Wildern Secondary School

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Coordinates: 50°55′12″N 1°18′07″W / 50.920°N 1.302°W / 50.920; -1.302

Wildern School
very big
Motto Care, Opportunity, Quality
Established 1933
Type Academy
Head Teacher Ms M L Litton
Location Wildern Lane
Hedge End
Local authority South East England LSC (although in Hampshire LEA)
Students 1900
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–16
Houses Alba, Bedford, Driscoll, Jubilee, Paxton & Sovereign
Colours Strawberry Red & Dark Green
Website Wildern School

Wildern School is an 11–16 co-educational academy school serving the Botley, Hedge End, West End and Eastleigh areas of Southampton, Hampshire. It currently has in excess of 2000 students on roll.

The school is a Specialist Arts College and is currently the holder of many accolades including The Charter Mark, Investor in People and Investor in Careers certifications alongside the Schools Curriculum Award, School Achievement Award, Artsmark Gold accreditation, Sportsmark accreditation, Becta ICT accreditation and National Training Award 2004. In the 2008 and 2012 reports, Ofsted found the school to be judged "outstanding" in every category.[1]

Academic performance[edit]

As part of a Department for Children, Schools and Families initiative, the majority of pupils at the school complete the Key Stage 3 curriculum in two years rather than three, with a large number going on to complete a similar ‘accelerated’ course at GCSE level.

In 2013, 72% of students achieved 5+ A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and Maths, higher than the National average of 59.2%.[2]


The school was originally built in 1933, opened by its first Headmaster Mr H. S. Shelley who upheld his role until retirement after the Second World War. He was succeeded by a Mr. Simmons and his assistant Mr J. Shirley. During Mr Simmons' time as Headmaster, plans were drawn for the construction of new larger school. Building work on this project began in May 1960, finishing in 1963 before the new building was opening by Lord Ashburton on 19 September.

It was at this time, that the school was first divided into its four houses – Duke, Bedford, Paxton and Sovereign. Contrary to popular belief, the names of these houses were not derived from different types of strawberry, but rather arose from the time at which the Duke of Bedford owned land nearby to the school and lent this land to Joseph Paxton, the man who developed the Royal Sovereign strawberry.

In 1971, the school officially became Wildern Comprehensive School and saw significant development in the form of the purchase of a second minibus and construction of a new art block that was completed in 1974. Development of the school site continued through the 1970s.

In 1976, Head of the Lower School – retired and, as a final gesture, raised a large sum of money for the school which he donated to it in aid of construction of an on-site swimming pool; this pool was built in the subsequent years and opened 1979.

Mr, Owen was then replaced by a Mr Durnell, who was at the school in 1977 when it saw increasing vandalism around the site cumulate in an explosion in one of the biology laboratories. Mr Rocket succeeded him.

Threlfall came to the school in 1996, firstly qualified as a maths teacher, and was head of the school until he died of cancer in 2007. Throughout his time as head of the school, numerous developments were made through his tireless effort to raise funds, examples including the Dart center (a state of the art building centered on performing arts), a cinema, and a new science block. GCSE grades improved dramatically, and while he was head, an Ofsted report found the school to be 'outstanding' in every category. In 2006 he was awarded the Royal Air Force award for secondary headteacher of the year.

In 2011 the school attained academy status.

In 2016 the school made national news when police were called because a pupil had viewed the websites of the UK Independence Party (the party gained the third largest vote share in the 2015 general election) and the English Defence League. The school said it called 101 for advice after a student was viewing a range of different sites and was referred to a specialist team. Head teacher Marie-Louise Litton said: "I wish to make it absolutely clear that the decision to pursue the matter further was not made by the school." No further action was taken.[3][4]

Performing arts[edit]

Wildern school is officially a Performing Arts School and has always strived to give students to perform to large audiences. The students get to perform in year-round productions and concerts, in the main hall or the new council owned Berry Theatre, built on the schools premises. The school's facilities include 3 drama classrooms each equipped with cutting edge lighting and sound equipment, 2 music rooms one with a classic grand piano, the other with a recording studio sporting industry-standard software and hardware. Additionally the school has 3 practice rooms which have recently been refurbished with new Yamaha Digital pianos. The designated dance studio has mirrors, curtains, sprung floor and again the standard high quality PA system. Students may also volunteer to help out with the student tech team, who get to use latest technology moving heads as well as a variety of source four fittings. Sound wise, the main theatre is also fitted with a state of the art PA system.

