield.gif

Exchange visits[edit]

Each year the school organises exchanges to France and Germany. The pupils can go to France in year 9 and Germany in year 10. The foreign pupil staying with their exchange partner's family for 7–12 days, then vice versa later on. In 2011, Kennet School celebrated 30 years' twinning with the German school Melibokusschule, in Alsbach-Hähnlein, South Germany.[25]


"Kennet News"[edit]

Kennet News' various logos

The Kennet News school newspaper was first issued in May 1975 at the price of two new pence and ran until the late eighties. Its original slogan was News as it happens – and sometimes before it happens!. It reported the departure of George Hurford[26] and the arrival of Terrence Enright[27] in 1978 and later the arrival[28] and departure[29] of Dr. Nicholas Wheeler-Robinson. The main editor was Mr. Wilkinson aided by students. Introductions were occasionally written by the headmasters and Keith Iles wrote a column 'Round the Iles'.

Charity work[edit]

Each house chooses its own charity to support, and throughout the year each tutor group fundraises towards their house's target amount of money. For example, one of Saint Michael house's chosen charity was the Rwanda appeal. The senior staff sometimes plan one-off events, such as the Kennet (World) Cup to raise money for charity. This was a football event that occurred on 19 June 2006 in aid of the Bobby Moore Cancer Appeal. The event was designed to coincide with the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

School Council[edit]

  • Every tutor group has 2(boy&girl)elected members to the school council. The meetings are every half term and are held in the school library at 2pm.
  • The meetings are chaired by the Assistant Head who passes on the points to other members of senior staff.
(Was Mr R Staton but he left)


In 2005 the school was criticised in the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) report for lacking 'a daily act of collective worship'[30] and not reporting pupils' ICT progress in years 10 and 11,[30] both of which are statutory requirements. All maintained English schools must provide daily worship that is broadly Christian, although parents can remove their children and sixth formers may decline to attend.[31] Since the school is now an academy (not a maintained school) this requirement does not necessarily apply. The report also found that not all subject department heads have good enough monitoring systems to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

The more recent 2008 reduced tariff report rated the school overall as outstanding. The main recommendations of the report were to improve sixth form teaching including inconsistency in the quality of teaching between subjects and setting more accurately the right standard of work to stretch and develop pupils.[5] The local Member of Parliament, Richard Benyon, has in the past spoken out over shortfalls for the budget towards Kennet School's sixth form which could explain its underperformance in relation to the rest of the school.[32]

The most recent inspection, from 2014, resulted in the school being rated as "Requires Improvement", although the sixth form was noted in the report as being "good".[33]


The school has strict uniform rules that are to be followed on risk of detention. The uniform is as follows, Girls: Navy blue skirt (banner A-line inverted pleat), Pale blue blouse, Navy blue V-necked sweater, with school badge (complete with the colour of their house), Black shoes in a low heel, Navy or white knee socks or navy, black or natural tights, Girls may wear a school tie if they are awarded one for excellent effort towards their house. These ties are full colour ties. Not striped like the boys.

Boys: Navy blue trousers, pale blue shirt, Navy blue V-necked sweater, with school badge (complete with the colour of their house), Black shoes. Striped house tie. And again like the girls, some boys have the privilege to wear a full colour tie if they provide excellent effort towards their house,

Risman Library[edit]

The Risman Library

The Risman Library was opened on 23 September 1997 by Councillor Ann Risman, the Chairman of Berkshire County Council, who was accompanied by Chris Woodhead, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England. The library is designed to be a low energy environment by incorporating high levels of natural light and ventilation.[34] It stocks over 22,000 books,[35] has seating for a vast number of pupils and has a separate Sixth Form study section, which also doubles as a seminar room. The library has 33 workstations and 10 laptop computers which are connected to the network. The current librarians are Mrs. Ledger and Mrs. Rance.


Kennet's headmasters and headmistress, starting from establishment in 1957, are.

Years Name
Kennet Modern School
September 1957 to
December 1960
Ben Howe
January 1961 to
July 1971
George Hurford
Kennet Comprehensive School
September 1971 to
July 1978
George Hurford
September 1978 to
July 1982
Terrence Enright
September 1982 to
December 1982
Keith Iles (acting)
January 1983 to
July 1987
Nicholas Wheeler-Robinson
September 1987 to
December 1988
Keith Iles (acting)
January 1989 to
31 January 2009
Paul Gerard Dick
1 February 2009 to
31 August 2010[36][37]
Paul Gerard Dick (executive)
Susan Croft (associate)[38]
1 December 2010 to
31 March 2011[36][37]
Paul Gerard Dick (executive)
Paul German (associate)[38]
Kennet School (Academy)
1 April 2011 to
3 September 2012[36][37]
Paul Gerard Dick (executive)
Paul German (associate)[38]
4 September 2012 to
Paul Gerard Dick[39]


A graph to show percentage of students achieving 5 grades A*-C at GCSE between 1989 and 2007
Year Students achieving five A*-C grades at GCSE Average point score per student at A-level
2014 74.0%[40] 807.4
2013 68.0%[41] 785.4
2012 76.0%[42] 829.0
2011 69.0%[43] 870.5
2010 77.0%[44] 926.3[45]
2009 72.0%[46] 891.0[47]
2008 68.0%[48] 868.8[49]
2007 72.0%[50] 843.5[51]
2006 71.0%[52] 813.8[53]
2005 71.4%[54] 317.0[55]
2004 70.0%[56] 284.6[57]
2003 59.0%[58] 273.9[59]
2002 66.0%[60] 257.5 (New system)[61]
2001 63.7%[62] 19.3[63]
2000 61.4%[64] 21.1[65]
1999 59.0%[66] 16.4[67]
1998 61.0%[68] 16.3[69]
1997 60.0%[70] 14.9[71]
1996 59.0%[72] 15.2[73]
1995 58.0%[74] 12.7[75]
1994 54.0%[76] 10.9[77]
1993 52.8% No data
1992 47.5% No data
1991 37.7% No data
1990 35.0% No data
1989 28.0% No data

Note:The irregularity in A-level scores is due to changes in the way the points are calculated.

