At Westhoughton High School we:
Look after each other
Enjoy our school
Respect ourselves, others and our environment
Never stop learning
Westhoughton High School is a group 7, 11-18, mixed community comprehensive school situated close to the centre of the growing town of Westhoughton within Bolton Metropolitan Borough. The school receives young people mainly from Westhoughton itself, but some students attend from the neighbouring communities of Blackrod, Bolton, Atherton and Hindley.
Much of the school buildings date back to the 1930s. There are five buildings in total, the most recently built and opened in 2002. There has been strategic investment in school facilities in recent years to ensure that all developments improve the learning environment. Our emphasis has been on refurbishment and redesign and students have recognised how the learning environment has improved.
The most recent project was completed in summer 2011 which has resulted in re-designed and increased canteen facilities, and the creation of outdoor social spaces for our students.
There has been significant investment in digital projectors and interactive whiteboards and approximately three quarters of our rooms are now equipped with this technology. From September 2008 all teaching rooms have a digital projector. We actively invest in technology that when used effectively will promote learning.
Our most recent inspection visit, (February 2011) has clearly evidenced the significant progress that has been made during the past three years and it is pleasing to have our school graded as a ‘good’ school. The report highlights:
· The school provides a caring environment where all students are valued.
· Students feel safe in the school.
· The school itself is a harmonious community.
· In the large majority of lessons, teaching is good and, in some instances inspirational.
· Relationships between students and adults are characterised by mutual respect.
· The school has a highly effective partnership with a cluster of local secondary schools.
· Leadership at all levels is focussed on improving provision and, as a result, the school’s capacity for sustained improvement is good.
· A climate of greater accountability has been created and high expectations are now the norm.
· There is a tangible commitment to improving outcomes for students.
GCSE results have shown steady improvement and in the last five years have increased from 42% to 73% of students gaining 5+ A*- C grades. The 2011 results have sustained this improvement when 53% of our students gained 5+ A*- C GCSE grades including English and Maths from 34% in 2007.
We are a non-selective and inclusive school, dedicated to serving the local community. We lose some higher achieving KS2 students due to “faith-based” selection and to the independent sector. One of our key
issues is to maintain recent improvement in order to secure significant “value-added” achievements for all our students. Within our school ‘every child matters’.
The students in our school need and deserve positive and enthusiastic teachers with high expectations and resilience and who are willing to be innovative and creative in their approaches to learning and teaching. Staff are very supportive of each other and there is a strong commitment to Professional Development in the school. The school gained IIP status in 2005, reconfirmed in January 2008, supports the Graduate Teacher Programme, has many students on Initial Teacher Training and offers high quality support to new staff and in particular to Newly Qualified Teachers.
The school has been at the forefront of the “Remodelling the Workforce” agenda and we have a very enthusiastic and committed body of support staff.
The school has wide ranging contacts within the local community and is held in high regard in the local area. We play an active part in civic events and value our work with the local ‘Rotary Club’ who support the school on a variety of levels.
We are the lead school in the UK for the Tony Blair Foundation ‘Face to Faith’ project, which links young people across the globe via video conferencing to discuss and confront challenging aspects of belief and prejudice.
The Local Area
Westhoughton is a growing town between Bolton and Wigan and is an integral part of the metropolitan borough of Bolton. It is increasingly becoming a dormitory/commuter area for towns within the Greater Manchester conurbation. It is well placed for shopping, cultural and recreational activities nearby, and has excellent access to the motorway network, the M61 being less than 1 km away. Housing is readily available in Westhoughton itself and the surrounding areas, with properties across a wide price range. Recent years have seen a significant investment in local facilities to serve the local community. Bolton town centre is only ten minutes drive away. Access to the West Pennine Moors, with facilities for walking, sailing, riding and other outdoor activities, is equally close. The Lake District is only an hour up the motorway, but many find the local network of reservoirs and moorland less busy and more congenial.
In addition to the professional company at the Octagon Theatre and a regular varied concert programme in the Bolton Albert and Victoria Halls, there are numerous amateur dramatic and music groups in the area. In recent years Bolton has hosted national and international sporting events. Bolton Wanderers Football Club is located on a prestigious sporting and leisure complex at Middlebrook very close to Westhoughton. Middlebrook also offers a multiplex cinema, ten-pin bowling, shops and restaurants, with a major racquet sports arena and training facilities for other sports.
The local region is undergoing a period of significant investment. Bolton is well placed and has ambitious plans for considerable economic growth over the next ten years. As a school, we are working hard with the LA to try to secure a 21st Century Learning campus which meets the needs and aspirations of its community. We will need to respond to the rapidly changing landscape that we face in the next five years but we believe that we are confidently placed to do so.
P J Hart