As our summer term draws to a close, it is marvellous to reflect upon the many achievements of the past year. This year started once again with an impressive performance from out GCSE students who equalled our highest ever percentage of students achieving 5 A*- C with English and maths with 40% of those results at either A* or A, a stunning accomplishment. The Coombe Sixth Form once again bucked the national trend of a decline in the top grades and we were absolutely delighted that 27% of entries at Advanced Level were awarded A/A* representing an increase on previous years and staggeringly 10% of the cohort achieved a clean sweep of A/A* grades. We were particularly pleased that our GCSE girls’ high attainment was recognised by an outstanding educational outcomes award for which we were recognised as being in the top 10% of schools nationally for exceptional attainment and progress.
We are very pleased to be able to celebrate these top grades and high attainment but above all, we are proud of the achievements of all of our students irrespective of their ability, future pathway and final educational outcomes. This year has also seen the consolidation of the Ad Astra programme designed to inform our Y10-Y13 students about exciting and inspirational pathways, careers and university courses, all of which focus on complementing their academic studies and the launch of our apprenticeship preparation programme for those interested in following this new and exciting pathway in the future. We watch the development of this as an alternative to higher education with interest and look forward to reporting back in the future on some of our students’ successes in this field via our newly formed alumni network.
A couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to see so many Year 10 girls and their parents at our Sixth Form Opportunities Evening; we are prioritising places for our internal students and with post 16 places becoming increasingly competitive, we look forward to receiving their applications before the end of term so that they can be processed at the very start of next academic year. We were also very pleased to welcome our ‘soon to be Year 7’ Coombe girls and their parents last week and very much look forward to seeing them at summer school and in September.
It is now a year since we were awarded National Teaching School status and this inaugural year has been an exciting one! The Kingston Teaching School Alliance (KTSA) has gone from strength to strength and we were very proud to be designated Specialist Partners in Initial Teacher Education and Research & Development with UCL/Institute of Education. A key priority for us all is to ensure that any strategic decisions we make over the coming years are firmly rooted in research and it is wonderful to be involved in a number of high profile national research projects all focusing on providing outstanding educational provision. We are particularly fortunate to be involved in a national project at the moment focusing on how schools can use best practice to embed a restorative justice approach with the overall aim of enhancing community cohesion and resilience. I have been so impressed to see how our students’ positivity, sense of well-being and empathy has really come to the fore as the research project has developed over the last year and we look forward to sharing the outcomes with you next year.
I would like to thank all our staff and students for another amazing year, wish you and your families a restful summer break and look forward to welcoming all members of the Coombe community back in September.
Deborah Walls, Executive Headteacher The Coombe Secondary Schools Academy
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