downend school prospectus 2011 final copy.indd

downend school prospectus 2011 final copy.indd

Downend School


Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Downend School is an exciting and vibrant learning community where every young person is supported to

achieve their very best.

At Downend we have high expectations of all our students. We expect them to reflect this in their

appearance, attitudes and behaviour. We are shaping the citizens of the future, and encourage our students

to be honest, fair and just in their dealings with each other and those in the world around them. We want

every student at Downend to have a sense of pride in belonging to our school community.

We aim to offer a very wide range of opportunities both within the classroom and in the wider life of the

school, nurturing the talents of every student to ensure their school experience is fulfilling and enriching.

We believe that every child is equal, but that they will need different experiences to make the most of their

talents. Our curriculum is based on a number of “Pathways”, with every child following a carefully designed

package of courses that allows the right level of personal challenge whilst enabling all students to achieve

excellent qualifications.

Downend students experience considerable academic success, and we are proud of the achievements of our

young people, many of whom go on to high-quality apprenticeships or to study at prestigious universities

including Oxford and Cambridge.

Downend has a long-established reputation for the quality of the support offered to students. We get to know

every student as an individual and work hard to ensure they are happy, safe and secure at school.

I look forward to welcoming you and your family to Downend so that you can experience our excellent

educational environment for yourselves.



Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Everyone here at the school looks forward to working with you to ensure the very best education for your

child. This prospectus should help you to become familiar with the school. Downend is a safe, caring community

where your daughter or son will flourish, enjoy learning and succeed.

We want to bring out the best in every student. This means that we have the highest expectations of each

student’s learning, respect for self and others, sense of community, dress, behaviour, and discipline. We

welcome the support of students, parents/guardians and our community in helping to fulfil these expectations.

This prospectus provides an introduction to our school. Young people flourish spiritually, academically and

socially at Downend and we hope these pages will show why. For the most up-to-date picture of Downend

you can also visit our website. However, the best way for you to appreciate what Downend offers is to see the

school on a typical working day. If you would like to visit us please telephone for an appointment.

You will be very welcome.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Downend School Aims

• To ensure that all students receive the best education.

• To ensure that students achieve the qualifications, skills and attitudes needed in a changing


• To provide a caring, successful school community where all are valued and respected for their

own sake and where every individual's contribution is encouraged and given recognition.

• To provide a stimulating environment which shows students that learning is an exciting life-long


• To encourage and help all students to develop talents, skills and interests, and moral and spiritual


• To involve all members of the community, especially parents, in the life of the school and in the

education of their children.

• To establish strong links with other stages of education, especially our partner Primary schools

and at Post 16 in the Kingswood Partnership.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

“Everyone at Downend School has a right to equal respect and consideration and to an education which

offers them every opportunity to fulfil their potential. Staff, Students, Parents and Governors working together,

we achieve that aim.”

We aim to ensure that all our students develop into confident, caring adults who are open to change, and

are receptive and generous to others. We are committed to genuine equality of access and opportunity so

that everyone can achieve their full potential.

A disciplined and well-organised school based on fairness, free expression and participation is vital to

these aims. The students' relationships with their tutor and the Personal, Social, and Health Education

programmes play an important part in the creation of this positive ethos.

Students and their Tutors

Every student belongs to a group under the care of a specific tutor. Student care involves guidance, counselling,

group activities, registration, assemblies and spending some informal time with the group. The tutor

is responsible for ensuring that students settle well into their new school.

The student has individual contact with their tutor through academic tutorials to discuss important issues

including progress and setting targets, and to review career choices.

We want every student at

Downend to have a sense of

pride in belonging to our

school community.


Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Year Teams

In each Year Group there are tutors working as a team led by an experienced Year co-ordinator and two

deputy co-ordinators. A tutor will normally stay with the group for the first three years and will get to know

the students very well. Year co-ordinators, deputy co-ordinators and tutors will normally be the main contacts

between parents and the school.

