School focus: King Ecgbert School
With students and staff at the core, King Ecgbert School may possibly be Sheffield’s ‘best kept secret’ offering a caring and nurturing environment for all.
The family and community ethos is something the school in Dore prides itself on – understanding and valuing every person that walks through its door and working closely with parents to ensure every student thrives equally.
They welcome a diverse mix of pupils into a ‘happy and warm’ environment from a catchment area that spans the breadth of Dore and Totley, along Abbeydale Road and into the city centre.
And, the commitment and level of care to each pupil, no matter what their background, is recognised through not only the great attendance levels, but higher than national average results at GCSE.
This is also apparent at sixth form, where the school was recently ranked within the top five nationally for the performance at A-Level over the last three years.
Headteacher Paul Haigh said: “It is an outstanding school. This is my third year as headteacher and when I came here it blew me away, it really is one of Sheffield’s best kept secrets.
“The children really value the school, and are very proud of it and for the staff it is not just a job and not just a career.
“To be a teacher at King Ecgbert’s is to go above and beyond. The level of care and commitment is amazing and I see that day in and day out.
“It shows in all different ways. The results the school is getting consistently, whether it be GCSE or A-Level are well above the national average and that is principally because of well qualified teachers who teach really good lessons.
“But, that is not enough on its own, it is the fact that everybody in the school – whether it be a teacher or support staff – really cares for the children.”
Parents are immersed in school life through the use of new technology, which includes a specialist mobile phone app to allow them to do things such as check how well their son or daughter is doing academically, and if they arrived safely for their school day.
The school – which celebrates it’s 50th anniversary this year – also excels in sporting prowess, with a PE department headteacher Mr Haigh describes as being at the forefront with famous alumni such as Olympic athlete Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and England cricket captain Joe Root
He said: “Now I’ve been here three years and being part of this community I’m not surprised that people like that come out of this school.
“There is a lot more that may be aren’t quite as famous but sporting prowess is an absolute notable feature of the school.
“I think that is being this part of Sheffield, you’ve got Abbeydale Sports Club and Sheffield Tigers, there is a lot of sport going on in this part of Sheffield and our PE department are at the forefront of that and we’re very proud of our sporting achievements.
“Not just at elite level, but all children get the opportunity to represent the school and play sport.”
The school were also the first in the region to be recognised with TASS accreditation as a Dual Career Talented Athlete School, meaning that provisions are in place for talented athletes coming through the school.
“We’ve got people who compete at a national level in things like gymnastics and diving,” Mr Haigh added.
“There is even an international water skier in the sixth form and that is fantastic.
“But, they’ve got to keep a dual career path going because everybody knows you could only be an injury away or a team managers decision away from your professional career not taking off.
“So, what we do through TASS accreditation is work with national governing bodies to make sure they succeed in academic levels but also make accommodation for them if they're out competing or training camps then we’ll work around that to support them.
“We are also very proud of our drama department, and the quality of productions is professional standard you wouldn’t think you were watching young people and they deal with really grown up issues and music is of a very high standard with various ensembles and orchestras.”
Rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors during their most recent visit, King Ecgbert’s also offers an integrated resource for children with autism to offer them extra nurture and allow them access to education like other pupils, fitting with their ethos that ‘every single learner matters’.
Students also care for one another and do a lot of charity work, shown when a Year 11 student sadly died of brain cancer in October.
They raised around £9,000 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Click Sargent, the young people’s cancer charity, by doing a sponsored walk. They are also inviting his family and friends to raise awareness through school assemblies, something which has been driven solely by the pupils.