School’s current success down to it ‘balancing the needs of all’

Amy Thorne, guest of honour Laura Weightman, Edris Ramezanpour, headteacher Maurice Hall, Kyle Muldoon, chairman of governors Lalage Bosanquet and Olivia Burt at the Duchess's High School prizegiving 2014
Amy Thorne, guest of honour Laura Weightman, Edris Ramezanpour, headteacher Maurice Hall, Kyle Muldoon, chairman of governors Lalage Bosanquet and Olivia Burt at the Duchess's High School prizegiving 2014

The headteacher of Alnwick’s high school, reflecting on 2014, has said he believes that they are ‘moving towards being an outstanding school’.

Addressing parents and pupils at the Duchess’s Community High School’s annual prize-giving ceremony last Friday, Maurice Hall admitted that there are ‘quite a number of similarities’ between what parents want and what Ofsted wants.

“I believe that we, together, have made major strides forward this year,” he continued.

“For a number of years we have been a strong school.

“This year there is growing evidence that we are, in many ways, moving towards being an outstanding school.”

However, he also pointed out that the high school has a far more diverse intake than many of the ‘top’ schools in the league tables.

“We have many academically talented students, but we also have students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or are below the national averages when it comes to achievement prior to entry to our school,” he added.

“Students such as these make up the same percentage in our school as the national average – a fact that many who do not fully understand our local community do not realise at first glance.

“We must not forget this when we consider our need to be ‘all things to all people’.

“Our school is successful because it manages to balance the needs of all.”

Mr Hall referenced Commonwealth Games silver medallist Laura Weightman, who returned to hand out the prizes, as he talked about the wider opportunities.

“Our past students are making a difference wherever they go because of the contributions of school, family, and local community to their up bringing,” he said.

“As a school, we continue to offer a real variety of opportunities for our students to get involved outside the classroom. These include sport, drama, music, politics and others.”

Mr Hall also looked to the future as the plans for a new high school at the Greensfield site progress apace.

“In less than two years we will be in a new building,” he said. “I cannot underestimate the importance of this move.

“To be in a modern, single building cannot do anything else than further lift our self-belief and our drive to be the best we can.

“We will be in an area of the town where vocational and training opportunities will be close by, where sporting facilities are increasingly available and next to the A1 so access to the wider county and national network is so much easier.

“I am thankful that so many people have worked and are working to make this happen.

“It is genuinely a once-in-a-lifetime event which will mark the growing confidence of both our school and its wider community.”

He finished by paying tribute to his staff and all those people and organisations that help the students.

Full list of prize-winners

Prize for Outstanding GCSE Results: Rosie Murton. John Smailes Memorial Prize: Matthew Brooks. Parents’ Prize for Progress: James Fair. Gray Prize for Progress: Shauna Orr. Eilidh Cairns Cup For Sporting Endeavour: Georgina Pearson. David Ritson Memorial Cup: Tom Harrop. Jeffreys Girls’ PE and Games Cup (Year 9): Amy Thorne. John Hunter Cup for Progress in Art: Shauna Orr. Adam Douglas Prize For Design (Graphics): Adam Lewis-Douglas. Stan Calvert Memorial Trophy for Contribution to Boys’ PE – Year 10: Joshua Turnbull. Wealleans Prize for Senior Girls’ Sport: Rosie Sanderson. Todd Trophy for Contribution to School Rugby: Nicholas Clarkson. The Duke’s Pin: Joe Phillips. Hardy Bequest for Outstanding Achievement: Georgina Frater. Old Boys’ Prize for Head Boy: Ben Kinloch. Duchess of Northumberland Prize for Head Girl: Molly Murton.

Year 9 Form Prizes

9DGS Olivia Graham. 9HEC Amy Lawson. 9JK Kate Macphee. 9MCS Martin Murphy. 9MPD Andrew Wilson. 9NR Daryll Cooke. 9SDB Ruben Moss. 9SH Jennifer Clapcott. 9SLD Sofia Bravo.