The School Day

Students should arrive at school by 8.45 a.m. Should a student be late to school (even if unavoidably) he or

she must report to the school office before going to lessons. Registration is electronic which allows close

monitoring of patterns of absence and lateness.

When a student is going to be absent from school, we ask parents to contact the school attendance officer

by telephone on the first day of absence. The school expects zero unauthorised absence for any student.The

attendance officer checks all registers daily and works closely with tutors and Year co-ordinators to track

student attendance. Parents will be contacted by telephone or letter if there is an unexplained absence or

there are other general concerns about attendance.

There is a wide variety of activities on site during the lunch break in which students are encouraged to take

part. Lunch times are short and it is the school’s policy that students are not allowed off-site unless parents

notify the school that their child is going home for lunch. A form is provided for this purpose.

Student Planner

This Planner is an important link between students in Years 9 to 11, their parents and the school. It is used

to record homework set, and contains pages which record the targets agreed between the student and the

tutor during academic tutorials. The Planner is monitored by tutors and senior staff – and we ask parents

to read and sign it every week. Homework timetables are copied by students into their Student Planner.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

The Student Voice and Year Councils

The Year Council consists of two students elected from each tutor group which meet regularly to discuss

issues related to the Year group. It is chaired by the Year or deputy Year co-ordinator. The Student Voice

consists of four representatives from each year group who meet termly with the Headteacher to discuss

ideas, policies and initiatives.

Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education

The PSHE course for all students includes Careers and Further Education guidance. Students can also consult

with ‘Connexions’ for careers advice, and a drop-in careers facility is available in the ‘Connexions’ suite.

Appointments for parents who wish to accompany their child to careers discussions can be arranged. A

wide variety of information, including computer databases and cd-roms, are available for students in the

school’s careers library and on the ICT network. Immersion days are arranged annually and links with commerce

and industry are actively encouraged.

Year 7 - 9 Curriculum

The Year 7 and 8 curriculum reflects the excellent work done within our partner Primary schools.

Students complete the Key Stage 3 Curriculum in the core National Curriculum subjects (English, Mathematics,

ICT and Science) at the end of Year 8, and all follow an accelerated programme of study in year 9.

The curriculum offers work and challenges relevant to students’ ability and learning style.

Students study Key Stage 4 Curriculum (GCSE courses) in Mathematics, English, ICT and Science. Students

take GCSE module examinations in a number of subjects at the end of Year 9. Some students may, in other

subjects, complete the Key Stage 3 Programme of Study ready to start their GCSE courses in Year 10.

Year 10 & Year 11 Curriculum

All students are offered a full entitlement of subjects and experiences.The curriculum offers each student a

broad and balanced education while encouraging individual interests. The school believes that all students

should experience a wide and varied programme including work in the creative, aesthetic and humanities

areas. In a rapidly changing world students may well follow more than one career and will need a broad

general education.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

School Uniform

The School Dress Code is intended to give a feeling of unity, to avoid social differences and to add to the

general appearances of members of the school. School uniform will be worn at all times and it is assumed

that parents/carers accept the regulations and support the school ethos. NO extremes of fashion, hair or

dress are allowed.

Outdoor coats

They must be suitably protective and of reasonable colour and design. They may NOT be worn inside the



Sensible black and plain with no colour flashes. NO boots, trainers or canvas shoes.


Blue with school logo.

Coloured zip tops, hooded tops and cardigans are NOT to be worn.


Plain black tailored trousers.

Denim trousers or leggings are NOT to be worn.


Plain black tailored and knee length.


Short sleeved polo shirt, plain white with school logo.


Permitted items include a wrist watch, a fine chain or a plain ring. These will have to be removed for

safety reasons in practical lessons.

Plain studs are permitted in pierced ears but no more than one per ear.

Nose and facial studs are NOT permitted.

Post 16 Dress

Post 16 students do not wear a uniform but are expected to dress smartly - avoiding extremes of fashion.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Parent comments

“I want to know how my child is getting on at school. Downend gives regular and detailed feedback on

progress and achievement. Teachers are friendly and approachable”.

