Monk's Walk School "Excellence For All"

Secondary Welwyn / Hatfield District

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Description

About Monk's Walk School

Who we are

We are a mixed school of about 1,350 11-18 year old students in Welwyn Garden City, a Hertfordshire new town on the outskirts of London. Transport links are superb – direct rail links to London in less than 30 minutes; M1, A1(M), M11 and M25 all minutes away. WGC is a pleasant place to live – it even has John Lewis! The school is situated in a greenbelt area in the prosperous northwest corner of the city. The view from the school is lovely, the view of our buildings slightly less so – this is an area we are constantly working on within the usual financial constraints.    

Monk’s Walk is a genuinely comprehensive school, although the intake profile is changing – the prior attainment of students coming into the school is rising. The number of students with learning challenges is below the national average, with 7.3% supported at school action plus or with a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEND). Our support for students with SEND is a real strength of the school. We have a small number of students with visual impairment. Attendance is high. The school has an extremely effective behaviour policy and in general behaviour is very good indeed. Our students want to learn and our parents are, on the whole, extremely supportive.     

Parental confidence in the school is high; there were 730 applications for 226 places in Year 7 for September 2019, with 238 of those as first preference. Each year we hear appeals for students wishing to join the school. 

There is a genuine ‘buzz’ around the school and we have a very strong reputation in the city. In February 2018, the school was judged once again by Ofsted to be ‘good’ - please read the inspection letter which can be found on our website (or on Ofsted’s) should you wish to apply. We were really pleased with the comments made by inspectors. They won’t be back for four years, all being equal. 

GCSE exam results in 2018 were our best ever results. In the basics, 56% of students gained a strong pass in English and maths and 80% a standard pass. This puts us well above the national average. Our attainment 8 was 50.69 and progress 8 +0.16. These are provisional results and without one of our major vocational courses which was omitted by the DfE in the numbers. This will make a small but possibly significant difference. 

In terms of progress, disadvantaged and SEN students do much better in the school than they do nationally. BME students attain very well and have good progress, as do each of the ability groups. Girls’ and boys’ attainment was almost exactly the same. We pride ourselves on the fact that Monk’s Walk is an inclusive school. 

The school has about 230 in the sixth form. We are also  a member of a consortium with four other schools which provides a wide range of opportunities for students. At Monk’s Walk we concentrate on providing A Level only, with large numbers of students studying the facilitating subjects. Vocational programmes can be taken at Oaklands College or in other consortium schools. Sixth form results are good and improving, but our ambition is for them to be even better. Our average point score per entry was 30.54, with a grade C as the average grade. This is in line with national. We are very proud of the destinations of our sixth form students, with almost all students who applied making it to their first or second choice university or high quality apprenticeship. Students access a range of universities, including Oxbridge. 

We do not pursue academic achievement at the expense of the wider development of the individual, however. Form tutors, heads of year and heads of house all have important roles in the social, personal and academic support of individuals. Our house system is strong, providing a range of all-ability competitions and activities for mixed-age groups. The house bake-off, organised by the DT department, is legendary. All members of staff are allocated a house.

The range of extra-curricular opportunities, trips and visits plays an important role in the lives of our students and we guard this expansive programme jealously because we believe that busy, stimulated students make successful students. Last year our students had the opportunity to take part in over 100 trips and visits, including trips to New York, Paris, Barcelona and the Belgian battlefields. We have large groups undertaking World Challenge and Dof E at bronze, silver and gold level. A range of staff involve themselves in these activities which further enriches school life for both them and our students.

 Unfortunately, some schools are having to cut creative subjects such as Art, Music, Drama and PE and, as mentioned, even some DT specialisms.  At Monk’s Walk, these subjects are strong as we see these areas providing important learning opportunities for our students. All of these subjects are running at GCSE and A Level.

We have a full orchestra (as well as other musical groups), thriving Art, Music, PE and Sport and an outstanding Drama department. Members of other departments involve themselves in extra-curricular activities in Music, Sport and Drama. 

 Knightsfield School (a special school for hearing impaired children) is co-located with Monk’s Walk School. We have an outstanding partnership arrangement; at key stage 3 Knightsfield students join classes in Drama, PE and Art. Some students are also integrated into GCSE groups. Knightsfield students join ours for lunch everyday in our canteen in B Block. One of our music teachers teaches at the school. If you join the school, you will be given deaf-awareness training as part of your induction. 

The school became an academy in September 2012.  The decision to convert was purely pragmatic and trustees have no intention to make changes to teachers’ pay and conditions beyond those made as part of national agreements. 

Professional Development

Induction, training and continuing professional development have a very high priority in the school. All new members of staff take part in a comprehensive induction programme on joining the school. We have a proven track record in training teachers and we have both School Direct and PGCE trainees. We take an active part in the Alban Teaching School Alliance. 

If you are a newly qualified teacher,  you would be offered the opportunity to start with us on 1st July (or as soon as your training course is completed) and be paid fully through July and August.  This gives the chance for a really comprehensive induction programme to make sure you have a flying start to your career in teaching.  You will also find that we have an innovative support programme throughout the NQT year, organised with local schools. This provides training on key aspects of teaching such as assessment and behaviour for learning, as well as providing a local network of support with other NQTs in similar subject areas.  There is also the opportunity to visit other schools to further your experience in the NQT year. The course builds on the support of a mentor and the extended support of a professional mentor in school. 

All staff are supported by a broad programme of continuing training and development. Individual staff are supported on programmes of further study/professional qualifications.  The school runs a well-developed performance management system. All staff are actively supported to achieve their individual targets. 

Staff Benefits

In addition to competitive salaries, subscription to the Teachers' Pension Scheme and for Support Staff the Local Government Pension Scheme, Monk's Walk School has a great deal to offer those that work there.

Staff are provided with free tea and coffee during break time.

The School also offers a generous relocation package for teachers moving to the area to take up a post. Please see the School website for further details.

What people say about us

"Where progress is particularly strong, it is as a result of teachers' deep subject knowledge, which they use to check pupils' understanding, clarify their misconceptions and challenge their thinking."

- Ofsted 2018

"You provide strong and passionate leadership that is guided by your desire to do 'what is right' by the pupils who attend your school"

- Ofsted 2018

"Pupils are well behaved and have positive attitudes to learning. They are grateful for the high quality support that they receive from adults in the school."

- Ofsted 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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