Meridian School, Royston
|Motto||A Bonis Ad Meliora - "From Good to Better"|
|DfE URN||117539 Tables|
|Houses||Apollo, Gandhi, Mandela, Nightingale|
|Publication||On the Line|
The Meridian School is a secondary school and sixth form located in Royston, Hertfordshire, England. It is an academy, and has approximately 474 registered students, including 80 in the sixth form. The school features an all-weather pitch which is used by the school, the community and the local football team. The Pavilion provides indoor changing facilities and access to the tennis courts.
The Meridian School first opened as Royston’s upper school in 1969. The opening ceremony was attended by the then Minister for Education, Sir Edward Boyle, and the town’s MP, Shirley Williams, who was herself later appointed Secretary of State for Education.
A new all-weather pitch was added to the School’s facilities in 2009. The cost of the pitch, approximately £700,000, came from the Johnson Matthey Sports and Social Club, the Brian Leslie Racher 2004 Charitable Trust, and other sources. The official opening ceremony was performed by former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, English football's most-capped player, in September 2009. Speaking at the event, Royston MP Oliver Heald noted: "The facilities in Royston have been transformed in recent years and our sport is now well catered for. Peter Shilton spoke of the huge improvement in the quality of all-weather surfaces, since the early days when as a goalie he had to dress up with Michelin Man-style padding […]. It was so kind of Peter to keep the fixture on the same day as Sir Bobby Robson's Memorial at Durham Cathedral".
In November 2011, the Meridian School joined with Royston’s two middle schools, Greneway and Roysia, to form the Royston Schools Academy Trust, Hertfordshire’s first multi-school academy. The move gained the new body additional funding and greater freedom from the control of Hertfordshire County Council, allowing greater flexibility in terms of its members’ curriculums.
In 2012, Maths teacher Paul Bushell died suddenly from a brain tumour at the age of 42. The following year, five of his former teaching colleagues at the school joined one of his other friends to undertake a sponsored 100km walk from London to Brighton. The walk raised £3,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity.
In October 2013, Ofsted published a report which found that the school "requires improvement". Head teacher Michael Firth called the report "flawed" and appealed against its findings, saying, "86% of the lessons were graded as being good or outstanding. But now we have heard that teaching requires improvement". In March 2014, the school’s complaint was upheld and the Ofsted inspection was ruled to have been "mismanaged and mal-administered". The head teacher said, "It’s a brave school that takes on Ofsted, some people said we should just leave it but we have got to have confidence in the system. It’s great news for the town, all students from 13-18 require a good school in Royston and we are it. If we are not doing a good job the town suffers. We do think there is an issue with spelling, punctuation and grammar but we are having a jolly good go at improving it."
It was announced in December 2013 that from the following September the School would be running a new Football Education Programme which would offer both BTEC Level 3 Sport Course and NVQ Level 2 Activity Leadership qualifications in conjunction with local football team Royston Town F.C. From its beginnings, the initiative, in which Meridian School’s sixth form students coached pupils from Years 7 and 8 at Roysia Middle School, proved successful and Roysia indicated that it would be happy to extend the scheme to its Year 5 and 6 students.
A major building programme began in the summer of 2014. Roofing and window walling was replaced and the dining hall and learning centre were refurbished. The £2m renovations were funded by the Education Funding Agency.
In February 2015, the results of an Ofsted re-inspection were announced in which the schools’ regulator rated Meridian as 'good' overall, adding that the sixth form had an 'outstanding culture of aspiration throughout most classes' and that the teaching of reading, literacy and mathematics was 'often outstanding'.
The Meridian School’s first Principal was Peter Stone, who held the post until 1983. He was replaced by Graham Kingsley, who served the school between 1984 and 1994. The current head of the school is Michael Firth. In May 2016, Firth formally announced that he would be retiring in July after 37 years at the school; he had first joined Meridian as a geography teacher in 1979.
Awards and achievements
In June 2007, Arts Council England awarded Meridian School its Artsmark Silver award. The award is a national arts award for schools that “demonstrate a commitment to developing their arts provision in subjects across the curriculum”. The school was ineligible for the Artsmark Gold award, because it does not have Year 7 and 8 pupils.
In 2009, Meridian School was one of only 30 nationally to be awarded the Economics, Business, and Enterprise Association quality mark. In the same year, the school also received ICT Mark accreditation from Becta, the government-funded body which at that time had responsibility for promoting the use of ICT in schools and colleges nationally.
In 2010, five Meridian School A-level Chemistry students entered the Royal Society of Chemistry‘s International Chemistry Olympiad, with one winning a Gold Certificate and prize and the others receiving Commendation Certificates.
