School progresses successful scheme

A SUCCESSFUL scheme to limit the use of supply teachers at Clevedon School looks set to be expanded to give students an even better learning experience.

The secondary school has managed to cut the amount it spends on supply teachers, used to cover staff absence due to illness, training or trips away, from �130,000 in 2006/07 to �63,000 in the 2010/11 financial year.

This is down to the creation of the Discovery Centre - a purpose-built suite featuring 90 computers and a variety of audio visual equipment, which is used by students when their teacher is absent.

Pupils can be set personalised work to complete, which they will do independently, or can use the time to complete course work or exam revision.

The Discovery Centre is ran by one permanent member of staff with the help of other colleagues when needed.

This prevents the need to employ supply teachers and also means students can carry on with work set by their absent teacher. It also means other teachers are not asked to cover lessons they do not know enough about.

Assistant headteacher Jim Smith said: “After the initial investment of �100,000, we have seen a year-on-year return on our investment.

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“Just as importantly, the quality of the learning is also much better.

“The Discovery Centre replicates the real working world as students take responsibility for themselves.”

After four years of running the Discovery Centre, the subsequent savings mean the school has been able to invest in other areas such as a dance studio and newly-refurbished eating area.

Following this success, Clevedon School now plans to open two new zones, called Ignite and Inspire, alongside the Discovery Centre in the next six to 12 months.

Ignite will be used to increase pupils’ curiosity and to stimulate their imaginations through role plays and other non-computer based activities.

Inspire will be used to provide one-to-one sessions with pupils who may need help, for example with their behaviour, to give them the motivation to learn.

Headteacher John Wells said: “We are still receiving requests from schools all over the country wanting to see some of the innovative approaches used at Clevedon School.

“The Discovery Centre is just one example of our commitment to becoming an outstanding school and being within budget.”