Wath Comprehensive School

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Wath Comprehensive School
A Language College
Wath Comprehensive School.png
Motto Latin: Meliora Spectare
(Look to Better Things)
Established 17 September 1923 (1923-09-17)[1]
Type Co-operative trust (foundation) comprehensive school
Headteacher Pat Ward
Deputy Headteachers Rick Powell and Jon Taylor
Chair of Governors Irene Hartley MBE
Location Sandygate

South Yorkshire
S63 7NW
Local authority Rotherham
DfE number 372/4017
DfE URN 106954 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Capacity 1,740
Students 1,917 as of December 2014[2]
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses Athens, Carthage, Rome, Sparta, Thebes and Troy
Colours Maroon and gold          
Publication The Torch
Former names Wath Secondary School (1923–1931)
Wath-upon-Dearne Grammar School (1931–1974)
Website www.wcs.rotherham.sch.uk

Wath Comprehensive School: A Language College is a co-educational secondary school on Sandygate in Wath-upon-Dearne, in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England.


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).[3] 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.

Ofsted, Inspection Report: Wath Comprehensive School (November 1997)[4]

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 school transitioned from being a community school to a co-operative trust foundation school on 1 September 2013.


The school's 1930s coat of arms, now used as the sixth form logo

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 six houses, named after ancient cities - Athens, Carthage, Rome, Sparta, Troy and Thebes, which was a later addition to accommodate the rise in student numbers.

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.[1] Numbers were at this level until as recently as 2007.[5] 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:[6] 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.

Academic performance[edit]

There is quite a disparity between its GCSE and A level results. At GCSE, it gets results equal to the England average.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] There are also sporting facilities in the school grounds.

Ofsted inspections[edit]

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


  • 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

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]