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At Waingels the whole staff work to ensure ‘Better Never Stops’ and our students leave us as Waingels Ready epitomising our values of: Kindness, Resilience, Pride and Respect. Students achieve outcomes that prepare them to take their place successfully in the global 21st Century, whichever path they choose to follow.
For this reason, Waingels is a comprehensive school that offers a broad and balanced curriculum, effectively differentiated and enriched to meet the needs of all students regardless of their background, advantage and ability. Our curriculum evolves and is agile to respond to the needs and interests of our students, for example we add and remove subjects on offer at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 and at a subject level. We work hard to retain a broad curriculum and are proud for example to offer Music and Languages at Key Stage 5.
We have our Triple A programme which starts in Year 7 and provides stretch and challenge for students aiming to achieve at least 3 As at A Level. We also have a catch-up programme for English and Maths to encourage students who need support to be secondary school ready. We invest in creative subjects such as Textiles, Art and Drama because we feel they make up an important part of a student’s holistic learning. Also, we offer vocational courses such as Beauty and Travel and Tourism, college courses and an alternative curriculum for those students who are best suited to a different way of learning. These courses are further developed with some students being invited to attend work experience in Year 10..
Successful transition from Key Stage 2, between Key Stages 3 and 4 and on into the Sixth Form is important to all staff. Lead Practitioners, Heads of Subjects and the Head of Year 7 work closely with our feeder primary schools to ensure a seamless transition into Year 7. Students start their learning journey in the first half-term with transition projects across the curriculum, which are designed to ignite their joy of learning, help them settle in, enhance their skills and knowledge and build on their experiences and learning from their primary schools. We have a three year Key Stage 3 in order for students to develop the necessary foundation skills, knowledge and stepping stones from Key Stage 2, into Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 in preparation for Key Stage 4. In Year 9 students have the opportunity to choose to delve deeper into a variety of different creative subjects. At GCSE we aim to give students the most amount of choice. Whilst encouraging students to pursue the Ebacc qualification, others may choose to study a range of different GCSE and vocational qualifications such as Economics, Business, Psychology, Food & Nutrition, Health and Social Care and Computer Science to name just a few. Religious Studies and PSHCE are delivered across the curriculum by specialist teachers and in discreet lessons which makes up an important part of our curriculum offering.
At Sixth Form the breadth of the curriculum continues to be offered through a range of A Levels such as Languages, Music and Sociology and vocational qualifications including BTEC Sport, Business and Criminology. The Sixth Form curriculum is enriched by timetabled skills lessons where students work in teams to undertake a charity action project. Year 12 continue to take part in sport, fitness and art classes and some students may opt to study the Extended Project (EPQ). The Sixth Form transition and careers programmes are vibrant with taster days, work experience opportunities, guest speakers, apprenticeship workshops, an Oxbridge programme supported as part of our ISSP partnership with Wellington College and university visits. Students are supported by the Sixth Form team and our dedicated Careers Adviser, with next steps advice and guidance including UCAS and applications for apprenticeships. Students take on leadership roles as part of the Student Head Team, Leadership sub-committee and as prefects. Students have access to their own dedicated area which includes a supervised silent study space, group work area, a common room and a cafe - replicating a more university/workplace setting and ethos.
We offer an inclusive learning experience to all students. We recognise the challenges young people face and we identify, in partnership with parents, our responsibility to support young people and to have a strong safety net of support systems, to pick students up when they fall and to guide them when they need help. The personal development of our students and their circumstances is central to our work to develop individual life-long learners; this includes extensive careers and enterprise programmes - across all year groups which is aptly supported by our dedicated school Careers Adviser. Students have the opportunity to work towards bronze, silver and gold personal development goals by completing activities that have been carefully planned, to help nurture student attitudes, values and develop the capabilities needed to contribute to our community as active, productive, responsible and creative citizens that live fulfilling lives. We have a specialised Intervention and Inclusion team and an area called The Den for more vulnerable students or students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) to access, which offers key-working, small class teaching, catch-up and nurture group teaching and a safe place to “chill” at social times. Our REFLECT area offers targeted interventions for individuals and groups to support them in managing and improving their behaviour and attitudes and by offering a safe place for students who require support in managing their mental health, supplemented by a full-time counselling provision and a Mental Health Co-ordinator. We have a strong emphasis on supporting pupil premium students within the classroom, as well as with extra resources required for learning and cultural experiences.
And it is not only in the classroom that our curriculum offers variety to meet all student’s needs. Character is built and horizons are extended through exposure and engagement, with opportunities to explore new environments, to meet, work and lead different people. We offer a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities; we have a thriving allotment, established and maintained by students; we have large numbers of students pursuing the Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh scheme; we are represented at county leagues where we enter local and regional competitions in football, rugby, cricket, hockey, netball and trampolining. We have a flexible approach to supporting students who perform at a high sporting level to ensure there is a balance between training, participation and learning. Our music department offers the chance for all students to enjoy the subject, for example offering lessons to learn to play musical instruments, or join a choir who perform in the local community and engage in joint community projects, such as with a local SEND school. Our drama department produces high quality school productions, which integrates modern media and technology, to raise audience interaction and participation. Our art and design department is very well equipped with specialist resources such as a kiln, dark room, Mac suite and a 3d printer, which allows students to produce high quality work across the disciplines and is showcased in our gallery in the reception area.
Our learning spaces are spacious with a vast array of technology and specialist resources. They offer the opportunity to work with a whole cohort, everyday classes, small and nurture groups successfully in a light and airy environment. Specific areas are used for private study, rehearsal and performance. Our building helps to enable effective learning. The outdoor areas are also useful learning spaces, continually evolving as need dictate. We make good use of the fact that we are an hour from Central London, two hours from the Channel Ports and 45 minutes from Heathrow. We use links with local businesses within the Thames Valley, such as our annual Microsoft Interview Day and sports organisations - effectively to enhance student’s skills, cultural and social experiences and understanding. We provide students with the opportunity to travel – locally, nationally and internationally – outdoor pursuits at Dinton and on the River Thames, Geography and Photography field work in and around Woodley and Reading, Art and History trips to London galleries and museums, skiing in Canada, more field work in Barcelona and Iceland, Language trips to Seville, France and Berlin and our challenge trips every two years which have gone to Vietnam, China, Peru, and Southern Africa. We recognise our place geographically in the local community and offer and successfully seek outreach opportunities.