Wellington Academy opened in September 2009 in Tidworth, Wiltshire replacing Castledown Foundation School (roll 527). In 2011 the school became Wiltshire’s only state boarding school, with accommodation for 100. Wellington’s intake continues to be significantly below national average for attainment and the school remains hugely popular with parents (roll 1130). In 2013, 62% of students received Pupil Premium with the Academy having the highest number of children from services families of any secondary school nationally. The sixth form, only opened in 2009, is one of the fastest growing anywhere in the country with over 300 students and excellent results. The school’s ethos and values are summarised in the Staff charter 2013, the original version of which was drawn up by Castledown Staff prior to opening. Wellington Academy has never permanently excluded (officially or unofficially) a single student – a remarkable achievement given Castledown’s lamentable record in this regard.
Wellington Academy Boarding House film, June 2013 (and click on Boarding House)
Headlines since opening
2009-2010 New uniform, new paint job, new ethos, after a year of planning the Academy was opened by ex-Schools Minister Jim Knight MP. Dedication service to mark the opening of the Academy held at St Paul’s Cathedral in October with every Wellington College and Academy pupil present. Four students accompany me to meet HM The Queen at Wellington College to look at the design for the new buildings. Two governors accompany me to Buckingham Palace to brief our President HRH Duke of York. First Wilts school to have a PCSO on site as part of Safer Schools Partnership. First set of GCSE results – 43 to 98% 5A*-C, 29 to 45% 5A*-C with EM and the highest value added for any Wilts non-selective school. Highest excluding to lowest excluding in Wilts. 274 days lost down to 32. Joint Christmas show with Wellington College of We Will Rock You. New building going up alongside old school. 35 students in first sixth form. Applied Learning Centre #1 opens with a hair and beauty studio.
2010-2011 Move into stunning new building designed by BDP over extended Easter holiday in April 2011. Nine students become the first in their families to go to university. Average A-level grades BCC. GCSE results 97% 5A*-C, 85% 10+A*-C, 40% 5A*-C with EM, 98% 5A*-G. Ofsted monitoring visit (section 8) in Dec 10 gave us a grade 1, ‘outstanding progress’. Claire Perry MP joins governing body, along with Help for Heroes Founder Bryn Parry. Joint Spring show of Oliver! with Wellington College, performed over 4 nights in Tidworth and Crowthorne. Partnership with Help for Heroes sees recovering personnel being taught to cook by our sixth form students. Applied Learning Centre #2 in Castledown Business Park opens with a construction specialism, supported by a £100K grant from Plain Action. Applied Learning Centre #1 expands to include Castledown Radio studios (104.7fm) and a dedicated beauty studio.
2011-2012 Our twin boarding houses opened in September with 15 students, alongside purpose built cadet centre, sponsored by 26 Royal Engineers based at nearby Perham Down. HRH Duke of York performs the official opening of the campus in November. Ofsted section 5 inspection in Dec 11 gave us a grade 3, ‘satisfactory’ with 2 main improvement points around raising attainment, especially in maths and weaknesses in governance. 35 Academy students perform alongside Wellington College pupils, plus Will Young and Rory Bremner at the Albert Hall in April. Year 7 students accompany me to meet HM The Queen, this time at Salisbury Cathedral during the Golden Jubilee celebrations. Average A-level grades BBC and 11 students to university, including Southampton, the first Russell Group entrant. GCSE results 97% 5A*-C, 83% 10+ A*-C, 47% 5A*-C with EM, 95% 5A*-G set a new record. Summer Arts festival launched over 2 weeks at end of summer term. Applied Learning #2 doubled in size to include more trades.
2012-2013 Boarding numbers up to 65. Humanutopia begin work across the school, and then the college, on anti-bullying and respect. School re-timetabled over Christmas to provide more curriculum time for English and maths. House of Commons Defence Select Committee hold an extensive evidence gathering session in Academy in March on education of services children. Wilts Council hold a full Council meeting in our theatre during school hours, while County Hall is being refurbished. Co-lead bid at County Hall for Wellington College to secure sponsorship of new Primary school in Tidworth, in partnership with Cabot Learning Federation. Due to increasing popularity and housing expansion in Tidworth, funding is secured for a new sixth form centre on the adjacent Business Park. Academy students reach regional finals of Rock Challenge with Our War, a dance that illustrates the impact of deployment on services families. A film of the performance was shown at Sandhurst. Academy students star in Sunday Times Education Festival at Wellington College, including a clean sweep of all 3 Masterchef trophies. The 2 week Summer Arts festival now an established part of the school and community calendar. Record A-level results, with 31% grades A*-B, up 11% and 28 students into university including Liverpool (Russell Group). GCSE results 15% 5+A*-A (up 10) 44% 5A*-B (up 20), 95% 5A*-C (down 2), 37% 5AC with EM (down 10*), 99% 5+A*-G (up 4), VA 1009 (up from 991), best 8 GCSE score 346pts (up from 327), 100% 1A*-G (up 1). Maths 3L+ 58% (up 11) 4L+ 18% (up3).
*What caused the problem was English AC 44 (from 59), with 3L down 12%. 14 students were affected by grade boundary changes at C/D on the English Foundation paper. 45 grade Ds, only 10 Cs from 90 entries. Re-marks pending.
2013 onwards Boarding numbers up to 85. 3 deputies in place for only second time since opening. Applied Learning Centre #1 completed with the installation of post-16 industrial catering kitchen, with restaurant and a small inclusion unit. Plans in place for new WC sponsored Primary School in Tidworth, opening 2014 and WA Sixth Form Centre opening 2015.