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Through to Final Stage of World Class Schools’ Accreditation

5 November 2018 | School News

Weatherhead High School is one of only 25 schools, across the UK, to get through to the final stage to become a World Class School.

On 1st November 2018 our Head Girl Katy, and Year 11 and 10 students Millie and Polly, represented Weatherhead at the final assessment stage for the 2018 cohort of schools applying to achieve the World Class Schools Quality Mark (WCSQM) accreditation.

WCSQM has been accrediting OFSTED outstanding schools in the UK since 2014, using a framework of skills and competencies young people need to flourish in an emerging global economy.

The award’s uniqueness lies in the fact that the students are assessed with regard to whether they are World Class or not, rather than the school itself. The premise is, that if the school is truly World Class, then its students should be able to demonstrate this in whatever context they find themselves.

Sixteen secondaries, 7 primaries and 2 special schools made it through to the assessment centre stage.  Here, three students from each school worked in small teams, as part of a larger team of 72, to complete the assessment projects.

Pictured (below): Weatherhead students and their assessment project teammates.

Riverbank Academy, an outstanding special secondary school in Coventry, and part of the Sidney Stringer Multi Academy Trust, hosted the 2018 WCSQM Assessment Centre.

This year the students were given the challenge of working together to develop the Riverbank Academy school grounds to promote accessibility, independence and a love of learning for their students through the redesign and renovation of the 16+Hub area, sensory garden and main reception entrance. Students were required to carry out pre-event planning, research, design work and practical work on the day to complete their challenge, creating display boards, furniture, decoration and learning and relaxation spaces for students, taking into account practical, environmental and learning considerations. Riverbank Academy staff and Alex Green, energy efficiency consultant from LESS CO2 were on hand to provide support throughout the day. A panel of experts, including Wendy Tomes, CEO of the Sidney Stringer Multi Academy Trust, and the head boy and head girl of Riverbank Academy arrived in the afternoon for a presentation of the projects at the end of the day.

The Assessment Centre is the fourth and final stage of the rigorous application process schools follow in order to gain the coveted title of World Class. Initially, a school is recommended by another World Class school or leading educational organisation, and, in the case of secondary schools, the school’s Key Stage 4 data is assessed to test that students at the school make World Class progress. Stage two includes a school visit by Miranda Perry, Director of WCSQM.  At the third stage the World Class students carry out an audit to identify what it is about their school that had made them World Class. The audit involves the creation of a video, ‘A week in the life of…’ demonstrating how the school is World Class on a day-to-day basis.

This is the fifth year of World Class Schools’ accreditation, and the biggest cohort of schools to apply to date. Of the 31 schools nominated for World Class accreditation this year, only 25 made it to this final stage, and now wait to hear whether their students’ hard work has paid off. The host school, Riverbank Academy, is one of the applicant schools, and their students had the added bonus of knowing they would be directly benefiting from the work they were helping to carry out. A team of assessors, students and staff drawn from schools who are already World Class, shadowed each applicant student during the process, and will be assessing students’ performance, teamwork and materials produced against the WCSQM framework.

“These are absolutely exceptional students. I was incredibly impressed by how well they worked together as a team, and the insightful questions they asked,” Alex Green Schools Programme Manager at Ashden LESS CO2

“It was tremendous to see how positively students from Year 6 right through to Year 13 worked together to achieve their goal. We were incredibly impressed with the high standard of work produced by the students on the day- you can absolutely see why they were nominated by their school as being World Class.” Miranda Perry, Director of WCSQM.

“Our students have worked so hard in every stage of the assessment process and we cannot wait to hear if we are a World Class School or not.” Miss Whelan, Headteacher.

The successful schools will be announced and celebrated at the WCSQM Awards Ceremony, hosted by St Thomas’ Hospital in Governor’s Hall on 6th December 2018, with Professor Chris Bonnell, Professor of Public Health Sociology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, officiating.

Good luck to all the schools taking part this year and, regardless of the outcome, we should all be proud of how we’ve represented our schools and worked together as a team on such rewarding projects.