Image gallery[edit]


  1. ^ BBC News – Secondary school league tables in West Berkshire
  2. ^ The Guardian – Secondary school tables
  3. ^ Kennet School prospectus for 2013/4, page 2
  4. ^ Department for Education EduBase
  5. ^ a b Ofsted reduced tariff school inspection report 2008
  6. ^ a b BBC News – For services to education
  7. ^ Newbury Today – Kennet headmaster Paul Dick faces newburytoday's 20 questions
  8. ^ Learning Organisation UK – Paul Dick OBE
  9. ^ London Gazette – Notice 1063370, issue 59354
  10. ^ a b Newbury Today – Kennet awarded third specialism
  11. ^ DCSF specialism listing – Language College (Excel file)
  12. ^ Artsmark master record
  13. ^ March 2005 OFSTED report (page 37, section 118)
  14. ^ NACE – Challenge Award achieving schools
  15. ^ Guardian – Working together
  16. ^ The Teaching Awards 2001 – Mr Paul Dick
  17. ^ The Teaching Awards 2003 – Mr Martyn Greenway
  18. ^ The Teaching Awards 2003 – Mrs Juli Morgan-Russell
  19. ^ The Teaching Awards 2004 – Mrs Sandra Baron
  20. ^ The Teaching Awards 2006 – Mr David Wootton
  21. ^ The Teaching Awards 2009 – Miss Lisa Manning[dead link]
  22. ^ Newbury Today – Kennet School teacher retires with award
  23. ^ Kennet School website – School uniform
  24. ^ "Sixth form Prospectus For 2015" (PDF). 
  25. ^ Newbury Today – Thatcham school celebrates 30-year exchange programme
  26. ^ Kennet News Issue Number 14, 'Best Wishes Mr. Hurford!' – July 1978
  27. ^ Kennet News Issue Number 15, 'Kennet Welcomes Mr. Enright.' – October 1978
  28. ^ Kennet News Issue Number 32, 'Welcome to Our New Headmaster.' – March 1983
  29. ^ Kennet News Issue Number 44, 'The only time I make the front page of the Kennet News is when I am leaving!' – April 1987
  30. ^ a b March 2005 OFSTED report (page 7)
  31. ^ Department for Education – Collective worship
  32. ^ Newbury Today – Benyon speaks out on sixth forms
  33. ^ "School inspection report" (PDF). 2014-03-03. 
  34. ^ SWA Architects- Education Projects
  35. ^ Kennet School prospectus page 11 Archived 7 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ a b c "Another accolade for Kennet School, and some small temporary changes from 1 February 2009"
  37. ^ a b c Newbury Today "Superhead to save troubled Trinity"[dead link]
  38. ^ a b c "Letter from West Berkshire Council December 2008"
  39. ^ Kennet School July 2012 newsletter
  40. ^ DfE performance table 2014
  41. ^ DfE performance table 2013
  42. ^ DfE performance table 2012
  43. ^ DfE performance table 2011
  44. ^ DfE performance table 2010 (GCSE)[dead link]
  45. ^ DfE performance table 2010 (A-level)[dead link]
  46. ^ DfE performance table 2009 (GCSE)[dead link]
  47. ^ DfE performance table 2009 (A-level)[dead link]
  48. ^ DfE performance table 2008 (GCSE)[dead link]
  49. ^ DfE performance table 2008 (A-level)[dead link]
  50. ^ DfE performance table 2007 (GCSE)[dead link]
  51. ^ DfE performance table 2007 (A-level)[dead link]
  52. ^ DfE performance table 2006 (GCSE)[dead link]
  53. ^ DfE performance table 2006 (A-level)[dead link]
  54. ^ DfE performance table 2005 (GCSE)[dead link]
  55. ^ DfE performance table 2005 (A-level)[dead link]
  56. ^ DfE performance table 2004 (GCSE)[dead link]
  57. ^ DfE performance table 2004 (A-level)[dead link]
  58. ^ DfE performance table 2003 (GCSE)[dead link]
  59. ^ DfE performance table 2003 (A-level)[dead link]
  60. ^ DfE performance table 2002 (GCSE)[dead link]
  61. ^ DfE performance table 2002 (A-level)[dead link]
  62. ^ DfE performance table 2001 (GCSE)[dead link]
  63. ^ DfE performance table 2001 (A-level)[dead link]
  64. ^ DfE performance table 2000 (GCSE)[dead link]
  65. ^ DfE performance table 2000 (A-level)[dead link]
  66. ^ DfE performance table 1999 (GCSE)[dead link]
  67. ^ DfE performance table 1999 (A-level) Archived 19 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  68. ^ DfE performance table 1998 (GCSE) Archived 15 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  69. ^ DfE performance table 1998 (A-level)[dead link]
  70. ^ DfE performance table 1997 (GCSE)[dead link]
  71. ^ DfE performance table 1997 (A-level)[dead link]
  72. ^ DfE performance table 1996 (GCSE)[dead link]
  73. ^ DfE performance table 1996 (A-level)[dead link]
  74. ^ DfE performance table 1995 (GCSE)[dead link]
  75. ^ DfE performance table 1995 (A-level)[dead link]
  76. ^ DfE performance table 1994 (GCSE)[dead link]
  77. ^ DfE performance table 1994 (A-level) Archived 23 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]