Morpeth School

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Morpeth School
Morpeth school logo.png
Established 1910
Type Community school
Headteacher Jemima Riley
Location Portman Place
E2 0PX
51°31′36″N 0°02′51″W / 51.5266°N 0.0476°W / 51.5266; -0.0476Coordinates: 51°31′36″N 0°02′51″W / 51.5266°N 0.0476°W / 51.5266; -0.0476
Local authority Tower Hamlets
DfE URN 100967 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Staff 100 teaching; 90 support
Students c. 1166
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–16
Houses 1
Colours Light and dark blue
Website Morpeth School

Morpeth Secondary School is a secondary school in situated in Bethnal Green with nearly 1200 pupils.

The current headteacher is Jemima Reilly.

Morpeth's students come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds; over half are from Bangladeshi backgrounds, one-third are white British, while the remaining are from other backgrounds.[1]

In 2009 Ofsted highlighted Morpeth as one of 12 outstanding schools serving disadvantaged communities.[2]

Morpeth specialises in the Arts and Music, but has also gained some fame in junior table tennis, and offers a wide range of extracurricular activities. Its new Performing Arts building opened in October 2007 and was officially opened by the British film director and producer (and former Morpeth parent), Danny Boyle in May 2008.


The ex-headteacher of the school, Alasdair Uist Macdonald, was knighted in the 2007 New Year Honours for services to education, with his extensive work on improving the school, by improving teaching skills and achievements by pupils in their SATs and GCSEs results.[3] Under his tenure the school underwent a renaissance; after his arrival Morpeth's results at Key Stages Three and Four improved substantially, a notable example being the 76% A-C GCSE pass rate at the end of the 2006 school year.


Special guests who have visited Morpeth School have included Tony Blair the British Prime Minister who visited the school during his first month in office. In 2001 the Queen also visited the school. Other guests include the Rt. Hon David Blunkett MP (Education Secretary at the time) who opened the school library. Sir Trevor McDonald opened the 'Portman' building in 1995.

More recently on 18 July 2007, within his first two weeks in power, the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid a surprise visit to Morpeth School with the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, MP, attending the first meeting of the new National Council for Educational Excellence. The Council was set up in early July to drive forward the Government's long-term aspirations for children and young people's education.

On 12 June 2008, Morpeth School played host to the Film Club launch. Many prestigious guests turned up to the event, including Emma Thompson and Jason Isaacs. On 19 October 2010, Morpeth School welcomed Ian McKellen who talked about homophobia.

Celebrities that have attended Morpeth School include Cheryl Baker from Bucks Fizz and Dean Rowland from the Sky 1 TV show 'Pineapple Dance Studios'.

Sixth Form[edit]

Morpeth provides a Sixth Form in many subject areas; it opened in September 2009 and used to be in a three-way partnership between Morpeth, Oaklands and Swanlea. The main building is on Cambridge Heath Road, but there are other campuses, including the Wessex Centre at Morpeth.


Morpeth School offers a wide variety of projects and trips for its students. Through Years 10 and 11, a select group of pupils take part in a space project, in which they get to visit universities and space museums. At the end, a few get the chance to go to America and visit NASA. There is also another project run by The Timberland Company, in which pupils get an insight into the world of retail and how the company helps the environment - there is also a day trip to Paris for all of those involved.

In Year 8, as part of the curriculum, pupils get to take part in two Year 8 Projects. Once a fortnight, pupils spend three hours on a project of their choice, which are: Rock Factory (Music), Cine Club (Film making), Sports & Leadership (PE), Space Cadets (Science), Arsenal Double Club (Spanish/football) and Living World (ICT).

Notable former teachers[edit]

The baritone and opera singer, Benjamin Luxon CBE, taught PE and English at Morpeth prior to the start of his singing career in 1962.

Notable former pupils[edit]

Notable alumni of Morpeth School include Doctor Derek Plumb, an authority on the Lollards and the English Reformation, Cheryl Baker, of Bucks Fizz, and Stephen Bush, a journalist at the New Statesman, and in recent times Ashley Facey Thompson, a paralympian who took part in the Rio 2016 Summer Paralympics, and Robyn Regan, a musical artist.

