Stevenage head on school’s future

A SECONDARY school headteacher has spoken of his determination to build on the future of his school following an Ofsted inspection.

At the end of May, Barnwell School in Stevenage was inspected by Ofsted inspectors who deemed the school to be satisfactory.

The school, which has undergone considerable leadership turbulence over the last year, is currently being led by acting headteacher Tony Fitzpatrick.

The Ofsted report found that the school, which is split over two sites, has the capacity to improve further.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “Whilst pleased with the inspector’s findings, the school is far from complacent and is determined to build on the evaluation to move to at least good by the next inspection.”

In September 2006, the school expanded by taking in students from Collenswood School in Stevenage after it was placed in special measures and closed. As a consequence, Barnwell School now has two campuses - Barnwell west and Barnwell east, the former Collenswood School site. Years 10 to 13 are based on the east campus, while Years 7 to 9 are based at the west site.

Over the next two years the school will undergo major changes. Students who are currently at the west campus will move onto the former Heathcote school site in September 2013 after the local authority decided to shut the school in January 2008.

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Heathcote School will officially close on August 31 and the site will undergo a year long refurbishment starting in September this year.

Once Years 7 to 9 move to the Heathcote site, the Barnwell site will also undergo refurbishment which is expected to be ready for Years 10 to 13 by 2014, leaving the Collenswood site empty. The school has been allocated �4.6million to carry out these changes.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “We have done a lot of research on the best way to ensure we have good quality teaching. From September, key stage three students will have a dedicated maths and English teacher and students will have a 50-minute lesson of English and maths every day.”

Speaking of the recent debate on changing GCSEs back to O-levels, Mr Fitzpatrick said: “It doesn’t matter what you call the exams as long as each student leaves with a qualification which is appropriate for the student and for an employer.

“I believe there should be one examination board and one syllabus for all schools across the country.”