The BLUE SCHOOL Information for Candidates Welcome to The Blue Applying for a new job is an important step so it’s vital that you learn as much about us as you can to decide whether this will be the right place for you. This information booklet attempts to provide you with an insight into life at The Blue School, to try to convey the things that are important to us, the strengths that we have and the areas that we are looking to develop over the coming years. When visitors spend time with us, and when new staff join the school, their first impressions are often related to the quality of the students, the commitment of the staff and the calm environment in which we operate (most of the time!). Our aim is to achieve the best that we can in all aspects of school life and we firmly believe that the culture of the school is such that this is a realistic goal for both students and staff. Details about the school The Blue School is an 11 to 18 Church of England coeducational Academy with nearly 1500 students. As the only state secondary school providing 11 to 18 education in the area, our students are drawn from the city of Wells and its surrounding villages and they provide us with a genuinely comprehensive intake. We enjoy a good reputation in the community and, consequently, we are regularly over-subscribed. Whilst being an Academy enables us to have greater autonomy in the management of the school, we still retain strong links with Somerset Local Authority and work closely with other local schools. The history of the school The history of our school dates back to 1641 when it was established as a charitable foundation as a result of a local churchman Ezekial Barkham’s legacy. The name was attached to it over time as a result of the blue uniforms that were provided for the original pupils. Today’s students are encouraged to take pride in the school’s history, which is celebrated by each Y7 in a Founder’s Day Service each year, and to value the traditions which have contributed to the development of their school. The original links with the local church community are continued today through some of its governors and the contribution of local clergy to some school events. As a Church of England School, we try to apply Christian values in our interactions with each other and in our assemblies, whilst recognising the differing religious backgrounds of our school community. The school staff We value the contributions that all staff make to the effectiveness of the school. The importance of staff is reflected in our school structures, in our approach to training and development and in our daily interactions with each other. New staff often comment on the high expectations that we have of each other, the professionalism with which we approach everything and the care and support that is a prominent feature of the school. We achieved Investors in People status in 1999 and three subsequent reviews have been successful. At all levels within the school, we invest significant amounts of time and money to support and develop our staff. We have a well established induction process for Newly Qualified Teachers which introduces them to important features of the school and which provides opportunities to discuss ideas and any concerns on a regular basis. They are supported throughout the year by a subject mentor and by one of our Senior Candidate Information Pack. Page 1 of 5. Professional Tutors. In addition to this, all staff have access to individualised training to develop their own expertise and to enhance the work of their team. Specific areas of training are formally agreed during the annual Performance Management reviews with Team Leaders, but we respond to needs as they arise throughout the year whenever possible. As a result of becoming a Training School in April 2008, more opportunities have become available for staff to undertake research and to gain accreditation for their learning and training. A major feature of the school is our commitment to training people to work in different roles within schools and the wider community. One of the features of the school is the strength of each of its many teams. Each of the curriculum, pastoral and support teams has a Team Leader who provides the vision and direction for their particular area, often with the support of a Deputy or an Assistant Team Leader. In such a large school, these teams are vital in creating opportunities for staff to share ideas and experiences and to develop networks of support. The Leadership Team of the school consists of the Headteacher, three Deputy Headteachers and the Business Manager. Whilst having their own specific role and responsibilities, each one is also linked to particular teams within the school and is actively involved in evaluating and supporting the work of all staff Each year we recruit well qualified staff who settle in to the school well and who quickly contribute to school life. There is a condition which we affectionately call “The Blue School Syndrome” which describes the experience of many of us who join the school with the intention of moving on after a couple of years but who become reluctant to leave the staff and students at The Blue. Our past record of developing new staff into positions of responsibility with the school contributes to the continuity of staffing that we enjoy. Having said that, staff find it easy to gain promotion in other schools as a result of their experience with us and several move on to new positions each year. The students and their learning One of the reasons for the success of the school is the nature of the students and the support that we receive from their families. Students join us from our 11 partner primary schools in Y7, as well as from outside of our traditional catchment area, and are placed in mixed ability tutor groups for their time in the school. Tutors stay with their group for the duration of Key Stages 3 and 4, working under the leadership of a Pastoral Team Leader. In Y7, students are taught in mixed ability groups for all subjects, except for Mathematics and English. As students progress through the school, more setting occurs with departments making decisions about the most effective ways for students to experience their subjects. There are a wide range of extra-curricular activities for students and we are always looking for ways of extending that provision. All students also have the chance to be part of the School Council which has a considerable impact on school life. Our school population is genuinely comprehensive and will give you the rewarding opportunity to work with youngsters with a wide range of abilities and individual needs. New staff often find the emphasis placed on student learning in the classroom refreshing and rise to the challenges that this brings. Although the majority of our students engage effectively and willingly with the learning ethos of the school, there are some who are less inclined or able to do so, which means that working at the school ensures that the full range of teaching and learning skills can be practised and further developed. The inclusive nature of the school is very important to us and it is something which is recognised