“My son has grown in every way possible under the care, guidance and excellent teaching at Downend”.

Student comments

“Being part of Downend has been a great experience. All the new facilities have been the highlight of the

school. Knowledge I am going to be here for the rest of my school life, that’s the best bit. Any child is lucky to

come here”.

“I have really enjoyed meeting new people of different cultures. Being able to interact with different people

and having the chance to do different sports”.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Consultation Evening

We see learning as a skill for life and on everything we do, we aim to develop the essential skills of

independent learning.

These are an opportunity for the student and members of the family to visit the school and discuss progress

and successes. The dates of Consultation evenings will be published in the school calendar which your child

will receive at the start of the school year. One evening is held each year: the Parent-Subject evening to discuss

individual progress in specific subjects, and Year 7 parents have an additional evening, a parent–tutor

evening to discuss how your child is settling in.

Please attend your child’s Consultation Evening - this encourages the student and shows your support.

To support this at Downend we offer:

• A dedicated member of staff responsible for Gifted and Talented provision. Opportunities to take

part in G&T curriculum enhancing activities and visits.

• A specially created tutor programme in Year 7 which is aimed at improving literacy.

• Progress Reviews to track and monitor achievement three times a year.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Reporting to Parents

Parents receive full written reports once a year in all years and two interim reviews are sent throughout the

year. Parents of students who have particular educational needs will receive more information throughout

the year.

Reviews give both a predicted and potential grade for each subject. Predicted grades are the grades that a

student could achieve if the exam were taken at that point in their course. The potential grade is the minimum

grade the student should achieve at GCSE. These grades are regularly monitored by tutors, subject

teachers and Year co-ordinators. Tutors discuss them with students and set new targets to encourage improvement.

Parents have the right, on request, to see their child's records which are kept on file at the school - and

receive reports on progress in relation to the National Curriculum.


Homework is an integral part of your child's educational programme. It is a time for research, an opportunity

to complete course work and set tasks. Please encourage your child to complete homework, and to

understand its importance. If possible, try to provide a regular work space. Homework is set according to a

homework timetable issued at the beginning of each school year.

Marking policy

You should expect that your son’s or daughter’s work is marked regularly and in detail. A consistent marking

policy is used throughout the school to help students improve their learning and to keep parents in

touch with the standard their daughter or son has reached.

Each student’s work is assessed in three ways: for achievement (skills, knowledge, understanding), for effort,

and with written suggestions for further improvement from the teacher.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Parents & School in Partnership

A strong partnership between home and school through shared communication does bring success for

students. Staff are glad to meet parents and will respond promptly to any enquiry. Parents should call the

school office first.

Information Evenings

The school has a series of Information Evenings throughout the year.

In July, parents of children in Year 6 at the primary schools, have the opportunity to meet their child’s Year 7

tutor and other staff. The Sixth Form awards evening is held in September. In February an Options Evening

is held for parents of students in Year 9 to help them choose their GCSE courses.

Home-School Agreement

This sets out the mutual responsibilities between students of compulsory school age, their parents, and the

school to ensure that students are able to make the most of the educational opportunities available. It is

signed by every student in Year 7, their parents, and the Headteacher.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

School Activities

Learning for All

Pupils identified as being Gifted and Talented, will be included on the ‘Gifted and Talented Register’. As well

as being specifically catered for in the classroom, these pupils will also be able to access extra curricular

opportunities, including those at a national level.

Downend School strives to improve the internet-based ICT services that we offer to our students. All students

are given an e-mail account and access to the school’s learning environment.

Digital video is used by many students in all areas of the curriculum. We have extensive facilities which

include: Professional editing software, a film makers kit, digital cameras and camcorders. In the last three

years our students have won prizes in national film competitions.

Physical Education

The Physical Education Faculty offers a diversity of sports and activities throughout the year.

The facilities at the school are excellent and include a flood-lit ‘astro-turf’ pitch, cricket nets and square, an

athletics track, a large sports hall with climbing wall and a soccer pitch.

