Catmose Principal

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Review of the Year (2012 – 2013)


This year has been one in which we have consolidated the College’s position as one that offers both very high standards of academic performance whilst maintaining and enhancing the experiences we are able to offer students outside of the classroom. We have offered more trips, visits and electives than ever before. Our extra-curricular provision in sport, music, drama and the arts continues to thrive; these activities offer students’ experiences that they will never forget.

There have been many highlights but perhaps the most memorable and life changing for our students was the expedition to Ghana, led by Steph Gonda, it was an unforgettable experience for all who took part. The students raised the funds themselves by chopping wood, designing and making craft items, packing bags, washing cars, sponsored walks and cycle rides; real enterprise for a real aim. In Ghana they carried water, mixed concrete by hand and laid the floor for an orphanage; real volunteering to help children far less fortunate than themselves. These inspiring students are now supporting the endeavours of students who are planning a similar experience for twelve months’ time; real evidence of the strength of the Catmose community. There are a number of wonderful photographs that can all be viewed here:

The number of trips has become so large that we have now produced for parents a brochure that outlines all of the opportunities on offer over the next twelve months; something that parents asked for in our annual survey of parents. It can be accessed here:

The electives offer, led by Rosie Stapleton, is also our biggest ever with over 120 options now available to students the breadth of offer is unrivalled and gives our students a wonderful opportunity to develop new skills and find new interests. The new booklet really does demonstrate more than any words can just how broad and varied our programme now is:

The College’s performance of Schools will rock you was our most successful yet, technically it was a complex production with light, audio and special effects that wowed audiences every evening, more than that it was a fabulous show case for our musical and dramatic talent. There are few secondary schools which could have a live band supporting a cast of over 100 students with choreography carried out by the students themselves. Our directors of drama and music, Leanne Mitchell and Matt Sammy do an incredible job leading a small team of dedicated staff to create a magnificent production that would not be out-of-place on London’s west end. The team are not resting on their laurels however and are already looking forward to next year’s productions of Charlie and the chocolate factory (year 7) and Beauty and the Beast (Years 8 and 9), whilst the senior students will have the opportunity to perform in Spain.

Our sports teams have had an incredibly busy and successful year; so much so that we have produced a special edition of connect to celebrate them all:

The under 13’s girls cricket team are through to the national finals, the triumph of Catmose in the annual triangular athletics competition, the KS3 county golf champions are just a few of the highlights of this year. The staff sports team, led by Oliver Teasel give a great deal of their time to plan, coach and support our teams and should be congratulated for their efforts.

Science week, which has grown in each of the last three years reached new heights this year with the launch of our Catmose mascot (the mouse) into near space on a weather balloon. We had visiting lectures from universities, a parachute jump into the grounds, a visiting planetarium and a demonstration on liquid nitrogen to name just a few of the highlights. One of our science teachers, Hena Odedra was responsible for the planning and implementation this year and created a set of experiences that will enthuse students about science for years to come.

The academic success of the College has continued to grow thanks to the hard work of staff and students, supported by parents and our governing body. We saw 91% of students reach the key bench mark of 5 A*-C this year, 68% including English and maths; our highest every performance for this key bench mark. A number of subjects performed exceptionally well; mathematics (Rebecca Wardhaugh, Reiva Mehra, Neil Mullinger, Simon Dean, Jason Richards, Colette Burns, Rhian Lewis), History (Kate Dodd and Virginia Savage), Physics (Susan Drake and myself (!)), Chemistry, Religious Studies (Jude Macdonald and Sue McGrath), Art (Alan Pimperton, Judith Spiers, Joan Townsend and Kim Hincks), Food Technology (Lynne James), Music Technology (Matt Sammy), BTEC PE (Oliver Teasel, Zak Hajat).

The growing reputation of the College as a school that provides an exception level of service in first class facilities has led to an increasing number of parents applying for their child to join us, this year we saw our highest number of applications with 266 students applying for just 180 places. It is never as easy decision to turn any child away but to admit more than 180 children into any one year group would prejudice the very things that make us such an attractive school in the first place. The Academy Trust of Catmose Federation however is exploring an extension to our existing buildings to try and reduce this difficulty in the medium term if this were to proceed it would add an additional 30 places to each year group.

The three-year plan has been structured to provide the outcomes of the College review which included observations of all teachers, surveys of staff, students and parents. This is supported by an analysis of the performance of students in year 11, the progress they make alongside comparisons against local and national performance. We also engage an experienced consultant who validates this process. It is all of this information which is used to determine our focus for the following twelve months.

Stuart Williams


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