Thursday evening saw the first episode of Channel 4’s new series The Secret Teacher featuring marketing mogul Paul Rowlett who went undercover at Haileybury Turnford six to nine months ago, working specifically with our outgoing Year 11 students. With a business that turns over more than £20 million a year, Paul was searching for students he could use his money to help.
We were first approached about 12 months ago when the Twofour Group were looking for schools for The Secret Teacher. It sounded a really interesting opportunity due to the potential benefits that it could bring for both the whole school community and to individual Year 11 students. It would also enable us to showcase the excellent work our staff carry out on a daily basis to provide great support for our students at a time when there continues to be a real squeeze on education funding.
As a result of our involvement in The Secret Teacher, and through support from other sources, we have significant additional resources to support our continued school improvement once the new academic year begins in September. We have ensured that we are both fully staffed with the right people and have enough resources to keep improving at a time when the government continues to under-fund the education system. The Year 11 English class shown in last week’s episode was only ever a temporary arrangement for 3 months up to Christmas, taught by our Director of English. That will not be repeated next year due to our stronger staffing profile.
Paul’s generous donations part-funded the Year 11 Prom in July and our involvement in The Secret Teacher also enabled us to heavily subsidise our end of term Rewards Trip to Adventure Island in Southend which we expect to repeat next summer too. In addition, Paul’s donations have enabled us to buy significant Design & Technology, IT, Media and Photography resources for our students to directly benefit from in September. We have well over 100 new PCs in school for students to use in their lessons and our other PCs have been upgraded. Paul has also chosen to provide huge support for our Business Department on an ongoing basis, and has also funded improvements to the Staff Room.
We will also have two brand new, fully refurbished Science laboratories which are very nearly finished and look excellent, and I will be working very closely with the Education and Skills Funding Agency in the Autumn Term to move forward with our new English, Humanities and Science Building as quickly as possible.
These are all huge benefits for our students and staff, and will strongly support the school’s upward trajectory, which was so clearly recognised by Ofsted in May 2018.