Wrekin College is reaping the rewards of a new headmaster, new Business School and a new academic reporting system, and is going from strength to strength.
The £1 million Business School opened in January 2017. A modern building designed to more closely resemble the corporate world than a classroom, the Business School boasts a lecture theatre, boardroom, offices for hot-desking and break-out spaces.
It sits alongside Wrekin College’s other extensive facilities already available on the 102-acre Wellington campus including an impressive sports centre complete with a six-lane, 25-metre swimming pool; squash and fives courts; two sports halls and a fully equipped and newly refurbished fitness suite. Outside there is a newly resurfaced floodlit all-weather playing surface, tennis and netball courts, rugby, football and cricket pitches.
Sixth Formers benefit from ‘Our House’, a residence detached from other accommodation which is equipped to give them a taste of independent living and the realities of a student house-share.
They will also benefit from a new Sixth Form centre, due to open in September 2018, which will sit alongside an impressive new library.
It is all part of a determined effort to educate the whole person which includes consistent developments to maintain high standards of teaching and excellent extracurricular activities.
A new academic reporting system introduced by Mr Firth a year ago – Challenge Grade Review – is already helping to ensure that all pupils achieve to the very best of their abilities.
“Essentially, a Challenge Grade is the grade we think a pupil or student could achieve if he or she really ‘goes for it’: it is like an athlete’s personal best,” explains Mr Firth. “I can’t see why we should be aiming for anything else, or less. I suspect that our founder would approve of this system given the Latin motto that has presided over the place for nearly 150 years: ‘Aut vincere aut mori’. Strictly translated it is pretty scary stuff, but it really means ‘keep trying’ or ‘be the best you can be’.
“Of course, each individual’s best is different, be it in a classroom, in a choir, or on a pitch. We will challenge a pupil to do as well as he or she can academically because all we can do at school is be the best version of ourselves. The Challenge Grade will be based on academic data we keep on every child.”
Mr Firth says the school, alongside The Old Hall School, a preparatory school for children aged four to 11 which is part of the same trust, had introduced a growth mindset philosophy and is encouraging each child to adopt it as opposed to a fixed mindset.
“Wrekin’s pastoral care is famous and, as I have already said, palpable. It is my view that we should capitalise on the knowledge we have of each child and on the strength of our relationship with that child,” he says.
“If we know a pupil, we know what his or her area of difficulty is and therefore know what to ask. When a child knows that we like him or her, we can challenge the pupil to be better, and they know it is okay to try and fail because our relationship will be unaffected. It is my view that, on the academic side, we can harness the pastoral one.
"Intellectual ability, like that in music or sport, is not fixed, but can grow. All too often there is a belief that a happy school will produce well-rounded individuals, but is unlikely to push hard enough to get the top grades. I am adamant that schools can and should do both - and with a mixed ability body of students, where the brightest will get a string of A* grades and where the less able should achieve beyond even their own expectations. Looking forward with a growth mindset is equally important for a school as a whole and I feel very excited about the future here at Wrekin College which has a prestigious history but is also evolving to prepare children for the world they will inhabit and is equally dedicated to getting results as it is to creating good and resilient human beings.”
The next Open Morning is March 24, 2018, but personal tours are available all year round. For more information contact registrar Ros Curel on 01952 265603.
Age range: 11-18
Faith: Christian Foundation with all
Fees per term:
Junior Day £4,810, Senior Day £5,825,
Junior Weekly boarding £6,925,
Senior weekly boarding £8,215,
Junior full boarding £8,810,
Senior full boarding £10,320
Head: Tim Firth