The History of the Salvatorian College’s Specialist status
The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust is the lead body for the Government's specialist schools programme. It seeks ‘to give practical support to transforming education by building and enabling a world-class network or innovative, high performing schools in partnership with business and the wider community’. (SSAT aims from their website). For further information about the SSAT, follow this link: https://www.ssatrust.org.uk/subjects/science/Pages/default.aspx
The Salvatorian College successfully applied for specialist status in Science and Mathematics in 2006. Our Specialist School bid acknowledged that we would improve results in both the College and widen experiences in our partner schools, develop links with businesses and let the community benefit from our facilities and expertise. To accomplish this we received some additional funding.
Since achieving Specialist status the College has invested even more in ICT with the ratio of pupils to computers increased. This has lead to a large number of laptops being available to both teachers and pupils. This growth in ICT equipment has lead to an increase in ICT use in lessons especially Interactive White Boards and supportive technologies, which many teachers have found engages the pupils more in their learning experiences. We are currently looking at the refurbishment of our school library area and the use of a media room.
We are developing our ‘managed learning environment (MLE), which is a website which provides online resources for pupils. The MLE also enables pupils to have their own email accounts, post messages on forums and ask questions online. This London MLE was part of a London Borough of Harrow phased project which was using Fronter as its chosen medium. You can see more information on Fronter on www.fronter.com and pupils can access their Fronter account by clicking on Salvatorian Online on the homepage. Teachers will monitor our site, providing online answers, so pupils can continually improve. Recently we have linked our Fronter with the Encyclopedia Britannica which has enabled all our pupils, of whatever age and ability, to access the differentiated materials available for their use. This may also be used by our teaching staff during their lessons.
Linked to this MLE experience, our Specialist funding has enabled us to buy access to Samlearning - www.samlearning.com This online resource enables students to access materials and tests on all areas of the curriculum, test themselves, automatically receive their marks and view their progress. Our pupils can test themselves as many times as they wish.
The benefit of applying for specialist status is clearly seen in the raising of standards of attainment in Science and Maths. Since 2006 our results in Science and Maths have improved and, indeed, whole school results have increased. Our results in 2011 – 77% 5+ A*-C, 74% A*-C including English and Maths and 100% A*-G -were excellent. Credit for these excellent results goes to the boys for working so diligently and to their teachers. We look forward to building upon these excellent results in the forthcoming year.
We have also been able use the funding to refurbish all of our College laboratories. Initially we completely refurbished one laboratory in 2006 and have now completed a programme that has seen significant improvements in all the laboratories including the creation of a new preparation area, a marking room for the Science Department and an air conditioned Science ICT room with an Interactive Whiteboard. We are also refurbishing our library area: we have added a new computer suite, created a media room, bulit a bag drop and installed new book shelving. We now have the last phase to do which will increase the seating available to boys who wish to use it as a study area. In the process we have created an air conditioned ICT technicians room which has improved the conditions for our ICT infrastructure.
The newly created media room has offered new opportunities. We have been able to Skype with another Salvatorian school in Germany - offering language opportunities for our pupils who are studying German. It has also created an area for our linked Gifted and Talented exchanges with other schools; in these exchanges, we have looked at presentation using the IWB, podcasts and pupil designed leaflets.
In the initial bid we set out a plan to work with 4 Primary partners (St Anselm’s, St George’s, St Joseph’s and St Teresa’s), and one Secondary partner, the Sacred Heart Language College. Since then, teachers from Salvatorian College have spent time collaborating with our partner schools, sharing good practice and disseminating their knowledge. Our link with the Sacred Heart Language College has enabled this partner to offer OCR Separate Science; 2010 was the first cohort of boys and girls together and their results were extremely good with 100% attainment in the three GCSE subjects.This success was replicated in 2011.
One of the main aims of the Specialist Trust is for schools to form links with companies. The College has successfully managed to build up close relationships with Capita Education Resourcing. We have run courses for Supply Teachers employed by Capita Education Resourcing in the use of the SMART Interactive White Boards. Next year the College will continue to build upon these existing relationships and we hope to expand into new areas.
The Salvatorian College is committed to opening up learning opportunities to everyone. As a result for the past three years it has been running evening classes aimed at members of St Joseph’s Parish who wish to improve or refresh their ICT skills. We have also developed and run a course for those parishioners who enjoyed the experience and wanted to further develop their ICT skills. We recently set up a link with the St Joseph’s parish’s Scout group to offer assistance and facilities for their Science related badge work in areas such as Electronics and Naturalist badges
These projects will be running throughout the year and are extremely worthwhile to get involved with for both pupils and the community. Not only do they enhance one’s learning, but also bring together schools with local people in the community.
Since 2006 the plan has grown and adapted to meet the needs of the community. We have added 2 more schools to our list of Primary partners (St Bernadette’s and St John Fisher’s).
In July 2010 we were successful in our application to be re-designated as a Specialist Science College.