We strive for Woolwich Poly to be a beacon of progress for our community in terms of achievement, behaviour and ambition. We celebrate our students' and staff's diversity and, while we recognise that some of our students' parents' own experience of education may have been difficult, we support our families to raise their expectations to make our area of London culturally and economically progressive.
Woolwich Polytechnic is an outstanding school as nearly all our students make outstanding progress in nearly all of their GCSEs from their starting points at key stage 2. Students from different groups, including disabled students and those with special educational needs, those who speak English as an additional language, and those eligible for additional funding, make excellent progress because they benefit from well-targeted and skilful additional support. Teaching is at least consistently good and frequently outstanding. In almost all lessons, teachers have high expectations and challenge students to excel in their learning, regardless of their ability. Our Raising Standards Leaders for each year group track students’ progress and intervene to ensure that all students have a curriculum that is valid, teaching that is at least good and results that enable them to make choices beyond their schooling with us.
The school's curriculum is outstanding. It offers students a wide range of appropriate and varied courses that meet the needs and interests of students of all abilities across all key stages. At KS3, we have a long-standing ACE (Accelerated Core Experience) programme for students who enter the school with specific needs in literacy and numeracy, taught by primary specialists. This programme has been highly successful with students entering the mainstream curriculum at KS4 and achieving outstanding outcomes. Similarly, for extra challenge, our GSI (Grammar School Intake) students complete a more challenging and rigorous curriculum in the core subjects at KS3, enhanced by varied enrichment opportunities. At KS4, our curriculum is diversifying so all students have an opportunity to excel in their options, whilst maintaining the highest achievement in English and maths to ensure their progress beyond, into 6th Form, apprenticeships and the world of work, further enhanced by two weeks of work experience. Our SEND students are supported from key stage 3 to 5 through 'Quality First Teaching' to ensure that their progress is at least commensurate with whole school and national averages: our teachers and learning support assistants ensure that SEND students access the curriculum and excel.
Students' social, moral, spiritual and cultural development is well supported through a rich curriculum and a variety of extra-curricular activities and educational visits. Students' behaviour across the school is outstanding: they are proud of their multicultural community, celebrate being 'Poly and Proud' and are respectful and courteous to each other and their teachers. This contributes to the purposeful, calm and harmonious atmosphere in lessons and around the school.
Our sixth form is outstanding and we are determined to make our offer even better. Teaching is very strong and students are given excellent guidance and support to help them successfully move on to higher education, training or employment. Our headteachers, senior leadership team, governors and staff know our school and students exceptionally well and are all determined to build on our success in improving teaching and students' achievement and wellbeing so that they continue to have great success after they leave Woolwich Polytechnic.
We are an outward-looking school, keen to draw on experiences from other schools and organisations to ensure that we offer our students the best school experience we can; but we are also an inward-looking school, always striving to overcome the next challenge in our development.
We were delighted with our Key Stage 5 outcomes which showed us in ALPS 2 for Year 12 and ALPS 4 (very close to a 3) for Year 13. This has led to outstanding progression to university with double the national average attending Russell Group universities including our first girl to attend Cambridge (Chemical Engineering) and one student studying medicine. This is the second year running that we have sent student to Cambridge and medicine. Our Sixth Form numbers are at a record level and are rising.
We were extremely pleased to once again be above national averages for the combined English and Maths outcomes. 45% of students gained 9-5 in both English and Maths and 69% gained 9-4. English gained an ALPS 4 and Maths and ALPS 3. Given that boys’ performance nationally is notably lower than girls, we are very pleased with this performance which is part of a long trend of strong outcomes.
Our predicted Progress 8 score is +0.1 which is an improvement of +0.3 from last year. We are naturally very pleased, Given that the boys’ national average last year was -0.23, we are very happy to be so far above this figure. Our Maths P8 score is particularly pleasing at +0.4. The scores in all four buckets rose by approximately +0.3 from the previous year which shows that our impact is being felt across the curriculum.
We are the heart of the school, both literally within the site, and also in the way that we link up pastoral with academic departments so that our students feel supported at all stages of their development, academically, socially and emotionally.
We consider ourselves to be all teachers of SEND at Woolwich Poly and our teachers differentiate their lessons to ensure that all make good progress. We always maintain the highest expectations, regardless of need and refuse to see SEND as a barrier to learning and success.
Our learning support team is very well established so that they tailor their approaches to our students’ different needs. They are also very well integrated into school life, being co-tutors as well as supporting in lesson and even on duties, which enables them to get a full appreciation of the students as a whole. This joined-up approach is also represented by the assistant head teacher in charge of learning support who works in partnership with the pastoral head to ensure all our students can access their curricula and thrive.
We tailor our provision to ensure that both parents and students have a say in their support. Our provision mapping delivers a range of targeted support to sustain excellent outcomes for all SEND students. A particular strength, we believe, is our partnership with parents so that we all work towards common aspirational goals that enable their children to achieve very well over time: we regularly meet with parents and they can always depend upon both the learning support and pastoral teams to assist with developing their children’s social, emotional and academic needs. Similarly, students have a voice that is listened to within the school, again through the staff in learning support, the student council and through their pastoral care, including tutors and heads of year. The local authority’s local offer supports our students further, providing clubs and interventions that work with children and their families. We believe that students’ successes are at their best when student, parent, local authority and our staff work together towards common goals.