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81% 5+ A*-C


Sandy Upper School celebrated today as students achieved the School’s best ever results – a record-breaking 81% including Maths and English - completing a total transformation from the previous fortunes of the school. This figure has never before been seen in Central Bedfordshire, or indeed in neighbouring counties!

In just one year, the school has made a leap of 27% from 54% to 81% - a remarkable achievement which is likely to see Sandy identified as one of the most improved schools in the COUNTRY! This phenomenal result is the culmination of a year in which virtually every aspect of the school has been transformed with the focus at the school firmly on creating a culture of outstanding achievement for every student.

Our remarkable day started with a short assembly celebrating the headline news before nervous students joined their House Leaders to collect their envelopes. Smiles, screams of joy and hugs of congratulation were the order of the day as students realised that they had achieved their dream results - opening the doors to a golden future.

Principal, Balraj Hare said "Our GCSE results this year are truly spectacular and all students have made outstanding progress! I am delighted to say that a remarkable 81% of our students achieved 5+ GCSE including Maths and English, with many students achieving 13+ A*- C GCSE grades. This outstanding outcome is significantly above the national average of 59% (2013) and a massive improvement from last year. These are, by far, the highest results in the history of the school, and the history of Bedfordshire, and many other Eastern region counties. With an improvement of 27% from last year (54% 2013) we will easily be one of the most improved schools in the COUNTRY, if not, THE most improved, this year. My staff and students have worked incredibly hard as one united team and they are thrilled with what they have achieved. We promised a total transformation of Sandy Upper School (which had been underachieving for a number of years) and we have delivered it in record time. Our excellent OFSTED inspection in July, the 99% pass rate for A Levels and these exceptional GCSE outcomes, show that we have now created an exceptional school!”

Top Performing  Students:

Superstar Jessica Dodds achieved 15 A*-C with Danielle Stevenson achieving 14 A*-C. Other remarkable successes included:

Jack Eldridge 13 A*/A
Jessica Dodds 13 A*/A and 2 B
Jessica Young 11 A*/A and 1 B
Preeti Dhillon 10 A*/A and 4 B
Adam Deans 9 A*/A, 3 B and 1 C
Danielle Stevenson 8 A*/A, 4 B and 2 C
Katie Needham 7 A*/A, 4 B and 2 C
Robert Greener 7 A*/A, 4 B and 1 C



 Karen Hayward, Vice Principal with responsibility for achievement said “It has been a pleasure to work with such a committed and talented year group. These results are a fitting reward for all your hard work and effort – I could not be prouder of you!” 

Follow us on Twitter @SandyUpper for pictures from today's results celebrations.


Best Ever ‘A’ Level Results for Sandy Upper School

Students at Sandy Upper celebrated an outstanding set of results – a fitting reward after an exceptional and transformational year!

Following a brief assembly led by Director of Sixth Form, Ros Watts, the atmosphere was one of celebration and excitement as students collected the magic envelopes from smiling staff.

The majority of students started the morning secure in the knowledge that their university offers had been secured but all were astounded by their personal achievements and by the improvements in results.

The overall pass rate was an outstanding 99% and although all students have performed exceptionally well, top performers at AS Level were Hannah Bishopp, with an A* and 4 A’s, Gursimar Dhillon and Belinda Sergent wth 5 A’s, Clara Zwetsloot with and A*, 3 A’s and a B and Ross Adams with 3 A’s.

At A2 Level, top performances came from Rebecca Williams and Rose Edwards, both with an A* and two A’s, Zachary Heslington with two A*, A and B  and Hannah Hinson and Oliver Bond both achieving two A’s and a B. Steph Canfield and Poppy Lansley carried top honourson vocational courses, each with an amazing A*/A/A result. After a tense wait, Christie Morrallee was delighted to discover that she had gained her coveted place at Clare College, Cambridge to read History!

Principal, Balraj Hare said “I am absolutely delighted that Sandy Upper has achieved its best ever results. These grades represent a significant improvement from previous years and all students should be proud of what they have achieved. This is hard evidence that we are on a steep, upward trajectory.  I would like to pass on my congratulations to all students and to all of our amazing staff who have worked so hard to achieve these outcomes.”

Director of Sixth Form, Ros Watts said “It is a very exciting time to be a part of Sandy Upper Sixth Form. Our students are achieving at the highest levels and are increasingly securing places at Russell Group universities and other top institutions. The sixth form are truly an aspirational example for all students at Sandy.”


