The Deanery CE Academy is placed In the heart of Wichelstowe. Wichelstowe is a new development in Swindon and is split into three areas known as East, Middle and West Wichel. The East Wichel development of 800 homes is complete but Middle and West Wichel, which comprise at least a further 3000 homes, are still in the early stages of development with housebuilding due to commence soon. The secondary school will be at the heart of an emerging community and the school staff will have a key role to play in not only setting the tone for the school but the wider community. Wichelstowe is being developed as a joint venture partnership between the local authority and Barratt developments. They have high ambitions to create both a great place to live with high quality housing and a happy and healthy community.
The secondary school was needed to address an increasing shortfall of spaces in Swindon as a result of the development taking place. It will also be well placed to have a significant impact upon the quality of secondary education in Swindon. The addition of a new Church of England school with a supportive, collaborative, outward focus will help promote an upward trajectory of school improvement across the town.
The Academy will be an 11-18 school taking 210 pupils into each year organised into eight tutor groups. It will serve its immediate local vicinity as well as drawing pupils with Christian affiliation from throughout Swindon.
The Key Priority
This is a unique opportunity to create an outstanding centre of learning to be a beacon of excellence across the Borough; a place where individual children are challenged to raise their aspirations and enabled through inspiring teaching to achieve beyond their own expectations.
Our Partner School
We are delighted to have secured the ongoing support of an outstanding Church of England school within the Diocese to support the opening and development of the Deanery CE Academy.
St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School
St Mary Redcliffe and Temple (SMRT) is a successful and heavily oversubscribed 11-18 co-educational, Church of England, comprehensive school of over 1700 students, serving families from the whole of greater Bristol and beyond.
SMRT was judged in January 2012 and again in April 2015 to be outstanding by Ofsted, and outstanding in their church school (SIAMS) inspection, in each and every category. Ofsted judged Leadership and Management, Behaviour and Safety of Pupils, Quality of Teaching, Achievement of Pupils, and Sixth Form Provision, all as Outstanding. Ofsted remarked that “Church school status makes an important and distinctive contribution to the school’s exceptionally positive values and beliefs. Leaders and the highly effective governing body ensure that students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is given the highest possible priority.” “The promotion of students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural education is extremely impressive and contributes enormously to the welcoming ethos of the school. Equality of opportunity is vigorously promoted; discrimination in any form is not tolerated. Students are highly reflective about matters of faith and personal responsibility; their social awareness is remarkably perceptive.”
Christian ethos is at the centre of SMRT’s distinctiveness and success. The schools believes that daily worship helps them get their priorities right. The School has a clearly identified set of values that are reflected in pastoral and curriculum practice. The School is committed to developing students as whole people and lifelong learners. To facilitate this St Mary Redcliffe and Temple school has developed the Alive model, which seeks to develop competencies, values and skills in their students to support their development as ‘fully alive’ learners. The role of the tutor is key, and teachers are expected to be tutors in one of the Houses in the main school. Students in Years 8-11 are in mixed age tutor groups, which contribute to the ‘family’ atmosphere of the school.
Much of the successful bid for the Deanery CE Academy was produced through taking the proven outstanding Church school practice of SMRT and re-imagining it in the Swindon context.
The key aspect of our vision for the new school will be its distinctive Christian ethos and its inclusiveness. It will be distinctive in the sense that all decisions about the nature and purpose of the school will be taken through the lens of Christian values. All students and staff will be equally valued for their uniqueness in the eyes of God, and for their belonging to the school community. No one will be discriminated against due to their beliefs or lack of them. Everyone will be challenged to consider what they believe and why they believe it and to aspire to continual personal growth.
It is envisaged that up to 50% of places will be available locally with no faith criteria and 50% will be available across the town for people from a variety of Christian denominations if the school is oversubscribed. Students will therefore come from a mix of Christian backgrounds from a variety of different traditions and ethnic heritage as well as from no faith and other faith backgrounds. The school will provide safe boundaries, good relationships and empowered learning in a culture of hope. Hope is not understood as personal wish fulfilment, a ‘follow your dreams’ type of hope but rather as a communal living-out of the values, relationships and transformations that should characterise a thriving school, community and the wider world.
The aim is to help every young person be ‘fully alive’ and to build skills such as communication and organisation, competencies such as creativity and resilience and values such as valuing trust, truth, reconciliation and faith. This will be developed across the curriculum and by three fortnightly ‘Empowered Learning’ lessons in which students will be able to build their own learning power as well as benefit from an opportunity to enhance their numeracy and literacy skills where appropriate. These skills, competencies and values will be discussed with key stakeholders and rooted in the values of the locality. The school will establish a self-reflective culture where governors, parents/carers, staff, students and the wider community are encouraged to contribute to learning and development.