Leventhorpe Academy is a mixed, 11-19 secondary school and sixth form in the historic market town of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. The school became a business and Enterprise Academy in August 2011. The intake at age 11 is drawn mainly from the pleasant and prosperous towns of Sawbridgeworth and Bishop's Stortford and from the surrounding villages. Demand for places in the school is high with over four applications for each place and some students travel significant distances to attend.
The school places a high priority on academic achievement as demonstrated at the last full OFSTED inspection in 2012 when the school was graded “Outstanding” in each of the five categories judged by Ofsted under the 2012 inspection framework: Achievement of Pupils, Quality of Teaching, Behaviour and Safety of Pupils, Leadership and Management and Overall Effectiveness. Staff are expected to play their role in ensuring the best possible outcomes for every pupil. Pass rates are 100% in nearly all subjects and percentages in the highest grades are well above the national average. Teachers, pupils and parents place a very high value on behaviour and care.
April 2013 saw the opening of a £1 million Learning Resource Centre whilst the £6 million Leisure Centre (sports hall, fitness suite, dance studio, all-weather pitch and floodlit tennis courts) is valued by the local community as well as the school. A large number of classes are offered and the facilities are available for hire. There is also a swimming pool on-site which is made available to other schools and the local community. In recent years, Leventhorpe has experienced an intensive capital build programme, including a re-modelling of Design and Technology facilities and £150k investment in ICT provision.
The specialism in Business and Enterprise involves all faculties but especially Business, Mathematics and ICT. As a result, a number of enhancements to accommodation, resources and the curriculum have taken place. All pupils in Years 7 – 11 follow a Business & Communication Studies course. This leads to GCSE in Year 9 or 10, followed by AS or GCSE in ICT or Business during key stage 4, or DIDA. The school also has a rapidly expanding community development plan. There are overlaps between specialist school activities and other strategic priorities for example ‘Teaching and Learning’ and ‘Personalisation’, so in reality a number of developments are driven by various members of the SLT. Leventhorpe engages in teacher training and is a partner school with Cambridge University for PGCE and with the University of Hertfordshire for the Graduate Teacher Programme. Staff are encouraged to gain further qualifications.
Subject departments are organised on a Faculty basis. The responsibility for the preparation of schemes of work and for monitoring their delivery lies with the Head of Faculty. Each pupil undergoes a termly assessment in each subject. The responsibility for implementing the assessment policy lies with the Head of Faculty.
The school upholds the traditional values of uniform, discipline, homework, punctuality and polite behaviour. Each of Years 7 – 11 is organised into six mixed ability tutor groups and each tutor group is assigned to one of six houses: Rivers, Cutforth, Newsom, Fawbert, Lawrence and Barnard. House Heads oversee the academic and social development of pupils in their house as they progress through the school. Years 12 and 13, although assigned to a house, are overseen by the Head of Sixth Form. Form tutors monitor their form’s progress and liaise closely with pastoral heads in deciding appropriate action.
As an academy, the Governors are the employers but the school liaises closely with the local authority – Hertfordshire County Council. Employment of staff is governed by national, county and some local agreements. The school employs approximately 170 staff (part-time and full-time) about half of whom are teachers.
At the school there is a PTFA to which all parents automatically belong. The membership of the committee changes from year to year. Their support encompasses much more than fund raising. More information can found on the PTFA website.
The school takes it name from Sir John Leventhorpe, Lord of the medieval manor of Shingle Hall, one of two manors in Sawbridgeworth. The school logo is a replica of the brasses of John Leventhorpe and his wife and date from 1445. The original brasses form a permanent memorial in Great St Mary’s Church in Sawbridgeworth. Extra-curricular clubs and activities.
Leventhorpe holds the Qiss Award which recognises the wide choice of extra-curricular clubs and activities available to all pupils. A comprehensive timetable of clubs offers something for everyone, from astronomy and science to Japanese and an active glee club. Emphasis is placed on supporting pupils not just in lessons but also outside the curriculum by giving them the opportunity to explore their interests and to learn something completely new.