Thurstable was founded in 1957 to replace Tiptree Heath all-age school. In 1992 Thurstable School became Grant Maintained, became a Foundation School in September 1999, and as a high performing school an independent converter Academy in August 2011. In 2016 we achieved 73% A-CEM with a Progress 8 scare of +0.47 for Year 11, and an A-A of 46% within a 100% pass rate in the Sixth Form. Our Ofsted report of 2016 stated that “the vast majority of staff are incredibly positive and proud to be working at Thurstable”. We are heavily oversubscribed, and financially secure for the foreseeable future.
The school continues to enjoy a close and positive relationship with Essex LA and with other schools in the area. Thurstable is a founder member of the Colchester Teacher Training Consortium, and plays a major role in Initial Teacher Training. The school roll is currently 1156 and this number includes 119 students in the Sixth Form.
Our buildings have been considerably extended with extensive refurbishment of sports facilities and the building of a second gymnasium and fitness room. A major building project to improve the science and technology facilities was completed in 1998. Two new Food Technology workshops and new classrooms were completed in 2000, and a new 15 class teaching block in September 2005. Our ICT infrastructure has been renewed in the last two years, and our older buildings have been extensively refurbished. Our campus is a bright, open place to teach and to learn.
We have a dedicated literature library in the heart of the English faculty suite, and a large and fast developing E Learning Centre at the heart of the school. There are suites of rooms for Mathematics, English, Humanities, Modern Languages and the Sixth Form. There are three art rooms, and dedicated Music and Drama areas. In addition there are eight Science Laboratories, three DT workshops, two Food Technology rooms, and Textiles and Business Studies areas. The Governors have agreed a policy of 'no smoking' on the School site.
The School serves the catchment area of Tiptree, Mersea Island and the surrounding villages of Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Tollesbury, Great Totham and Messing, receiving most pupils from nine primary schools. We are regularly oversubscribed, with many applications from schools outside our immediate catchment.
School Curriculum and Staff
The school is organised into Year Groups, with tutor teams led by Heads of Year who are supported by non-teaching Learning Relationship Coordinators, the pastoral team being led by the Deputy Headteacher and an Assistant Headteacher. Where practical tutors progress with their forms and are encouraged to work in close partnership with parents.
There are 74 members of teaching staff, including the Head. The staffing complement includes one Deputy Head, 4 Assistant Heads, 6 Directors of Studies and 3 support staff as the Senior Leadership Team, with Faculty Co-ordinators leading the main curriculum areas. We are fortunate in having a committed team of support staff (including supernumerary HLTAs in the major faculties) who are highly effective in their role of supporting learning and teaching in the school.
We have a large extra-curricular programme. This includes a Year Seven camp, Young Enterprise, a thriving international programme including exchanges to Germany and Thailand, ski-trips, visits to France and Work Shadowing for Sixth Form students in Holland. The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme is particularly well supported. Music and Drama productions are very popular, and extra-curricular music is a major growth area. We have an elected School Council which takes an active interest throughout the School, representing the views of the students, and working in partnership with staff.
At KS5 a fully differentiated curriculum is delivered through a range of vocational courses including BTEC's, AVCE's and GNVQ's, together with a full suite of AS/A2 subjects. There is a comprehensive range of extracurricular activities for all students.
Tiptree is a village of about 10,000 people, approximately seven miles south west of Colchester and three miles from the A12. London is within easy reach.
Our catchment and its surrounding area are attractive and semi-rural, and is a pleasant and relatively inexpensive region in which to live, compared to others nearby. Most adults travel to work in neighbouring large towns or commute to London. The main line railway station is at Kelvedon, two miles away. Road links to London are excellent, along the A12 linking to the M25.
The area has many cultural and historical sites of interest. Many staff live in Colchester, the oldest town in Britain. There are many interesting villages close by, Tollesbury on the marshes and Coggeshall inland, and across the Strood Mersea Island is a distinctive community in its own right. Excellent retail and leisure facilities are provided at Chelmsford, Colchester and Braintree.
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