Specialist College

Finham Park School was awarded Specialist Mathematics and Computing status in 2004. Mrs Maginnis is the Director of the Specialist College supported by Mr Hunt, the Head of Mathematics, and Mr Bridgeman, the Head of ICT. A considerable number of the teaching staff at Finham Park work with local Partner Primary and Secondary schools. They lead a range of activities from offering curriculum enrichment opportunities to students to training other teachers in delivering electronics. The aim of all of these activities is to have a strong impact upon teaching and learning in these subject areas.

Since 2004, a significant proportion of the mathematics department has been remodelled. This has included the introduction of two new sixth form classrooms and four interactive whiteboards. The IT department works closely with the mathematics department in delivering a statistics project for year 8 pupils. ICT features very highly in a number of mathematics activities such as video conferencing with year 6 and the cyberpet project.

Below is a sample of the activities that have taken place over the last year: 

Opportunities in the Sixth-form
Finham Park works with the Further Mathematics Network, based at Warwick University, to increase the number of students who have the opportunity to access Further Mathematics. Here at Finham Park, students from local schools can study A-level Further Mathematics (an Edexcel examined subject), AS Further Mathematics (examined by MEI) in addition to the standard A-level. We offer enrichment days through video-conferencing and trips to hear lectures given by leading figures in the world of Mathematics education.

Opportunities in Key Stage 4
We offer a course in Additional Mathematics for able students in Key Stage 4 to all of our partner Secondary School. This course has been established as above GCSE level and as such is graded the same way as an A-level and has UCAS points. This course is nationally recognised as supporting both GCSE Mathematics and the transition to A-level (it also doesn't have any coursework). We offer a full revision programme for both Key stage 3 SATs and GCSEs and is open to students from local schools.

Continuing Professional Development
As a CPD Centre for Mathematics for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust we have offered an extensive programme of training concentrating upon the use of ICT in the delivery of Mathematics and Statistics. We are also a training centre for EiSS and have offered a range of training opportunities for teachers in both the primary and secondary sectors developing their knowledge in the delivery of Electronics in schools.

Training School

Finham Park achieved Training School status in 2004 and was recently awarded an extension to this contract until 2010. This process of re-designation was highly demanding and involved satisfying key criteria for the Department for Education and Science. These criteria ensure that the school offers high quality training not only to all staff within the school but also to trainee teachers who have placements at the school.

As part of our role as a Training School we work with several local universities to provide placements for their trainee teachers. This takes place in two sections, firstly in the Autumn term and the longer second placement which stretches across the Spring and Summer terms. There are many benefits to the school as a result of this status. Firstly, as a staff we are continuously looking at the teaching and learning in the classrooms and secondly is the opportunity to access new staff into the profession when we have teacher vacancies.

A particular strength of the school is the research based CPD programme that we carry out. All teachers last year participated in evidence based research which focussed on classroom practice. As a result of this teachers are able to achieve professional accreditation from the Teaching and Learning Academy which is training body of the General Teaching Council. This continual process of reflection on classroom practice allows us to be sure that students receive high quality teaching that enables high quality learning to take place.

Also see the section of our website dedicated to the Training School.

International School

Finham Park was first awarded International School accreditation in 2010 and has subsequently been re-accredited every 3 years. Global issues are an important part of the lives of our students living in a world where economies are increasingly interdependent and global communication is a daily reality.  Our students have access to the internet and increased opportunity to travel, watch news stories from around the world, as they develop and follow for example, international sporting events as they happen.

Here at Finham Park we celebrate the rich and diverse heritage represented in our school, and local and national communities. Students have the opportunity to enjoy regular contact with students and adults living in different countries through various residential trips and in particular our partner schools in France, Spain, China and Burundi.  This encourages interest and motivation through the provision of first hand experiences of life in another country.  We welcome visitors, both students and teachers, from abroad in order to compare different teaching and learning styles.

Ultimately, a global dimension should be reflected in the attitudes and values of our students as well as in the ethos of the school.

SSAT: Transforming in Awards

Finham Park School has recently achieved accreditation for transforming practice under SSAT's Framework for Exceptional Education. The Framework for Exceptional Education is a self-review and planning tool incorporating SSAT's 30 years of experience in school improvement. Co-developed with a group of high-performing schools and reviewed by leading academics, the framework supports schools in quality-assuring their work and sharing effective practice.

To achieve accreditation as transforming in practice, Finham Park School was reviewed by another high-performing school and an independent moderator from SSAT. SSAT's Chief Executive, Sue Williamson comments "for a school to be accredited for transforming practice is a real credit to their team and the quality of the work that they are doing."

The application process commented:

“A culture of open discussions about Teaching and Learning is evident, along with the absolute focus on Teaching and Learning across the school.”

“I saw a real variety of approaches from a very effective approach to number work in a low set year 9 Maths lesson, to a highly sophisticated discussion in Year 12 Law Lesson and some very confident pupils in a Year 10 Mandarin lesson. In a recent visit to the school I saw some inspiring robotics work with pupils of all years and a literacy event for all Year 7s led by a local poet.”

“The most impressive aspect of Finham’s curriculum is that it has been developed to respond to the community and to some very principled decisions about a secondary curriculum for the 21st Century. They have built up an enviable reputation for the quality of teaching and the achievements of pupils.”

“I met many impressive and enthusiastic teachers and pupils who were clearly relishing the opportunities that Finham gives them. Staff are encouraged and given every opportunity to shape and review the curriculum and they do it in the context of Finham’s wider values of being a true comprehensive school with a local commitment and a global outlook.”