Stratton Upper is a 13 to 19 school with a roll over 1000 students. This includes just under 400 students in our Sixth Form. We are the only upper school serving Biggleswade and the surrounding villages. This has both advantages and responsibilities. An advantage is that any competition from neighbouring schools is minimal and this has enabled us to develop increasingly collaborative relationships with them. Our unequivocal responsibility however, is to ensure that we support the needs of all students within our catchment. It follows that we accommodate students from across the full spectrum of ability and that we are truly inclusive.
Over recent years we have been embarking on an ambitious programme to raise standards, transform our curriculum and help our students realise what they are truly capable of achieving. Our ambition for school improvement continues with even more purpose, driven by our commitment to open as many opportunities for our students as we possibly can. Our vision is to be ‘outstanding’ within two years.
To achieve our vision we guide our students to be self-motivated, enthusiastic learners who are equipped and inspired to love learning throughout life as much as we do.
In practice, our approach is based on high expectations, high aspirations and high levels of trust. Our starting point is our working assumption that staff and students alike are committed to personal fulfilment and expect to work in an environment of success and respect.
We find there is very little need for traditional lists of dogmatic school rules and attendant lists of sanctions and consequences. Our expectation is that our students will always “do the right thing” because we have inspired them to commit to our shared values which centre on aspiration, mutual support and of course, learning. When this is challenged (and it is, we’re a school with 1000 13 – 19 year olds!) we resolve the issue swiftly, but we also reflect the extent to which our own actions, as adults and professionals, contributed either positively or negatively to the situation.
We recruit professionals who share our vision, who focus on the long game, knowing that schools thrive on quality relationships between staff and students.
The holistic experience of being a Stratton student is of vital importance to us. Our staff are incredibly giving of their time, which means we can offer a vibrant, extracurricular range of activities. In 2014 we took part in a humanitarian expedition to Peru, in 2016 students returned from a similar expedition to Borneo and our most recent humanitarian visit was to Costa Rica in 2018.
Performing and visual arts are a strength with regular multimedia exhibitions, drama, music and dance productions. Our debating and public speaking groups compete at a national level. Our sports facilities are excellent and support a full range of individual and team sports and our students have enjoyed particular success in racket sports over recent years.
An unusual feature of Stratton, of which we are enormously proud, is our Farm. Originally this was set up at the time when there were far more employment opportunities within agriculture. These days this is less relevant in the local job market, but the farm provides a wonderful learning resource in its own right. Each year we produce thousands of plants, as well as highly prized meat from rare breed pigs, lambs and poultry.
We have just completed a multi-million pound expansion of the Stratton Upper School site. This is because of demographic growth across our catchment that is predicted to add over 400 students to the school roll. The project consists of a large, dedicated Science suite of 12 laboratories and associated support services. In time, these new facilities will enable us to reconfigure areas of our school (for instance, the existing Science labs) to provide more versatile teaching and administrative accommodation.