Introduction to the four ‘Small Schools’
In 2005 Stanley Park High was a relatively small school of approximately 800 students. We liked the small nature of our school because it meant that all our students were known personally. The drawback to larger schools is that students can get lost in the sheer size of them. Consequently, we believe that forming relationships between individuals becomes more challenging as the size of a school increases. We noticed this phenomenon as we became more popular during the years 2006-2010, moving from 800 students to over 1000. These challenges were likely to be magnified by the requirements of the announcement of Building Schools for the Future One School Pathfinder Scheme that would take us from 180 to 210 in a cohort and a larger Post 16 Centre. This would eventually lead us to accommodate 1450 students, a rise of approaching 100% on our roll in 2005. How could we maintain our desire for small when we were being asked to increase the size of the school population?
The answer was to design and create a ‘Schools within Schools’ approach in a similar way to which Stantonbury Campus in Milton Keynes has done with its Halls, Bishops Park in Clacton has done with Lighthouses, Towers, and Windmills and more recently Brislington Enterprise College in Bristol with its Big Cat named learning communities.
We decided to break Stanley Park High into four ‘Small Schools’ – Horizon, Performance, Trade and World.
These schools have their own building located off the Central Heart of the School. This central space, designed to resemble the corporate headquarters of a large-scale company, provides an ideal learning space for all of our students. It contains facilities for ICT and a variety of seating arrangements for students to group together and learn, both inside and outside formal lesson times. The whole area is softened with some large scale planting that will take advantage of the light and heat through our atrium glass roof.
At the southern end of the Atrium will be our eating facility. It will be a mixed furniture area allowing students and the community to eat in a variety of environment from cafe style through to formal dining.
All 'Small Schools' have their Staffing Structure under the Leadership of a Head of School.
Three of the schools; Performance, Trade and World, can basically be seen as parallel in years 7 and 8. Consequently, on entry into Stanley Park High each student is placed into one of our ‘Small-Schools’ – Performance, Trade and World. Students will be placed in these ‘Small Schools’ according to information from the Primary schools. We will ensure that there is an equal number in terms of boy/girl and that the overall ability profile is the same in each. Students will not be placed in a particular ‘Small School’ because they are known to have a particular ability, gift or talent. For example, a student that is good at music will not necessarily be placed in Performance. In years 7 and 8 students will spend virtually all of their time in these ‘Small-Schools’ studying a common curriculum. Please see the Learning/Curriculum Page of this Web Site.
On the Ground Floor of each school will be our studios for the Excellent Futures Curriculum. These studios have been specifically designed to provide a flexible learning space in which a range of learning activities can take place. Above each of the studios will be the core learning spaces for English, Mathematics, Science and Information and Communication Technology. In Years 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 each of the Small Schools provide a specialism in terms of the Option Subjects that they provide.
Outside of the Excellent Futures Curriculum and Core Subjects, Performance, Trade and World will have a Specialism. The fourth ‘Small School’, Horizon, coordinates support for all students with Special Educational Needs. It also houses our Administrative facilities and Learning Resources Centre.