Skelton High is a school for 11-16-year-olds situated on the southern edge of a conurbation in the north of England. It draws most of its students—the word used for all the young people at the school—from the relatively prosperous residential areas near which it is situated and there has been a strong expression of parental preference for the school in recent years. In January 1992 the school had 1,195 students on roll and enrolment is on a rising trend.
The school has 69.85 full time equivalent (fte) teachers, 10.3 fte support staff and has been locally managed since April 1991. In 1992-3, its budget share was £2m. In 1993-4 the budget share went up to £2.1m., an increase of 2.8 per cent. Student numbers have increased by 40 students (3.4 per cent) from 1,190 in September 1992 to 1,230 in September 1993. Student performance in public examinations is described by HMI as commendable and 1992 national school performance indicators showed 52 per cent of Year 11 students obtaining five or more A-C grades at GCSE. This had increasd to 57 per cent by 1994. Similarly, the response of students has been described as having many excellent features. The school’s attendance rate in 1992 was 95 per cent; and unauthorised absences were 0.05 per cent. The school has a governing body of 19 and, at the time of our study, one vacancy.
A general inspection at Skelton by HMI took place in February 1991. The school was praised for the evidence of good and sometimes excellent work in most areas of the curriculum whereby students achieve high standards of learning and a good basis of knowledge and skills. The success of the school was attributed to the quality of its management, responsive students and a conscientious staff. Moreover, the school was said to be managing its resources well to promote effective learning: ‘Skelton School has achieved considerable success in using its human and material resources to establish very good conditions for learning for its students.’
Our own sampling of the opinions of Year 9 students (83 per cent