We start the new academic year in a celebratory mood following another successful year. Our ethos is one that embraces the whole person, not just what they accomplish in lessons but everything else that ensures they are ready for the challenges of the adult world. The success of Catmose cannot be measured by examination results alone but more in the way we help to transform our nervous Year 7 into confident adults who have the qualifications, experiences and character to navigate an increasingly complex world.
Our electives programme continues to be at the heart of our curriculum – offering students the opportunity to learn something new whilst developing their character and cultural understanding. The programme continues to grow with courses such as learning traditional carpentry at Oakham Castle, conversational Italian and street dance appearing alongside long-established courses such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and musical productions, amongst 100 or so others. We will also be introducing electives that will prepare students to make the most of their visits abroad including the Iceland tour, Ski trips and the Sumatra expedition. The electives programme in our recent surveys remains the most successful aspect of our curriculum for our students.
The range and variety of trips and visits this year has continued to grow, offering students very broad experiences outside of the classroom. The return of exchanges to Germany, Spain and France have given Languages real impetus and have contributed to 70% of students opting to study a language at GCSE this year. We saw every student in the College take part in at least one trip or visit – a massive but important undertaking.
Our Sport teams continue to impress, alongside winning the Rutland and Melton Varsity Competition for the fourth year running, we won 26 of the competitions outright, a new personal best. We have also competed at a County level with our Year 10 Girls’ Netball and Year 10 Boys’ Rugby winning the Leicestershire competitions. We now have over 130 students on our elite sport programme having been awarded sports scholarships with additional support through a nutrition seminar, training at Leicester Tigers and coaching by Olympic Basketballer, Drew Sullivan – some of the highlights this year. Catmose is the best school in the local area for students interested in competitive sport.
The Performing Arts Team continue to offer a diverse and exciting programme of events. Over 180 Year 7 students watched a live performance of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, rehearsed the production and then performed it live to their families in the summer. Our school production this year was ‘High School Musical’ and we are already starting rehearsals for Madagascar. We also saw trips to New York where students experienced Broadway shows and took part in drama workshops. A group of KS4 students watched ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ in London. Our students have also performed at the Royal Albert Hall, supported the charitable work of the High Sheriff alongside a number of performances for our community at Christmas and in the Spring. This year we introduced individual drama lessons, similar to those that we offer for musical instruments and we extended our scholars programme to drama.
The College’s examination results also continue to impress. In a period when many schools have narrowed their curriculum, offering a limited range of subjects, Catmose continues to offer students a very broad choice. This challenges them academically but also allows them to fulfil their future ambitions. Students are able to opt for the separate Sciences of Physics, Chemistry or Biology, Music and Drama GCSE, the full range of Arts courses, GCSE Sport, Philosophy and Ethics, applied courses, which sit alongside the core academic subjects. Our examination results remain very strong with over 80% of students achieving English and Maths with very high attainment for our most able and strong progress across all subjects for every child.
With increasing numbers of students going on to study the most academic A levels they leave themselves well placed to do exceptionally well in the next stage of their education. 47 students leave with 5 A or A* (or 7, 8 and 9) grades and 20 of these students gained at least 8 A or A* grades, these were:
We have seen over the summer the building start for a new catering facility, which will further extend our in-house food offer, reduce queues and increase seating capacity. We have also converted the old nursery building into a conference room and offices that will house our central services team (finance, publishing, data and site) which will free up much-needed space in each Federation school. In January the area currently being used as a children’s centre will revert back to the College and this too will be reconfigured to provide additional space for teaching and offices.
We are not complacent however, and believe there is still much we can do to improve. We survey parents, staff and students each year and alongside this look at lesson observations, student forums and outcomes to focus our priorities. This year will be ensuring:
- there is a broader range of lower cost trips and visits.
- any absent teachers are covered by specialist in-house colleagues so that students are able to learn as well as they normally do.
- a continued focus on high expectations and no tolerance of persistent disruptive behaviour in lessons.
- all students, whatever their ability or background, make exceptional progress.
- the tutorial programme covers the topics that students are most concerned about and whose quality is comparable with our best lessons.
- introducing an electronic communication system that will allow parents to be better informed and able to engage more readily in a way that suits them.