Wath Comprehensive School
|Motto||Latin: Meliora Spectare
(Look to Better Things)
|Established||September 17, 1923|
|Type||Co-operative trust (foundation) comprehensive school|
|Deputy Headteachers||Rick Powell and Jon Taylor|
|Chair of Governors||Irene Hartley MBE|
|DfE URN||106954 Tables|
|Students||1,917 as of December 2014[update]|
|Houses||Athens, Carthage, Rome, Sparta, Thebes and Troy|
|Colours||Maroon and gold|
|Former names||Wath Secondary School (1923–1931)
Wath-upon-Dearne Grammar School (1931–1974)
The school is a specialist Language College, though it is non-selective. It has approximately 1,900 pupils between the ages of 11 and 18 on roll, including around 400 in the sixth form.
There is also a school council, which contributes to the decisions made by the head and speaks on behalf of all the students in all years.
Although the school has links to a seventeenth century school that existed in Wath, the current institution was founded in 1923 as Wath Secondary School. It was located on Park Road, sitting on the site of what is now Wath Central Primary School. The school was controlled by West Riding County Council.
Wath Secondary School rapidly outgrew its original building, which led to lessons taking place in a number of borrowed locations scattered throughout Wath. To rectify this, the school moved into new, purpose-built accommodation on Sandygate in 1930. The institution became known as Wath-upon-Dearne Grammar School in 1931. The school was expanded with many new buildings and extensions in the early 1950s.
In January 1964, with the scrapping of the eleven-plus exam in the area, the school absorbed the neighbouring Park Road Secondary Modern School, although it was some time before it was designated a comprehensive school in 1972 and renamed Wath Comprehensive School in 1974 (which coincided with the school coming under the control of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council). The secondary modern site became the first year wing of the school. Due to expansion, the school also reoccupied a corner of the Wath Central Primary School site for a period, making a total of three sites. The school was awarded language college status in 2001.
Over time, the school's buildings, on all three sites, aged badly. In its 1997 report on the school, Ofsted described the accommodation as 'quite appalling', 'debilitating' and 'some of the worst working conditions the inspection team has seen'. The Inspectors highlighted 'damp seeping through the walls and ceilings', 'decaying door and window fittings', 'areas of crumbling asphalt and potholes' and 'falling plaster', before going on to conclude:
Floors are bowing and lifting in the IT rooms. In the sixth form common room, which is insufficient for the number of students, roof slates are missing, causing ceilings to collapse during wet weather. The roof also leaks in the girls' changing rooms, where pupils often have to move clothing to keep it from getting wet. Changing accommodation overall is insufficient. Many paths and steps are in a dangerous state of repair. No pupils should be expected to endure such conditions.
The school was rebuilt from 2003 to 2005, under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) initiative. A new building on Sandygate, opened after Easter 2005, now makes up the majority of the school accommodation. Some parts of the school dating back from the 1950s (such as the hall) survive, though none of the older 1930s buildings were retained. The loss of the oldest buildings was not without controversy, particularly the traditional 1930s part of the school which was set around two quadrangles. As a result of the rebuild, the school became single-site for the first time since the 1960s, though some of the school's playing fields are still on the old Park Road site. In 2008, the rebuilding was fully completed with the addition of a public leisure centre, including a swimming pool.
Only ten years after it was built, the school has already outgrown its new building. The school has an official capacity of 1,740 students, but numbers have grown to over 1,900. Despite this, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council refused planning permission for a construction of an overspill building in 2014.
The current coat of arms, worn by the lower school, features a torch and a river, while the older version, worn by the Sixth Form only, includes a miner's axe, a book and the river. The school's motto, featured on both coats of arms, is Meliora Spectare, Latin for 'Look to Better Things'.
The school has its own student newspaper, originally known as The Wathovian, but latterly known as In Touch and, since 2014, The Torch.
