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What Makes Kingsmead Special?

At Kingsmead, we think of what we do as teaching three different things that lead to advantages in life.

We aim to provide excellent academic knowledge, excellent behaviour and an excellent understanding of the wider world.

1. The Academic Experience

Kingsmead students perform consistently excellently in national exams. Year on year, our GCSE results put us in the top 25% nationally for progress achieved. Our A Level results were in the top 20% nationally for over a decade too. In the last set of nationally verified results, 45% of the cohort achieved at least one A* or grade 9 at GCSE. Many achieved far more.

When it comes to the GCSE results, we like to make the argument that in some cases, it is more impressive to achieve such results than it is in others. Kingsmead gets those results without cutting corners.

  • We are open to every child and do not turn away on the basis of test results, religion or sex, which can skew the figures.
  • We keep as many children as possible doing as many ambitious courses as we can. Year on year our percentage of children taking the Ebacc subjects (English, Maths, Science, Humanities and Languages GCSEs) has risen to approximately 90% - this matters because in some other schools, children are prevented from taking the ‘difficult’ GCSEs. We expect them to.
  • We do this with large groups of children, so what we do has to be good enough and consistent enough to work across lots of teachers. This happens on purpose, and not by throwing lots of ‘intervention’ at the children at the last minute.
  • We also run our own Sixth Form, with a massive range of courses, and our teachers rise to the challenge of being experts at all age ranges.

Kingsmead was one of only four schools nationally to set themselves these challenges and still have above average results in 2019.

What the other three schools likely did not offer was the same range of subjects at GCSE level. We are a school with a Performing and Visual Arts specialism, but we are determined to offer as many opportunities as we possibly can.

We assume that children will take 10 or 11 GCSEs and we offer them the choice of 24 courses, including three modern foreign languages, five performing arts subjects (Dance included), three technology subjects and more niche subjects like Computing and Latin.

This means that we do not compromise on traditional academic expectations, but we also offer the subjects that children will want to do to pursue their interests or future plans.

Our curriculum is designed to ensure that children can access a university course or a professional career.

That curriculum is also designed and delivered by a stable staff body - some of whom have been teaching in the school for twenty years or more – and in lots of specialist classrooms with lots of specialist equipment. We are delighted to have plenty of specialist Art, Music, Dance, Drama, Textiles and Food rooms. We also refurbished the majority of the Science labs in 2019 and have over 800 computers available on site for students.

2. Behavioural Expectations

At Kingsmead the expectations of children are very high, but we also know that the experience of the teenage years is complex and children need to have strong relationships both with their peers and adults in the school.

We think of this as teaching children how to be ready for adult life and the adults in the building are expected to model those expectations.

The first is to be kind. This means, of course, to be polite, but also to think of others as much as of themselves. For example, we have made decisions about uniform that mean children will be able to fit in without the differences between them for instance, but also we ask children to do things in ways that will work for their class, year group or the whole school.

The second is to be purposeful. This does mean being focused in the moment, but it also means not wasting time in general. We ask children to move to lessons quickly, or stay on task, but we also have very clear rules and expectations that are applied consistently so that time is not wasted on determining what is acceptable or not.

The third is to be formal. This is most obvious example of this is dressing in the full school uniform, but this also means in the way they carry themselves, their body language and their choice of words and tone. It is hugely important that they understand that being appropriate to the time and place is a life skill.

Lastly, they are expected to be responsible. We are much less flexible than some other schools on this. If they do not meet an expectation, it is not up for negotiation or compromise and they will be certain that there will be a sanction. This means they are expected to meet expectations. The worst thing one can do is be unclear or lower that standard. Without it the other parts of the expectations fall apart.

We make space for teachers and children to build relationships and have very clear guidelines for teachers for classroom routines, but also the expectation that they should know the students, have faith in them, show warmth and make praise public, and where possible, censure private.

Again, this time of life is not straightforward for many children, so we also have a specialist behaviour for learning team who can provide mentoring for students and a Place2Be counsellor.

Every year our attendance is well above the national average and our exclusion data is well below both the national, London and Enfield average. Children come from other schools to access the clarity and support we provide.

3. Enrichment and Preparation for Adult Life

Every child at Kingsmead deserves excellent academic learning, as well as a calm, consistent positive environment. They also deserve us having a deliberate plan for them to:

  • Feel safe and confident.
  • Have empathy, understanding of others and care for themselves.
  • Have a well thought through plan for their future.
  • Be aware of the wider world.
  • Be exposed to creativity and the arts.
  • Understand how to be a citizen and how to participate in society.

At Kingsmead we set aside a section of every day to devote to helping students’ understand these things. We call it the Character Curriculum, it is carefully planned across the entire experience of school and taken very seriously.

We also have a wide range of clubs, both in lunchtime and after school. Those clubs will work on a half-termly timetable so that there is a variety across the school year.

Six days within the school year where the normal timetable is suspended and the aim is either to get children out of the local area or working with external agencies for the day.

Our aim is that every child will experience at least one trip abroad by the time they are in Year 10 and at least three other trips a year.

A selection of the places visited in the two years pre-COVID and in addition to the Drop Down Day trips were:

• Oxford University
• Cambridge University
• London School of Economics
• Queen Mary (University of London)
• Krakow
• Rome
• Paris
• Costa Brava
• CERN Hadron Collider
• German Christmas Markets
• Battlefields of Belgium and Northern France
• Battle Abbey
• Verulanium Museum
• Roman Baths (Bath)
• ATP Tennis Finals
• International Football Matches
• Saddlers Wells
• Google HQ
• John Soanes Museum
• National Army Museum
• Houses of Parliament
• British Library
• Maritime Museum
• London Zoo
• Olympic Park
• Tate Modern
• Bank of England
• London Transport Museum
• The Wellcome Trust
• Fitzwilliam Museum
• Wigmore Hall
• National Portrait Gallery
• Brecon Beacons
• Osmington Bay
• Royal Academy of Arts
• William Morris House
• Frequent Theatre Trips

We also have a rolling calendar of participation in national awareness days and frequent external speakers, including authors and poets. We want children to be in class, but we value the impact that a wider understanding of the world has.

We are very serious about careers. In addition to the one off events organised throughout the year and various trips, each child has meetings across the year with their tutor in which their discuss their ambitions and their plans. We use a platform called ‘Unifrog’ that helps them to understand themselves and gives them access to a massive database of activities and information about both different jobs and different universities.

Performing and Visual Arts Admissions

Most of our children come to us in Year 7 via being a sibling of a child already in the school, or by living close to the school. However, every year 10% of our Y7 admissions come via an audition/selection process for Art, Music, Dance and Drama. Those students receive extra provision each week to advance their skills and they become a fundamental part of the school. If you think your child would benefit and/or you currently live further away than most of our families then you may well be able to come to Kingsmead via this route.

If you would like information about Performing and Visual Arts admissions, please email admissions@kingsmead.org

Next Steps

If you would like to talk to us about Kingsmead, or have any specific questions you would like to ask, then please do email us at enquiries@kingsmead.org

Please click on the link below if you wish to download the above information.

Why is Kingsmead Special?