by those who work with us to support the learning of more vulnerable groups of youngsters. Students achieve outstanding results at Key Stage 3 and in the Sixth Form whilst standards at Key Stage 4 are good. One of the priorities for us is to review the provision and progress of some less able students during their GCSE years so that the excellent progress by the end of Y9 can be sustained by all students. All staff in the school work hard to enable students to succeed. This includes the large number of support staff Candidate Information Pack. Page 2 of 5. who contribute to the learning of students by providing high quality administrative, financial, catering, premises and IT services, or by working directly with them in classrooms and around the school. The school environment The quality of our environment is a source of pride for us, and one which we believe contributes to the orderly atmosphere of the school. Our campus is a most attractive one, with approximately 32 acres of playing fields and a superb view across the city which creates a very green and spacious feeling to the place. In recent years we have redeveloped the buildings to create a Learning Resource Centre, a Design and Technology Centre, a Business Studies Suite, new dining areas, a Sports Centre, a new Science Block and, most recently, a Training Kitchen. Whilst there are still areas of the school that would benefit from being redesigned and refurbished, facilities for students and staff are of a high quality and plans are in place to attend to specific areas of the school in the future. In September 2003, the school achieved Science College status. Significant investment has been made in refurbishing existing Biology labs and building a new block to house Physics and Chemistry. The new Science Block also contains a state of the art Science/ICT lab which is proving of great benefit not only to our students, but also to the students of our Partner Primary Schools. Science and Mathematics rooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards, and a variety of learning opportunities have been introduced for students in both subjects. All other curriculum areas have benefited from improved resources and facilities as a result of the increased financial investment in the school. THE HISTORY DEPARTMENT The post: The school is looking to appoint an outstanding teacher of History. The ability to teach Politics would be an advantage but is not essential. Staffing: For September 2012, there will be five full-time specialist teachers of History including the Team Leader of the Department who all teach across the full age and ability range. Some of the team also teach Politics in the Sixth Form. The department enjoys the administrative support of a Curriculum Assistant who is shared with other subject areas. Courses: GCSE History: EDEXCEL Entry Level Certificate : WJEC AS and A2 History: AQA Politics AS + A2 - OCR Main features of the department: The department is located in the Milton block and shares a Staff Work Room with the Geography team. The Learning Resources Centre, in the middle of the campus, is used by students in all year groups for individual and group projects. The department is dedicated to engendering enthusiasm for the subject at all ages and ability levels and, to this end, ICT and fieldwork are built in to the schemes of work. Candidate Information Pack. Page 3 of 5. In Year 7, History is taught in mixed ability groups in which children with special needs receive support from the Learning Support Department. Pupils receive 1 x 75 minute lesson per week. In Years 8 and 9 there is the same time allocation and most pupils are taught in mixed ability groups but two small groups are created for pupils with special needs. History is a very popular subject at KS4, and exam results are excellent. Last year, 70% of students gained A* - C, with 34% achieving A* or A and these results are typical for recent years. There are currently 5 GCSE groups in Year 10 and 5 in Year 11. All groups receive 2 x 75 minute lessons per week. GCSE course content: Life in Germany 1919-1945 Crime and Punishment c1450 to the present Protest, Law and Order in the twentieth century Controlled Assessment: Vietnam Entry Level course content: Hitler’s Germany 1933-45 Crime and Punishment c1700-present The USA 1945-1990 Historical investigation on a local topic History is equally popular post 16, with students continuing to achieve excellent grades. There are 2 groups for AS and 3 for A2 which receive 4 x 75 minute lessons per week. AS course content: Britain 1815-65 African-American Civil Rights in the USA A2 course content: Monarchies and Republics in France 1815-1875 Coursework : Authoritarianism and democracy in Spain, Russia and Italy c1870-1995 Below is a brief outline of some of the activities in which the History Department has been involved in recent years: Year 7 fieldwork at Chepstow Year 9 Gifted and Talented Battlefields Trip Y12 Civil Rights Conference Y13 study day at UWE For further information about the department’s courses please see the KS4 and KS5 sections of the school website. The Post: To convey to pupils your enthusiasm and passion for History/Politics. To develop and maintain a positive working relationship with other members of the department team. To develop and maintain a positive relationship with students. Candidate Information Pack. Page 4 of 5. To plan, prepare and deliver lessons, which meet the requirements of internal and external course specifications. To monitor and report the progress of students as directed by the departmental and school assessment policies. To contribute to the use of ICT within History/Politics. To contribute to departmental meetings. To contribute to developing departmental resources and schemes of work. To be a tutor. To undertake all other duties associated with being a teacher at the Blue School The application process If working at The Blue School is something which excites you and you feel that you are able to contribute to the further development of the school, we look forward to working with you in the future. Please complete the application form accurately and return it with a letter outlining why you believe that your experience, interests and skills would make you suitable for the post. Candidates selected for interview will be given the chance to look round the school on the day and to meet students and staff as well as undertaking the more formal parts of the selection process. All jobs involving teaching require candidates to teach a short lesson on a topic provided by the school, in addition to a formal interview. If invited to interview, you will be asked to bring various pieces of documentation to verify your identity and to comply with the requirements of the Criminal Records Bureau in ensuring the safeguarding of children. Closing date for receipt of completed applications: Thursday, 21st June 2012 Interviews: Wednesday, 27th June 2012 Please return your completed application to Mrs Alison Cox at the school. The Blue School, Wells, Somerset BA5 2NR. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 01749 836264 Fax: 01749 836215. Candidate Information Pack. Page 5 of 5.