Exciting times ahead for a growing school

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FRESH from receiving its best-ever GCSE results, St Andrew’s High School for Boys, in East Worthing, is preparing for exciting times ahead, according to head teacher Steve Mercer.

Next September, the school will grow in size, from 750 to 900 pupils, as part of the changes to the age of transfer in Worthing. A multi-million pound development will begin in January, upgrading facilities including the design and technology, and science departments.

W37507H14 Students Tom Evans and Hamim Chowdhury mid-science class

W37507H14 Students Tom Evans and Hamim Chowdhury mid-science class

This year the school’s GCSE results bettered the national average in a number of subjects, including maths and English.

Mr Mercer said: “We want every boy to enjoy the maximum levels of progress they can, regardless of their starting point. It’s not only about exams, we have always been a school that recognises holistic development.

“Underpinning it all is the strength and the quality of the relationship the boys have with each other and the staff, which I think is what leads to such a calm, purposeful atmosphere in the school. The challenge for us is not to lose the key aspects that we feel make St Andrew’s special.”

Results in maths have been consistently high over the last few years and this year was no exception, with 74.4 per cent of boys achieving A*–C grades in the subject, compared with the national average of 64.3 per cent.

Teachers in the maths department have adopted a Japanese lesson study to help structure classes effectively. The teachers plan a lesson as a team, before one of them carries it out in the classroom while the others silently observe. After the lessons, the teachers reconvene and discuss their findings.

Maria Stewart, head of maths, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant. We also have a growth mind-set to empower the boys. If you work hard you can achieve anything you want.”

Head of English Debbie Heron said her department had made ‘significant’ steps this year. The GCSE pass rate in the subject exceeded the national average of 53 per cent by 11.5 per cent and more interactive methods were being used to hold the boys’ interest.

Mrs Heron said: “With boys, you can’t expect them to just sit, because if you do that it just kills the subject with them. The onus has got to be on the boys. It works far better than me sitting at the front of the room looking at them.”

Science continues to make strides forward but department head David Cuthbertson said science at the school was still on an ‘upward journey’.

Two physics classes achieved 97.5 per cent A*-C grades, while in total, 60 per cent achieved two GCSEs in the subject.

The school plays an important role in the local community and is well-known for its charity work, having forged a strong relationship with Worthing Churches Homeless Projects and Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice among others. A number of the town’s youth mayors have also come from the school.

Victoria Purcell, deputy head teacher, added: “St Andrew’s is a school where everybody can reach their full potential.

“We look after our boys’ well-being and they come out of here really lovely young men. We are completely proud of them. They are ambassadors for the school.”