Settle College

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Settle College is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Headteacher Gareth Whitaker
Pen-y-ghent peak - Settle College lies on the
edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park
Settle College is a comprehensive school founded in 1907
as a girls’ high school. In 1959 it became one of the first
comprehensive schools in the UK, before the name changed
once again to Settle College in 2004. It then gained technology
college status, ahead of becoming an 11 – 18 school in 2012.
Headteacher Gareth Whitaker explains that high-quality teaching
and learning is at the heart of its provision, combined with
exceptional pastoral support to meet the individual needs of
every student.
At Settle College we encourage our pupils to be the best they can be. A school of
just under 670 pupils, we cater to the needs of those aged between 11 and 18,
preparing them for the future and all that entails.
Providing options
Through years 10 and 11 our students complete four options, either GCSE or
vocational, alongside English language and literature, maths, science, either
combined or triple, and RE. We offer geography, history, engineering, French,
Spanish, design technology, art, music, drama, IT and even computing for a
few. We also offer both GCSE and vocational qualifications in business studies,
PE,catering and hospitality.
We ensure that students are taught intensively throughout the year, and each
subject receives five hours of dedicated lessons per week, allowing for two GCSEs
»Headteacher:Gareth Whitaker
»Founded in1907
»Location:Settle, North
»Type of school:
Comprehensive school
»No. of students:667
Settle College
Highlighting best practice
to be completed in any given year.
Through teaching in this way, we
are able to broaden the range of
subjects on offer and avoid having to
make financial decisions which limit
our curriculum. The use of creative
strategies has meant we have been
above national average for Progress
8, both in terms of outcome and of
baskets filled, since its inception.
For such a small school, we are proud
of the breadth of curriculum we offer.
This has been supported by our Ofsted
report in May 2019, in which we were
deemed a “good” school. They noted
that our pupils study a curriculum that
is both broad and interesting. Our
programme, particularly in Key Stage
4, was praised for developing pupils’
knowledge, skills and understanding
across a wide range of subjects,
including, for example, music and art.
We offer a similar programme in
our sixth form, which combines
the education of years 12 and 13,
ensuring that as a rural school in
North Yorkshire, we can provide both
academic opportunity and excellence.
Vision and vigour
The ability of our leaders to offer
appropriate provision for our sixth
form adapts well to the changing
needs and aspirations of students at
the school. We have worked to ensure
that, as far as is possible, our students
can follow a combination of courses
that suits their current strengths and
future aspirations.
Our leadership team has maintained
a good quality of education in the
school, and I am proud to lead with
vision, vigour and a real sense of
moral purpose. Working with staff
and governors, we have quickly and
effectively established a culture and ways
of working to uphold the Settle values.
Equality of opportunity
We believe we represent best
practice through embodying the true
comprehensive purpose of support
for all. Upon entry into our school,
we believe it is important to offer an
equality of opportunity, irrespective of
background or educational need. We
work to support SEND students from
the beginning and find that we have a
number of pupils who have been with
us from the age of 11, graduating with
us in sixth form.
We offer a considerable number of
local and international trips, allowing
our pupils to visit countries including
Iceland and Germany. The ski trip
to France is a firm favourite and
is enjoyed across the age range in
Our school educates pupils beyond
the curriculum, and we believe it is
important they are able to experience
a wide breadth of subjects. Through
engaging with the arts, including
vocational design, music and
computing, we ensure our pupils can
choose the subjects they desire, in
recognition of different student needs.
Students have a great
enthusiasm for the arts
The use of
strategies has
meant we
have been
above national
average for
Progress 8
Compounding issues
The size and location of our school
compounds the issues felt by larger
city schools. As a rural school, funding
is a particular issue we face; with
fewer pupils also comes a decrease
in resources. It is also important that
we focus on offering a breadth of
opportunities to our pupils, something
we feel acutely as a smaller school.
Typically recruitment is similarly difficult,
seen on a national level as much as a
local one, though during lockdown
this has not been an issue and all areas
within school continue to be staffed by
specialist teachers. We are focussed on
supporting initial teacher training and
developing our own teachers as well as
national recruitment. We are proud of
the fact that attendance at our school
is very strong, testament to the quality
of education we provide. Our students
enjoy their education, and this is
shown in all spheres of ourschool.
Plans for growth
Following the Progress 8 measure,
we have been above the national
average in terms of performance.
This provides us with the perfect
foundation for future growth. The
coming years will see us continue to
strengthen the education we provide
for our pupils through developing the
Our sixth form is currently comprised
of 84 students, and this will only
serve to grow in the coming decade.
Through maintaining a high-quality
sixth form provision, we will be able
to ensure that education continues to
provide a next step for many of our
students into roles in the wider world.
In spite of the current political climate
and the landscape of crisis we find
ourselves in, we are confident in our
future, as we have been in our past.
Upon entry into
our school, we
believe it is
important to
offer an equality
of opportunity,
irrespective of
background or
Experimenting in

This article was sponsored by Settle College. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.