Wrenn Academy is a coeducational school with 1070 pupils, including 135 in the Sixth Form based on the outskirts of the town of Wellingborough. Its pupils are mostly drawn from the town, but also join the Academy from surrounding villages. The Academy has a genuinely multicultural and mixed-ability intake.
Wrenn is a split-site school, reflecting the fact that, for around 45 years, it operated as two separate schools. Wellingborough High School (for girls) was established at our ‘Broadway’ site on London Road in 1911, while our Doddington Road site was originally Wellingborough Grammar School (for boys), founded in 1930. The two schools amalgamated to form Wrenn comprehensive school (named after Harry Wrenn, the last Headteacher of the Grammar School and part-time author of crime fiction) in 1975. In 1993 the school was incorporated as a Grant Maintained School, and became an academy with The Educational Fellowship in September 2013.
Few comprehensive schools can boast so grand and well-appointed a campus. First-time visitors are invariably impressed as they drive up the London Road towards the Broadway site. The Doddington Road site, through being less prominently situated, loses little in comparison.
The two sites are actually only 500 yards apart. Years 7, 8 and the Sixth Form are based at Broadway with Years 9, 10 and 11 housed at Doddington Road.
The Academy’s popularity, and consequent expansion, have meant that a great deal of development has taken place over the last 15 years. A new ICT Learning Hub and a suite of Art rooms have been added at Doddington Road, and the Broadway site has seen the opening of a new Music block, all-weather floodlit pitch, and the expansion of our Sixth Form facilities.
At their visit in 2015, Ofsted rated the Academy as good for behaviour. Visitors to our Academy frequently compliment them on the welcoming atmosphere they help to create.
In academic terms, our intake represents a rich cross-section. There are a number of pupils with learning difficulties: we have built up a strong reputation for our SEN and EAL provision, not least through our highly capable team of Learning Support Assistants. Equally, though, there are a number of very able pupils, and we have an extensive programme of support for those youngsters as well, both within and beyond the formal curriculum.
A strong ethos of learning pervades throughout the Academy, high quality teaching is expected and students are challenged throughout their time with us to deliver their very best.
From a pastoral standpoint, the Academy has well-established support systems, certainly for staff (to enable them to teach in a calm and purposeful atmosphere), but also for the youngsters and their families. As a school for us developing students personally is as important as formal qualifications, in order to equip them for their future lives.
“We believe that EVERY student has the right to an outstanding education that gives them the best chance in life”
We are lucky in having a group of staff who, at all levels, teaching and non-teaching, are not only highly skilled, but are also friendly and supportive. There is an established induction programme and mentoring scheme for new staff, and a full programme of support for newlyqualified teachers, and more experienced staff.
We aim to provide a learning environment in which each pupil can develop to his or her full potential in a happy, ordered, challenging and satisfying atmosphere. Our pupils arrive at Academy eager to learn and our priority is to maintain that excitement throughout their Academy career.
Our pastoral organisation is on a year-group basis with a Progress leader leading a team of form tutors. Staff are expected to act as form tutors, guiding pupils and taking part in the PSHE teaching programme.
At Key Stage 4 the Academy offers a range of options to satisfy the learning needs, interests and abilities of all our pupils. Apart from the more traditional classroom subjects, this includes a wide variety of practical subjects.
The popularity of our sixth form has enabled us to offer a wide range of subjects at Level 3. Results at ‘AS’- and ‘A’-level have been good for a number of years, and this fact, along with the caring and supportive working environment created by our sixth form team, has been commented on by Ofsted at each visit over the past 10 years.
Wrenn has a rich tradition of extra-curricular activities and events. Sporting results and participation are excellent, and contributions to this from outside the PE department are welcomed. Likewise, the Academy has a particularly strong musical pedigree; supported by our talented peripatetic team, a number of ensembles and soloists have achieved a justifiably superb local reputation. The Academy has its own Art Gallery, used not only as a home for exhibitions from a range of local and national artists, but also as a showcase for our own students’ work. The Academy’s dramatic tradition, and reputation for dance, should not be overlooked either.
The town of Wellingborough is ten miles from Northampton and the M1 motorway. The rail link to London (St Pancras) is excellent – less than an hour’s journey – and we are almost equidistant from Cambridge, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon. The town has a new theatre and a wide range of recreational facilities. The Borough Council and Sport England have located a £400,000 all-weather playing surface and pavilion at the Academy; this is widely used by the local community as well as by our own students.
The Future Strategy for the Academy
In our most recent Ofsted Inspection, in 2015, we received a rating of ‘Requires Improvement’. What was clearly acknowledged by the inspection team throughout their report was the journey that the Academy is on. We are very clear as a team about the direction the Academy will take, and what needs to be done to get there.
All of our stakeholders; Leaders, staff, students and parents alike are clear about the expectations placed upon them and opportunities this offers. We will be outstanding!
The School is proud to be an Academy within The Education Fellowship (TEF). TEF is an academy chain with a distinctive vision for its students. Our aim as a TEF Academy is for “Educational Excellence” with all our students, regardless of their background or ability, and with the support of its highly-experienced team, we know that we will be able to do precisely that.