House system[edit]

There used to be four houses, all with names inspired by Strawberries, as the school was built on known strawberry fields. Sovereign has the house colour of red. Duke had the house colour of yellow. Paxton's house colour was blue. Bedford had the house colour of green.

The house system was revamped and relaunched for the start of the academic year 2012–13. The new system launched with two new houses (Alba and Jubilee) and Duke having been renamed to Driscoll. The school has a much more emphasised feel about each student's contributions toward a house point total, with each student's individual "eRef" score adding or taking from the house's total. The house colours were changed too, with Alba being orange, Bedford becoming green, Driscoll a mild yellow, Jubilee a medium purple, Paxton a dark blue and Sovereign's red became deeper and more "Royal".

The school elects Vice House Captains in Year 10 which go on to become House Captains in Year 11. The school faculty also choose a Head-Boy and Head-Girl from Year 11, who are supported by a council of Year 11 senior prefects and general prefects.

House competition results[edit]

Paxton won the inaugural 2012-13 championship, with 65818 points. Alba came second (64350), Bedford third (62742), Driscoll fourth (61279), Sovereign fifth (59192) and Jubilee finished last (58977).

In 2013-14, Sovereign won the house championship with 70029 points, knocking reigning champions Paxton down to second on 68278. Alba came third on 67960, ahead of Bedford (66454), Driscoll (66186), and finishing bottom again, Jubilee, on 63414.

The third house championship (2014–15) was won by Alba with 67442 points followed Bedford in second on 66794 points. Jubilee avoided finishing last for the first time, coming third on 65002 points, ahead of last year's champions Sovereign who finished on 64473 points. Paxton were fifth on 63987, leaving Driscoll to finish bottom on 63139.

The 2015-16 house championship was the closest to date. Jubilee were the winners, finishing on 67141 points, only 314 points ahead of second-placed Bedford (66827), who were only 110 points ahead of Alba in third (66717). Driscoll finished in fourth place with 65508, Sovereign fifth on 65205, and bottom by quite some margin, Paxton on 60983.

For the fourth championships, Alba have the highest total, with 266469 points, with Bedford second, despite no wins, on 262817. Paxton are third overall with 259066, Sovereign fourth (258899), Driscoll fifth (256112), and despite having won the championship in 2015-16, Jubilee bottom with 254534.

Digital technology and Apple Training Centre[edit]

Wildern School is known for its extensive development of the use of digital technology, much of which involves the use of Apple technology. The school was at one point known for being that with the most Apple Mac computers in the country- currently home to over 300.

The school is also a regional Apple Training Centre,[5] giving it the opportunity to coach primary and secondary school teachers in the use of Apple's award-winning software packages.

Alongside Apple technology, the school uses an array of other devices including roughly 300 Windows based computers and has - in recent years - seen the construction of a new "wireless technology centre" (Block 9). It has also become a pioneer of mobile learning in education through the launch of its Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) a few years after the wireless centre.


  1. ^ Ofsted Reports
  2. ^ "DfE Performance Table". http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=136654.  External link in |website= (help);
  3. ^ School calls police because pupil visited UKIP website on class computer, Independent, 27 February 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/school-called-police-because-boy-visited-ukip-website-on-class-computer-a6899641.html
  4. ^ Hampshire school calls police after pupil looks at UKIP website, BBC News, 26 February 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-35671519
  5. ^ Wildern Apple RTC

External links[edit]