REview of the Decade
The 2020 New Year and the dawn of a new decade provides an excellent opportunity to review our development over the last 10 years.
We began the decade as a specialist school for Technology, the Arts and Applied learning. We were also a Leading Edge and Training School. However, a change in government in 2010 and national policy meant that funding for these initiatives ceased. Cirencester Deer Park School is a very resilient organisation and we built on these secure foundations to preserve our strong comprehensive and inclusive ethos and broad curriculum.
Our Ofsted inspections in 2013 and 2017 confirmed Cirencester Deer Park School is a good school. Andrew Lovett, HMI, found we have ‘created a school ethos that pupils, parents and staff all subscribe to enthusiastically’ and that our ‘ambition and drive to meet the needs of every child are valued across the school and into the community the school serves.’ Consequently, ‘overall, pupils make more academic progress than they do in the majority of schools across the country.’ Ofsted, May 2017.
Our pupils were very well prepared by their teachers for the new GCSEs which were introduced in 2015 for first assessment in English and Maths in 2017 and, in 2019, outcomes in these subjects and Science and Humanities were exceptionally strong.
‘I feel very grateful that my son had such a lovely experience of Secondary School. One of the main reasons for this was the rapport and relationships he forged with the teachers over his time at Deer Park, particularly in Years 10 and 11. It was fantastic that he left with great GCSE results but much more than that, he matured into a lovely young man with great respect for those teachers. They believed in him, encouraged him, fostered excitement about learning, brought humour to the lessons and respected him as a young learner. They deserve recognition and praise for all their extra input into pupils above and beyond their role of delivering the curriculum.’ Deer Park Parent (2014-2019)
We are proud to remain a leading school. We continue to provide our pupils with rich and memorable experiences both in the classroom and beyond. This decade saw pupils from Deer Park travel to countries in different continents, Brazil, Nepal and Ghana, as well as to various destinations in Europe, including The Netherlands, Iceland and Sicily. Our long term partnerships, exchange programmes and development of a global curriculum continues to be recognised by The British Council through our achievement of The International Schools’ Award.
We are innovative and we moved with the times to become an academy in 2011. We went on to form the Corinium Education Trust, a small local multi-academy trust in partnership, initially with two primary schools, in 2018.
We are now working closely with three primary schools and we are looking forward to co-creating a brand new primary school for Cirencester in 2022 to meet the needs of children from families moving into The Steadings as it develops in the 2020s and given the proximity of the new development, we hope they will then choose to progress onto their secondary school education with us.
Cirencester Deer Park School was re-branded in 2012. This saw the introduction of a new school logo which put the deer back into the park! Following consultation with pupils, parents and staff, we also changed our school uniform. Pupils at the time welcomed the move away from sweatshirts, which they felt they had been wearing since Reception in their primary schools, and parents appreciated greater prescription over which styles of skirts and trousers are acceptable. This continues to take the heat out of shopping for school uniform.
The period from 2010 to 2020 saw improvements to our school site starting with the complete refurbishment of what was once known as ‘Lincoln House Block’ to create a new Languages suite. This was followed in 2017 with the resurfacing of our astroturf which significantly improved the playing surface for our own PE teams as well as for Cirencester Hockey Club and other groups that routinely share our sports’ facilities. In 2018 we welcomed back Peter Reed, former pupil and three times Olympic Gold Medallist to open our ‘blue’ wing at the front of the school which currently houses our English, Ethics and Computing Faculties. These new classrooms have definitely enhanced our learning environment and increased our circulation space. In December 2019 we saw the finishing touches being made to our new Food Preparation and Nutrition classroom which will formally be opened on Monday 20 January 2020. This, and the relocation of our Textiles classroom in September 2019, has enabled us to finally bring all subjects within our Design Faculty together and break the legacies of the old girls’ and boys’ secondary schools which merged with Cirencester Grammar School to form the co-educational comprehensive school on the Deer Park site in 1966.
In 2016 we celebrated the school’s 50th anniversary. We were pleased to welcome back former pupils and members of staff who, once they had found their bearings, took great delight in recalling their school days and experiences, especially under the leadership of the school’s first headteacher, Marjorie Davies (1966-1977), and her successor, David Saunders (1977-1991). This decade also saw the retirement of several long-serving members of staff all of whom made significant contributions to the success and smooth running of the school from the 1970s to the present day.
In this decade, staff also embraced dressing up when we commemorated the 70th anniversary of VE Day in 2015 and our English Faculty continue to keep this spirit alive through their annual Faculty in Focus events, celebration of Shakespeare’s and Roald Dahl’s birthdays and in their revision activities, most recently, a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ ‘woosh’!
We have also encouraged participation in formal ceremonies, especially in 2018 when the whole school came together outside at the front of the school to mark the 100th Anniversary of the end of The First World War. Read more...
We will continue to offer our pupils deep and rich learning opportunities as we lead them through the 2020s and help them prepare for and create their own futures.