Year 11 students Ruby Bees and Callum Smith (pictured below right) are the first ever head girl and head boy at Isambard School, having undergone a rigorous application process to secure the roles.
Not only did they have to teach a group of year 6 pupils during the Isambard induction day, write an application form and undergo a formal interview with head teacher Rachel Mattey, they also had to make a presentation to a panel of school governors on how they would improve the student voice.
“It was like applying for a real job,” said Callum.
As head boy, Callum will instigate drop-in sessions at lunch times for pupils to discuss their ideas for the school, while head girl Ruby intends to set up ways for the student body to interact with the governors.
“It’s important to be a good role model, and show how behaviour in school should be,” said Ruby, who hopes to combine languages with a career in journalism.
Head of year 11 and pastoral manager Pablo Gomez said, “we were really impressed and very proud of all the applicants. They were very engaging and had a clear message about what they wanted to achieve.”
Callum, who wants to pursue a career in music, added, “as a drummer I’m usually at the back, but I wanted to speak out more. It’s good to show that we are reliable and trustworthy.”
Delivering good results early at Isambard
North Swindon’s secondary school has blazed a path by delivering very successful GCSE results one and two years early.
In 2006 when Isambard School headteacher Rachael Mattey was meeting parents and year 6 pupils, she told them that children were a lot more capable than was realised and teachers were being appointed to deliver the curriculum to allow youngsters to enter their exams early. Four years later the school has delivered.
Year 10 – 222 pupils
204 achieved at least 1 A*-C (92%)
218 achieved at least 1 A-G (98%)
125 achieved at least 1 A-A* (56%)
171 achieved A*-C in English (77%)
130 achieved A*-C in Maths (59%)
125 students achieved A*-C in both English and Maths (55%)
Year 9 – 226 pupils
197 achieved at least 1 A*-C (87%)
223 achieved at least 1 A*-G (99%)
15 achieved at least 1 A-A* (7%)
190 achieved at least a pass in OCR National ICT (GCSE equivalent) (84%)
Ms Mattey said, “our belief is that pupils should take exams when they are ready, not when they reach a certain age. We wanted to avoid a lot of wasted time at key stage 3 and give our pupils the opportunity to lighten their GCSE load by spreading their exams over a two to three year period.
“We’ve concentrated on providing pupils with independent learning and revision skills that will stand them in good stead in the future. Some were so motivated to succeed that they exceeded their target grades in every subject. For those who did not achieve their targets, it has been a wake up call and they are determined to do better next time.
“The results in year 10 have been excellent and I’m also very pleased with the results in year 9. Although there is a lower percentage of high grades achieved in year 9, pupils have learned a great deal from the experience and are now more aware of what they need to do to achieve higher grades in their next set of exams.
“The teaching staff are learning too; we are now analysing this year’s results to make sure that we do better next year.
“This process has proved that with the proper preparation and motivation, children are capable of achieving anything.”