Welcome to Sandy Upper School.
We hope that you find everything you need on our website. If you would like to make any suggestions for improvement, please use the contact form on our "contact" page.
There are lots of ways to receive our news. Latest stories are on this page and you can also check our letters and newsletters section. We publish our short newsletter "Spotlight" once a week and full newsletter " Sandy Star" once a term. You can also "Like" us on Facebook and "follow us" on Twitter.
A Message from our Principal - 7th March 2014
We continue to be busy, and productive, as a school community. This week, we have enjoyed theatre trips and our Careers Fair and we are all looking forward to next week’s Dance Show, when we will welcome students from across our community into our school. We look forward to seeing you at this event, and at our other events in the coming weeks.
Ms B Hare
A Message from our Governors
Community rallies around Sandy Upper School
A period of intense action culminated last week with a mass show of support for Sandy Upper School.
At recent meetings, over 300 parents, prospective parents, staff, governors, representatives from the Local Authority, the Department for Education and our Member of Parliament came together to demonstrate their support for Sandy Upper School and to reinforce their commitment to delivering the best education for children in the local area.
The students, staff and leadership team were praised for their hard work and dedication. Parents voiced their support, celebrating the rapid turnaround in results, teaching and discipline that has been achieved since the the school’s new leadership was secured. There was unanimous agreement that the Headteacher, Ms Balraj Hare, and her team have been instrumental in delivering these changes at the school.
Richard Banks, Chair of the Governing Body and long-standing Sandy resident, declared “I want to make this the first choice school in this area. The predicted results will be the highest ever achieved by the school to date despite all the disruption. This is a phenomenal transformation.”
Explaining the disruption to the school, Claire Burton, Deputy Director for Academies and Performance at the Department for Education, emphasised that these are exceptionally unusual circumstances that could not have been predicted and that, at every stage, the Governing Body have had the best interests of the children at heart.
Alistair Burt, local MP, added that, because the situation was outside the school’s control, it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that the school has the support that it needs and stated that he had assisted the Governors in securing financial support directly from the Secretary of State for Education.
Key Questions and Answers
School status: The plan is for the school to convert on 1st September. Until conversion to academy status, the school will continue to be a Local Authority maintained school. After conversion, the Local Authority will continue to have strong relationship with the school.
Ofsted rating: Currently the school is in an Ofsted category of concern. Recent HMI reports state that the school is making exceptional progress. The school and leadership will need to demonstrate sustained progress to be removed from a category of concern. There will be another inspection in the next couple of months.
Future sponsor: Having looked at a range of potential sponsors, the Governors, along with the Local Authority and DfE, are working with a potential sponsor for the school. The DfE examines the structure, governance, finance, track record and capacity of all potential sponsors and will also conduct regular checks through the annual audited accounts and an annual performance assessment. Many decisions are under the control of the DfE, and it is hoped that an answer will be available in the next two to three weeks.
Funding: In addition to regular school funding, Sandy Upper has access to a post-conversion grant as it will be a sponsored academy. On top of this, due to the extraordinary situation, the Governing Body has secured additional funding from the DfE to secure strong school leadership. The DfE has confirmed that this funding will run until September at which point the successful sponsor will be in place.
Curriculum: There are no plans to change the curriculum. In a school where a curriculum is working, it will not be changed. If there are national changes, however, then a school does need to be flexible. If there do need to be any changes, any meetings to discuss this will include parents.
Uniform: There are no plans to change the uniform. The leadership team have contacted the uniform supplier. For new uniform items, they are happy to supply the school directly with un-branded items where required. Existing students should continue to wear their current uniform.
Battlefields Trip, 14th-16th March: Please remember that your child needs to be at school at 6.30am with their passport and EHIC card.
A Message from our Principal - 28th February 2014
I would like thank parents for their attendance at last night’s meeting with the Governors to discuss the future of the school. I very much appreciated the thoughtful and insightful questions. It was very apparent that parents are now working with the school to ensure the best possible outcome at this difficult time. I am extremely grateful for the positive comments made by the vast majority of parents, demonstrating clear recognition of the rapid progress the school has made since the beginning of the academic year.
The last six months have brought many challenges and uncertainties and, as the Governors have kept me fully informed, I was aware some time ago, that there was a possibility that Sandy Upper School would not be converting under the Barnfield umbrella. Regardless of this, we have ensured a relentless focus on ensuring the school continues to move forward swiftly towards becoming one of the best schools in the county.
There have been many successes since the beginning of the academic year. For example, achievement is already the highest it has ever been in the history of the school; Year 9 uptake has improved by 30%; Sixth Form applications have doubled; fixed term exclusions are the lowest ever; attendance at Parents Evenings has been as high as 88% and overall attendance is also much higher than last year. In addition, our teachers have made excellent progress with the quality of teaching and learning and the percentage of good and better lessons has increased from 48%, in September, to 83% in the recent Local Authority inspection. Our own internal monitoring indicates that most teachers are now delivering good and outstanding lessons.
The school is very much on a steep, upward trajectory. We are, however, at the beginning of a journey and there is still much to do in order to ensure we become an outstanding school in record time.
Ms B Hare