Team games and individual sports are well supported by all age groups in the school, which has an excellent

reputation in competitive sports at local, county and national levels:

• Soccer Teams have represented South Gloucestershire in National Competitions at under-15 and

under-18 levels

• Netball teams have represented South Gloucestershire in County competitions

The aim is to encourage students to appreciate the benefits and enjoyment of regular physical exercise to

maintain good health as a normal part of their lives.

This is encouraged in every Year group with regular inter-house fixtures. There is a wide variety of popular

and well attended extra-curricular clubs which meet during the lunch hour or after school.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012


The school has a strong tradition in drama with excellent exam results and resources including a fully

equipped performing arts studio.

Students regularly perform their own plays in school and in the community, and work with other schools

in the area.

Frequent visits by professional performers and companies complement students' work. We have working

links with Bristol Old Vic and the BBC.


Music is an increasingly popular subject within the school offering a wide variety of interest in many different


The department has three music specialists supported by 17 visiting instrumental staff and voice teachers.

The facilities include a recital room, recording studio, and three practice rooms.

A choir, a Samba band, a rock band, and many instrumental ensembles offer students plenty of opportunities

for composition and public performance. Concerts and recitals feature regularly.


Dance has increased in popularity over the last few years and the school now has a Dance specialist. A

range of extra-curricular activities is offered in all years with several performance opportunities for students

which include dance shows and projects with the Music and Drama departments.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Resources and Facilities

Information Technology

The school has extensive networked facilities which include PCs equipped with the latest software, laser

printers, scanners and digital cameras.

In addition to the seven fully equipped ICT rooms, all curriculum areas and the library are networked and

have their own ICT facilities. Interactive white boards and data projectors are used by staff and students

for presentations.

The school has its own Intranet, available via the school’s website to ensure continuity for students while

working at home.

On the intranet we provide:

• information about all courses offered in the school;

• a variety of learning resources to help students study and revise;

• information to help students with course work;

• useful linked sites for specific subjects to broaden subject knowledge including access to

newspapers around the world for up-to-date information;

• information about staff vacancies and professional development within the school;

• ‘What’s On at School’ – the school calendar is updated weekly to give the latest information about

events taking place;

All students in Years 9 to 11 study ICT and a full range of ICT courses at GCSE, and AS/A2 are offered.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Learning Resource Centre

The Centre is a large, well equipped and quiet place for private study. It offers:

• up-to-date texts for all courses and a range of reference works;

• newspapers and magazines;

• a full careers library;

• digital video centre with editing suite

• loan service for cameras and other equipment

• full surround sound cinema

All facilities are accessible for anyone with limited mobility using ramps or lifts.

Other information

Religious Education

Spiritual and moral education are important across the whole curriculum. All students in Years 7 to 9

follow a Religious Studies course with an opportunity to take this on to GCSE and AS/A level.

Careers Education and Guidance

The Personal and Social and Health Education (PSHE) course for all students includes Careers and Further

Education guidance. Students can also consult with ‘Connexions’ for careers advice, and a drop-in careers

facility is available in the ‘Connexions’ suite. Appointments for parents who wish to accompany their child

to careers discussions can be arranged.

A wide variety of information, including computer databases and cd-roms, is available for students in the

school’s careers library and on the ICT network. Industry Awareness days are arranged annually and links

with commerce and industry are actively provided.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

School Calendar

Parents will receive a calendar which is also on the website during the first week of the Autumn term which

will give dates of all exams, reviews and reports as well as other information.

Admission to the School

Students are admitted to the Downend School in accordance with the South Gloucestershire’s Policy for

Admissions which arranges admissions in the light of the school Standard Number which is currently 210

for each year.

Extra Curricular Programme

There is significant provision of academic clubs across the full range of subject areas. Here students receive

extra support with course work, homework and revision. The Learning Resource Centre is also open to

students after school.

The school values and encourages a wide range of links with the local community in all curriculum areas

and Year groups.

Students visit theatres, concerts, cinemas and art galleries, and take part in music and drama productions.

