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Medway Schools

Monday, September 08, 2003

Upbury Arts
Marlborough Road
Gillingham
KENT
ME7 5HT

Headteacher

A BRIEF HISTORY

The school is situated on a site adjacent to the Medway Hospital on the edge of the Great lines, an area rich in history connected with wars and the armed services past and present. The original school under the Headship of Mr. James McVie was called "The Great Lines School" and opened in April 1957 with just 270 pupils as the first co-educational school in Gillingham. One of the original 11 staff, Mr. M.F. Potts, became the school’s Chair of Governors until his retirement at the end of the academic year in September 2000.



In Elizabethan times a Manor House stood in the centre of Upbury Farm on this site which gave rise to the current name of 'Upbury Manor'. The school expanded rapidly and was formally opened by the actress Dame Edith Evans O.B.E. in June 1959. In 1971, Richmond Road Secondary School was absorbed into Upbury Manor which, with the raising of the school leaving age, brought the numbers on roll to nearly 1700.



Over a period of years the school reduced in size. By the 1990's the School had settled into a 5/6 Form Entry of around 800 - 850 on roll, with a small but growing Sixth Form. Some of the previously used buildings are now home to other organisations including pre-school and further education units. This has enhanced the Community ethos of the School as well as providing additional income.



The original Headteacher died in 1968 but not before his services to education had been recognised with the award of the O.B.E. Successive Headteachers have been Mrs. Lappin, Mr. Rowland, Mr. Gliddon and the current post holder, Mr. Williams.



In 1993 the Governing Body began the process of acquiring Grant Maintained Status which was awarded on 1st. January 1994. Kent has an unusually large proportion of Grant Maintained Schools. The nearest (Girls) Grammar School and one of the nearest High Schools are also Grant Maintained. GM Status has benefited from expenditure in the region of £280,000 on science laboratories and the remodelling of Food Technology and I.T as a consequence. The second phase of this work was completed in January 1997. As with all schools that were Grant Maintained, Upbury Manor ceased to be so on September 1st 1999. The school now has Foundation Status.



In January 1995 an Ofsted team identified six key issues which they felt together placed the school into the category of 'Special Measures'.



The Government's policy of 'pressure and support' on Special Measures Schools resulted in HMI and Ministerial acclaim at its considerable progress in the Summer/Autumn 1997.



The School came off Special Measures in June 1998 following an HMI Inspection which was satisfied that the achievements of pupils, the quality of teaching, management and efficiency had significantly improved.



The current head teacher, Mr. A. Williams joined the school in September 1995. Since then the school has moved on from its immediate reaction to the Ofsted Report. Its progress is now focused into four major targets which subsume the key issues:



Raising achievement linked with pupils' personal development
A whole school structure for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
Effective management of Human and Physical Resources including positive pupil management
Parental and Community Involvement


Teaching and non-teaching staff have contributed significantly to an enormous number of initiatives in recent years. Amongst these have been the new School Aims and Development Plan ; a new Curriculum Structure and School Day, initiatives in Oracy, Literacy and Numeracy; new policies for Assessment and Social Education. Considerable extra support has, and is being provided, through the Funding Agency, by Consultants and others to help improve the school's effectiveness and to embed these important policies.

A series of early retirements of teaching staff has enabled the appointment of new Heads of Department and the restructuring of the Senior Management Team. This has been paralleled by the establishment of an experienced and skilled site management team which is assisting in significant improvement of the School environment and a School Council that brings forward students' views on how to improve school life.

In November 1999 a small team of HMI visited the school to observe many lessons and interview key staff on the progress the school had made. The outcome of this visit was that the HMI team were satisfied the school had made sufficient improvement that made any further check visits unnecessary. The school now awaits its next full OFSTED to be removed from the serious weakness category.

In the 2 academic years between 1999-2001 there have been some very exciting developments:

· The North Gillingham area has become an Education Action Zone known as The Gillingham Partnership which is a most exciting community and educational opportunity. Further, of the 17 schools involved in the Partnership, Upbury Manor is the only Secondary School. The Partnership has its own web-site; a direct link to which is given below. The official launch of the Partnership took place on January 26th 2000 at the Gillingham Football Club’s Priestfield Ground with student representatives from all participating schools taking part. Smaller events were arranged at the 17 schools in the same week.

· As a result of being a member of the Gillingham Partnership the school has started breakfast clubs, booster classes, utilised local business for recruitment expertise, management training and meeting venues. The Partnership has also provided Interactive White Board Technology for increased Literacy and Numeracy work.

· A lot of work has been done to improve the ICT facilities available. There are now four full 30 station networks and additional specialist suites in Technology, Science, Music and PACE Units.. The library also has multimedia resource centre. All stations have Internet and Email facilities available for all students and staff. Upbury Manor is now part of the South East Grid for Learning, providing broadband access to all our workstations. We are also pioneering wireless technology for attendance and tracking of pupils.

· A major building expansion programme has now been completed due to a closure of a local school.

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