Council leader visits Steyning school

Mr Nick Wergan, Headteacher Steyning Grammar School with Louise Goldsmith during visit SUS-140605-165703001
Mr Nick Wergan, Headteacher Steyning Grammar School with Louise Goldsmith during visit SUS-140605-165703001

On Wednesday April 30, Steyning Grammar School were privileged to have a visit from Louise Goldsmith - Leader of West Sussex County Council, Councillors Michael Brown (Cabinet Member of Finance), Jeremy Hunt (Deputy Cabinet Member for Children) and David Barling.

This visit was organised to show how Steyning Grammar School are embedding links with local business and to demonstrate the school’s skills and work related learning agenda in action.

David Barling said: “The visit was really enjoyable and we were made most welcome. I am so glad my senior colleagues had the time to come over from Chichester to come round the largest school in West Sussex and to see the excellent work that is going on here.

“The quality of teaching and the knowledge of pupils was first rate and we were very encouraged to hear that there are so many ambitious plans for University places amongst the sixth formers we spoke to.”

An extensive tour of the Shooting Field and the Church Street sites were given as well as a visit to the school’s outstanding Boarding accommodation. As the only state boarding school in West Sussex a focus was given to how the school supports West Sussex families and students with this outstanding boarding provision.

The party also observed a year 7 Project Based learning lesson showing students learning and demonstrating leadership, creativity and resilience skills in a lesson. Presentations were also given by Sixth Form economics students who gave their views on how they would lead the UK out of the current economic crisis.

Two of our ‘Young Enterprise’ companies presented their business plans, James Hansford, Managing Director of ‘Wrapped-Up’ – A company established by students in 2013 that provides a basket of food and drink items that are all made and produced in Sussex and Sam Miles, Managing Director of ‘Prism Audio’ – selling Bluewave prism speakers that have been designed and manufactured by the students.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council said: “I really enjoyed my visit to Steyning Grammar School and was very impressed with the skills agenda.

As a council we are committed to helping our children get the very best start in life and supporting them to go on to achieve their greatest potential.

I want to thank the staff and students at Steyning Grammar for giving me such a warm welcome, especially the pupils who were so polite and welcoming. It was also so good to see the entrepreneurship amongst the young people. “

This visit was also used to explore the role the school currently plays in the economic revival of West Sussex. Skills are at the core of Steyning Grammar’s curriculum, starting with enterprise learning skills written into Key Stage 3 alongside subject skills; it is a curriculum for progression from Year 7 to Year 13.

Students are explicitly taught skills such as ‘Can-do Mind-sets’, creativity and teamwork. Highest employability is a core aim for our student outcomes – whilst Steyning students are highly successful in exams, this is just one way the school expects students to demonstrate their skills and have them assessed. The school is preparing students for their futures.

Business acumen is encouraged with our two Young Enterprise Teams competing at a regional level and all the school’s Year 12 students carry out a weeks work experience very local to the school.

Steyning Grammar is developing new relationships with local business, including launching our Business Breakfasts to work more closely with local employers and develop new collaboration including workshops and training.

The school is working more closely with the local community, the Steyning Downland Scheme, Steyning Board of Trade, Steyning Festival, the local Greening Campaign and with the government agency at Wilton Park, establishing a foreign affairs discussion group and hosting visiting speakers.

Mr Nick Wergan, Headteacher Steyning Grammar School said: “Student employability is one of the core aims of learning at Steyning Grammar; we continue to embed a skills agenda across our curriculum to support students in developing the vital skills needed to be successful in the world of work they choose.

These skills range from resilience and positive mind-sets to creativity and leadership, and our students showed these skills confidently to our visitors – from our youngest students in Year 7 Project Based Learning to our Sixth Form economics students presenting on how they would lead the UK into economic growth.

Investing in education and the skills agenda will, we believe, play a crucial part on our local and national economic revival. This visit coincided with our launch this week of SGS Business Breakfasts, bringing local and regional employers in to school to develop closer links in the mutual interests of our students and the local economy.

The visit itself was highly successful – and as always, the confidence and dynamism of our students and the commitment of colleagues impressed our visitors greatly.”

Report and picture contributed by Steyning Grammar School.