It is with absolute pleasure that I attach the excellent report from our latest Ofsted inspection which was carried out at Sandy Upper School on 8th and 9th July 2014. As you are aware, we have had three visits from HMI this academic year and every single report has been extremely positive about the remarkable and exceptional progress we have made since we began our transformational journey in September 2013.

However, our most recent Ofsted visit a few days ago is perhaps the most significant. Not only was Sandy Upper School taken out of a category of Special Measures (Grade 4), the school was also moved straight into a category of Good (Grade 2). It is extremely rare for any school in the country, to improve from a Grade 4, straight to a Grade 2 and miss out a Grade 3! In addition, the report makes it clear, that we are a high Grade 2 and the school is well on the way to becoming outstanding. To achieve this in less than a year is remarkable and a clear reflection of the extremely rapid progress we have made since September 2013. When I inherited the school in September 2013, the overall Ofsted judgements were:

·         Overall effectiveness – Inadequate, Grade 4

·         Achievement - Inadequate, Grade 4

·         Quality of Teaching - Inadequate, Grade 4

·         Behaviour & Safety - Inadequate, Grade 4

·         Leadership & Management – Inadequate, Grade 4

But, in less than one year, we have moved to:

·         Overall effectiveness – Good, Grade 2

·         Achievement - Good, Grade 2

·         Quality of Teaching - Good, Grade 2

·         Behaviour & Safety - Good, Grade 2

·         Leadership & Management – Good, Grade 2

The report makes it very clear that there has been a “complete transformation” since September 2013 and the school now has many good and outstanding features. The ‘new’ Sandy Upper School that exists today, is barely recognisable as the ‘old’ Sandy Upper School that I inherited in September 2013.The Ofsted judgements achieved in this inspection are the best judgements achieved in the history of the school.

In addition, the judgement of Grade 2, demonstrates that the current position of Sandy Upper School is now better than, or equal to, all other upper schools in the county, who have been inspected under the new, tougher Ofsted framework. In addition, as the Ofsted action points for moving to a Grade 1 school are very minor, we are on track to becoming an outstanding (Grade 1) school in record time!

Sandy Upper School is on a steep upward trajectory and we are very quickly becoming the first choice for most parents and students. There is much to celebrate! This year, we have achieved great success and we have done so without an academy sponsor or any additional funding.

My exceptional senior leadership team and my outstanding staff have worked tirelessly and have been instrumental in ensuring that my vision for an outstanding education for every Sandy Upper School student becomes a reality as each day passes. I am immensely proud of my staff and students for all that they have achieved this year, and they are to be highly commended for their determination, their hard work, their resilience and their outstanding teamwork.  They are rightly very pleased, and proud of their achievements.

I am also extremely grateful for the overwhelming support from parents this year, the many positive messages throughout the year have been much appreciated. In addition, I am grateful to parents for supporting the school through a difficult period, which is very firmly in the distant past as the ‘Golden Era’ for Sandy Upper School has now very clearly begun! Our foundations are extremely secure and we will continue to fly even higher and even stronger!

The future of Sandy Upper School is extremely exciting as we continue our “relentless pursuit of excellence and outstanding achievement for every student”. In less than a year, we are on the same level as the best schools in the county, and my aim is to continue to take the school on a remarkable journey and create one of the best schools in the country.

I hope you all have a wonderful summer.

My very best wishes

Ms B. Hare




Download this file (OFSTED REPORT JULY 2014.pdf)OFSTED REPORT JULY 2014.pdf[ ]3997 Kb

A Message from our Principal, July 18th 2014

I would like to thank every student, every member of staff and every parent for their commitment to this school and for their efforts in helping us to achieve so much in such a short space of time.

When I look back through the year, I cannot quite believe the transformation that has taken place here at Sandy Upper School.  Our students are now smartly dressed, articulate, personable and hungry for achievement. Our staff are energised and enthusiastic about the changes taking place and we could not wish for more supportive parents.

Our Ofsted report will be issued very shortly and we will send every family a copy.  I urge you to read it and enjoy the many positive comments made about our amazing school community. Please read this edition of Spotlight carefully as it contains details of arrangements throughout the summer break.

We remain busy and focused until the very end of term and our emphasis is on rewards and celebration. I look forward to seeing every student participating in our House and Inter-Form Challenges before we leave for the summer break.

I wish each and every one of you a restful holiday and look forward to seeing you all return full of energy in September.

Ms B Hare