In 2012, a team of nine Meridian School students won second place in the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) Small Ships sailing race held at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Notable former students and staff
Notable former students of the Meridian School include:
- Alison Balsom, an award-winning trumpet player.
- Robin Belfield, former National Theatre Staff Director.
- Carrie Grant, voice coach and BBC television presenter associated with Fame Academy and The One Show.
- Simon King, who joined the Met Office as a weather forecaster and later became a BBC Weather presenter. In November 2008, he told Royston’s local newspaper, The Royston Crow, "I got interested in the weather when I was about 11 or 12 when I was at Roysia. We did a project on the weather and went out onto the field with all the instruments, and my interest grew from there. I was always very focussed on becoming a weatherman, so when I went on to Meridian School I concentrated on maths and science with a view to getting into university".
- Chris Tidey, a swimmer who represented Great Britain in international competitions and has coached Velimir Stjepanović and Irakli Bolkvadze.
Notable former teachers include:
- Emma Roskilly, a former Meridian School teacher, was awarded the 2008 National Drama Festivals Association's George Taylor Memorial Award for her play Oswiecim.
Past school productions (most recent first) include student performances of:
- Les Miserables (2015)
- Phantom of the Opera
- Beauty and the Beast
- Anything Goes
- Fiddler on the roof
- Little Shop of Horrors
- City of Angels
- Les Miserables (2007)
- Swing into Summer
- The Crucible
- Radomsky, David; Gregory, Anne; Podmore, Angela (25 February 2015), School report: Meridian School, Garden Walk, Royston, SG8 7JH - Inspection dates: 28–29 January 2015 (PDF), Ofsted, p. 9, retrieved 30 September 2015
- "Three heads better than one at school reunion". The Royston Crow. 20 July 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Foskett, Ewan (12 January 2012). "Baroness Shirley Williams honours Meridian students". The Royston Crow. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Peter Shilton: Biography". The FA.com. The Football Association. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "England star Peter pitches in". The Royston Crow. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Foskett, Ewan (3 November 2011). "Royston schools transform into county’s first multi academy". The Royston Crow. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Gooding, Matthew (28 June 2013). "Friends walk in memory of Royston teacher". The Royston Crow. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Headteacher of Meridian School slams Ofsted for ‘flawed’ inspection". Cambridge News. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- "Royston school’s complaint over its ‘shambolic’ Ofsted inspection upheld". Cambridge News. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Edwards, Michael (9 December 2013). "Royston Town and Meridian School form football programme". The Royston Crow. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Beyeler, Marc (15 November 2014). "Meridian Sixth Form students coach Roysia schoolchildren to help with BTEC Sport courses". Cambridge News. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Gooding, Matthew (15 July 2014). "Building project will give the Meridian School in Royston “a new lease of life”". The Royston Crow. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Scott, James (26 February 2015). "Staff and students at Royston school jumping for joy after improved Ofsted rating". The Royston Crow. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Day, Rebecca (12 May 2016). "Farewell as Royston headteacher retires after 37 year stint at school". The Royston Crow. p. 7. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- "National award for arts students". The Royston Crow. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "School means business". The Royston Crow. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "ICT mark of quality for Meridian School". The Royston Crow. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Chemistry student is top of the class". The Royston Crow. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Gooding, Matthew (30 October 2012). "Students set sail for second place finish". The Royston Crow. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Walker, Ella E. (2 October 2014). "Alison Balsom: "I’m pushing the envelope in terms of: is this even classical?"". Cambridge News. Cambridge. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
- "Teenagers to get in on the act at Arts Festival". The Royston Crow. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Day, Rebecca (28 January 2016). "Arts centre plan gets backing from famous Royston names". The Royston Crow. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
- "Simon's dream job as weatherman". The Royston Crow. 16 November 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "International star gives master class to Greneway swimmers". The Royston Crow. 10 July 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Cameron, Neil (20 July 2011). "Dubai club pooling world's young but strong Olympic swimming hopes". The National. Abu Dhabi. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "School play wins top drama award". The Royston Crow. 28 June 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Monty Python humour brought to packed-out Royston audiences with school production of Spamalot". The Royston Crow. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Scott, James (1 December 2013). "Students star in Phantom of the Opera show". The Royston Crow. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Gooding, Matthew (15 November 2012). "School serving up a Beauty of a show". The Royston Crow. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Classic musical Hairspray being performed at Royston school". The Royston Crow. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Happy horrors!". The Royston Crow. 6 November 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Review of the year – Production". The Royston Crow. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "It’s showtime as pupils display their star quality". The Royston Crow. 27 July 2006. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Memory masters prepare to entertain". The Royston Crow. 23 March 2006. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- The Meridian School official website