Year 10 Form Prizes

10CL Jessica Partington. 10DP Maya Woolfrey. 10JC Scott Davies. 10JEG James Macaulay. 10JTT Martha Carrdus. 10NB Charley Anstee. 10PS Jacob Crooks. 10RIL Patrick Turner. 10RRM Siobhan Redden. 10TH Rachel Stephenson.

Year 11 Form Prizes

11HD Jiawei Chen. 11ICB Josie Dodds. 11JH Toni-Megan Hall. 11MWB Natalie Batey. 11PH Zara Browell. 11REB Amie Morgan. 11RJM Abbie Balmbra. 11RKG Katy Foster. 11SW Hayley Finney. 11JAA Olivia Burt.

Year 11 Subject Prizes

English: Daniel Thomassen. Mathematics: Adam Lewis-Douglas. French: Emily Stenton. Business Studies: Sophie Somers. German: Olivia Burt. History: Olivia Burt. Geography: Samuel Cross. Media Studies: Amber Brown. Religious Studies: Chloe Gray. Art: Rachael Latto. PE/Games (Girls): Annabel Blythe. PE/Games (Boys): Joseph Beeby. DT Food Technology: James Fair. DT Textiles: Pip Terry. Child Development: Sian Lazenby. Public Services: Adam Sparrow. Music: Sam Murray. Communication & IT Prize: Edris Ramezanpour. Covance Prize for Physics: Jack Bagness. Covance Prize for Chemistry: Olivia Burt. HSBC Bank Prize for Information Technology: Adam Lewis-Douglas. Lucy Bowden Award for Enterprise: Daniel Fletcher. Alice Rutherford Library Cup: Kaia Racey. Gavin Gerrard Award for the Arts: Amber Brown. Ian Bell Award For Outstanding Progress in Technology: Will Fair. Steve Handley Memorial Prize for Work-related Learning: Kyle Muldoon.

Sixth-Form Prizes

NTC Theatre Prize: Annie Davison. Film Studies Prize: Otello Calvert, David K C Harries Cup for Music: Harry Summers. Contribution to the Musical Life of the School: Kieran Renner. Government & Politics Prize: Anna Brotherton. Law Prize: Isobelle Cooper. Rotary Silver Jubilee Prize: Jessica Williams. Beatrice Masserick Memorial Prize: Kristina Gray. HSBC Bank Prize for Information Technology: Zoe Wilkinson. Moira Nelson Cup For All-Round Contribution to School Life: Molly Murton. Cummings Bowl for Representative Honours in Sports – Girls: Sophie Bronze. Boys: Jake Woods. A J Brundell Prize for Service to the School: Jordan Shiel. Staff Prize for Service to the School: Kieran Renner. Curry Cup for Service to the Community (Sixth Form): Matthew Slack. Alnwick Lions Club Award for Community Service: Polly Smith. Level 3 Health & Social Care: Rachael Boe. Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics: Jack Bagness. Michael Trollope Prize for Creative Arts: Tyler Angus. Alnwick Theatre Club Prize for Drama in the Community in Memory of Ken Lewis: Jordan Shiel. Work Experience Award: Christopher Boyes.

Subject Prizes Year 13

Dixon Prize for English: Jessica Williams. Alan Lorimer Memorial Prize for History: Claire Groves. Mosby Prize for English: Stacey Turnbull. Appleyard Prize For French: Abby Somers. W R Miller Mathematics Prize: Robert Shilton. Covance Prize for Physics: Georgina Frater. Covance Prize for Chemistry: Molly Murton. Covance Prize for Biology: Bethany Kohler. Matthew Renner Memorial Prize for Advanced Biology: Alix Eastham. Applied Business A-Level: Carly Faghy. Public Services: Zoe Wilkinson. Social Sciences Prize – Psychology: Jason Hyde. Social Sciences Prize – Sociology: Elizabeth Prime. Further Mathematics Prize: Georgina Frater.

7th Duke of Northumberland Prizes

Geography: Polly Smith. Religious Studies: Claire Groves. Art: Joseph Donald. Classical Civilisation: Jessica Williams. Music: Jordan Shiel. Food Technology: Katie Egdell.