Ethnic groups[edit]

Morpeth School is located in a part of the East End where there are high numbers of people from many different backgrounds and cultures. Approximately half of all pupils have Bangladeshi heritage, about one third are white British and the remaining pupils are from a wide range of other minority ethnic backgrounds. The number of pupils who speak English as an additional language is quite high. The Ofsted report of 2004, based on the annual school census, showed 50% enrolled were Bangladeshi, 32% White, and 9% Afro Caribbean & mixed race.[4]


The school teaches both French and Spanish in Year 7 while in Year 8 talented students will continue learning both languages and people who don't will only learn one subject.

The Bengali department is always developing new materials for use at all levels in Bengali. Available to pupils from Year 8 to Year 9, or for GCSE. The subject is mainly chosen by Bangladeshi pupils, who mainly speak the Sylheti dialect.[5]

The syllabus is based on the examination board of Edexcel. Pupils will study the introduction to Business, based on marketing issues, and communications of software. Pupils are assessed on their examinations on line, and by coursework.

Courses and work based on Food, Textiles, Graphics and Resistant Materials.

The drama departments use basic studios with lighting and sounds. Currently it has transferred into a Performing Arts building, with more facilities available. At Key Stage 3, pupils are assessed and graded using the National Curriculum level descriptors as highlighted in the Arts Council's Drama in Schools publication. For GCSE 100 spaces are only available for pupils. The departments visits many workshops and trips for pupils.

Morpeth's music department has been extremely busy over the past few years. Most years, the Concert Band and the choir have been on overseas tours to Paris and Madrid and in February 2008, went to Liverpool. Upcoming trips include Iceland, China and New York. The department, run by Peter Romhany, has 3 well-equipped classrooms, a computer suite, practice rooms and a recording studio that offers pupils access to a range of high-tech facilities that furthers their understanding and creativity. As part of an annual Globetown Project, Morpeth performs at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. They have also performed in other prestigious venues such as the Barbican and Claridge's. In May 2008, the music department turned the theatre, in the Performing Arts building, into a jazz club and hosted a jazz concert, joined by the John Bennett Band.

This subject is offered to pupils when starting their GCSEs in Year 10 and 11. The department has a dark room, for printing purposes of photographs, and with all necessary equipment needed for developing films and printing.

At KS3 explorers through all religions, then at GCSE first year views Christianity and Islam. And optional second year for Islam, Religion and Society or Christianity.

Currently for GCSE it has taken a new course called Twenty First Century Science since 2007.



Percentage of Pupils achieving the Level 2 threshold - equivalent to five GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and maths. In comparison with the Local Authority Average and the National Average:[6]

Year Morpeth +/- Local
2004 33% ~ 28% 42.6%
2005 41% +8 30.2% 44.3%
2006 48% +7 33.5% 45.3%
2007 47% -1 36.3% 46%
2008 54% +7

Percentage of pupils achieving A*-C grades in GCSE since 1997. The year 1998 recorded the lowest achievement with only 29% pass-rate, and the year 2006 with the highest at 76% - a gain of 47%.[7]

Year A*-C
1997 40%
1998 29%
1999 32%
2000 33%
2001 50%
2002 54%
2003 47%
2004 44%
2005 69%
2006 76%
2007 75%
2008 66%

Key Stage 3[edit]

Percentage of pupils who achieved at the National Average level or above, from 2002:

2008 77% 71% 69%
Year English Mathematics Science
2002 42% 49% 41%
2003 42% 58% 46%
2004 54% 60% 44%
2005 77% 66% 53%
2006 78% 72% 63%
2007 69% 66% 57%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morpeth School - Inspection Report, Ofsted. 21 November 2007.
  2. ^ Twelve outstanding secondary schools - Excelling against the odds Archived 28 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Ofsted, 24 February 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  3. ^ Head teacher and sweeper honoured BBC News.
  4. ^ Ofsted Report 2004
  5. ^ Sylheti Bengali Archived 17 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Hampshire Schools. Retrieved on 2009-05-23.
  6. ^ Secondary Schools in Tower Hamlets - BBC
  7. ^ Schoolsnet - Morpeth School Tower Hamlets