The school is notable for its size. It opened with 77 students in 1923, though had 520 students by 1929 (making it the fourth largest school in the West Riding local education authority area). Numbers then grew gradually, though were boosted to around 1,500 in the 1960s due to the closing of Park Road Secondary Modern School. The school expanded again from the late 1970s, particularly boosted by the closure of the nearby Brampton Ellis Comprehensive School in 1985, and eventually reached 1,750 students. Numbers were at this level until as recently as 2007. However, further rises in student numbers (partially the sixth form, which has swelled from 300 to 400 students) have taken the total number of students to over 1,900: 300 students in each of Years 7 to 11, with 200 in each year of the sixth form. As of 2013, the school is the 24th largest in England.
There is quite a disparity between its GCSE and A level results. At GCSE, it gets results equal to the England average. At A level it gets the best results in Rotherham and the 21st best in the Yorkshire and the Humber region and well above the England average. There are also sporting facilities in the school grounds.
Since the commencement of Ofsted inspections in September 1993, the school has undergone five full inspections:
|Date of inspection||Outcome||Reference|
|14–?? February 1994||???|
|3–7 November 1997||Good||Report|
|10–14 February 2003||Good||Report|
|14–15 February 2006||Good||Report|
|5–6 October 2011||Good||Report|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2014)|
- The Rev A T L Greer, September 1923-July 1940 (left to be an Air Force chaplain)
- Dr J Richie, July 1940–???? (died in office)
- Dr C R T Saffell, 1955–August 1972
- Mr A R H Murphy, September 1972–1977
- Mr John Brothwell, 1977–????
- Mr D E Kirby, July 1991–1997
- Mr Robert Godber, 1997–August 2002
- Mr Eric Sampson, September 2002–May 2003 (died in office)
- Mr J Chisolm, May 2003–December 2003 (acting headteacher)
- Mrs Pat Ward, January 2004–present
- Brett Barnett, writer and director of webseries Shadazzle.
- David Bret, international show business biographer
- Kenneth Burton, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Newcastle
- Lucy Clarkson, former Lara Croft model
- Sir Charles Curran, Director-General of the BBC from 1969-77 (1933-1940)
- Prof. E J H Ford, DVSc, FRCVS, FRCPath, Professor of Veterinary Clinical Studies then Clinical Science at the University of Liverpool from 1973-87 (1931-1938)
- Toby Foster, comedian
- Bryan Gray, MBE, Chairman of the Northwest Regional Development Agency from 2002-8 and Pro-Chancellor of Lancaster University 2003- (1964–71)
- Peter Hardy, Baron Hardy of Wath, Labour MP of Rother Valley from 1970-1983 and Wentworth from 1983-1997 (1942-1949)
- William Hague, MP, former Foreign Secretary
- Jonathan Holmes, theatre director
- Brian Key, Labour MEP of Yorkshire South from 1979-84 (1959–66)
- Maj-Gen Harry Knutton, CBE, Director-General of the City and Guilds of London Institute from 1976-1985 (1932-1939)
- Prof. Alec Lazenby, Vice Chancellor University of New England, Australia, 1970-1977 then Director Grassland Research Institute, Hurley 1977-1982. (1938-1945).
- Dennis Maiden, Director-General of the Federation of Master Builders from 1991-199 and Chief Executive of the CITB from 1985-90 (1943-1950)
- Paul McCue, military historian, writer and author (1969–70)
- Ian McMillan, poet, broadcaster and the Bard of Barnsley
- Prof. Jonathan H. A. Nugent, Emeritus Professor of Plant Biochemistry, Professor of Plant Biochemistry and Biophysics at University College London until 2003. (1964-71)
- Kenneth Steer, CBE (1925-1932)
- Prof. Kenneth F Wallis, FBA, Professor of Econometrics at the University of Warwick from 1977-2001 (1949-1956)
- Johnny Wardle, Yorkshire and England cricketer. One of Wisden's Cricketers of the year 1954. (1934-1938)
- Wath School 2011 Prospectus[dead link]
- David Bret
- Lucy Clarkson[dead link] EncycloCentral, viewed 14 November 2007
- John Arlidge, Two die of meningitis at Hague's old school The Observer 3 January 1999
- Independent Online[dead link], viewed 1 December 2007