Visiting speakers and workshops in Art, Drama, Music and English all help to widen the curriculum. The

school newsletter and the school’s extranet publishes these dates. A termly timetable details all homework,

sport and music clubs.

Exchanges and Field Trips

Community links across the world are developed by a variety of exchanges to France and Germany. We also

organise many visits each year to support and enhance learning. Many of our visits are within the locality

including cultural visits and regular theatre trips. We also organise mainland Europe visits, trips to New

York, and in recent years, the established World Challenge groups have been on expeditions to Bolivia, Zambia

and Botswana, the Indian Himalayas and Mongolia. Field trips take place during the year for Biology,

Geography and History students.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012


The School believes in a well-organised community, emphasising a positive atmosphere based on care,

courtesy, commonsense and self-discipline. Respect for each other is expected from everyone and bad language

is not acceptable at any time. No one should ever seek to hurt another or misuse or damage their


Leaving the premises

A student needing to leave the premises during the day must bring a note from their parents or guardian

informing their tutor. The tutor will then authorise a pass using the student diary. The student must always

report to the School Reception to sign out and back in.

A parent or a guardian must always complete a Leave of Absence form (see the Student’s Year Co-ordinator).

The school actively discourages parents from taking students on holiday during the term and will only

approve holiday absences in exceptional circumstances. Unapproved absence will be recorded as ‘unauthorised’.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012

Mobile phones

If students wish to carry mobile phones/personal music players for the journey to and from school and for

personal use at break and lunch times only they do so at their own risk. The school takes no responsibility

for loss or damage to them. The school suggests that students do not bring valuable items to school on PE

days or when participating in extra-curricular activities.

Phones must be turned off in lessons (not on silent). Any phones or music players that are visible or used

in lessons (unless a member of staff gives permission for their use in that lesson) will be confiscated and

returned at the end of the day. This equipment should not be used to photograph or film other students.

Students have access to a telephone at the Student Centre should they need to contact home during the

school day in an emergency. Parents needing to contact students in an emergency should also do so via the

Student Centre.


Students are encouraged to drink water in most lessons; this improves concentration and performance.

Smoking - is not allowed by students in school, whilst in uniform or in the vicinity of the school.

Alcohol and Drugs - These are completely forbidden in school.

Knives – are completely forbidden in school. It is an offence to carry a knife or other offensive weapon on

the school premises. The school will take severe action and will always call the Police.

Downend School Prospectus 2011-2012


Students are advised not to bring valuable items such as mobile phones or mp3 players to the school

premises. The school cannot accept liability for their loss or damage.

Food and drinks

Food can be bought in the dining room for lower school students and the Sixth Form snack bar. Space is

available in the dining room and for eating packed lunches. Students may eat in the grounds in suitable

weather. Food may not be consumed in classrooms or corridors.

Personal Responsibility

Rewards are the best way to develop responsibility, and personal achievement is recognised by commendations.

High quality work, helpful service to the school community and excellent attendance are all rewarded

by either commendations or postcards sent to the student’s home.

The Student Planner is used to record homework, targets and commendations, and is a further way for

parents and the school to keep in touch. Outstanding work receives a personal letter of commendation from

the Headteacher.


Withdrawal of privileges or detention may be used to make a point about a student’s behaviour whether in,

or out of, the classroom. Detentions may be given and parents will be given 24 hours notice of any detention

after school; they will also be informed if a student has been excluded from lessons at any time. The

ultimate sanction is suspension or exclusion. This is rarely imposed but is especially relevant to any violent




Downend School

Westerleigh Road


South Gloucestershire BS16 6XA


Tel: 01454 862300




Post 16



Main Block

Sutherland Avenue

Boscombe Crescent

Garnett place



Westerleigh Road

We believe that every child is equal, but

that they will need different experiences to

make the most of their talents. Our

curriculum is based on a number of “Pathways”,

with every child following a carefully

designed package of courses that

allows the right level of personal

challenge whilst enabling

all students to achieve excellent


Design/art direction/typography/illustration-Nick Smith at Downend School c


Photography-Sean Malyon

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