Rushcliffe School – already ranked outstanding by Ofsted – has joined an elite group of UK state schools that has earnt the rigorous World Class Schools Quality Mark (WCSQM).
Just 26 schools now hold the accreditation and Rushcliffe School in West Bridgford is the first in the East Midlands and North of England to win the accolade.
The mark is the new standard in education for state secondary schools, which go beyond the highest Ofsted inspection grade of outstanding and demonstrate their students are exceptional compared to international standards.
Rushcliffe, which is the lead school in The Trent Academies Group, achieved the prestigious status following a rigorous assessment process which took nearly six months to complete.
It will be presented with the award at a ceremony at the London School of Economics in London later today (Thursday 12th November).
Head teacher of Rushcliffe, Steve Lewis, said: “What’s great about this award is the assessment criteria. The bar is set so high. It feels like a significant next step on from outstanding.
“Through it we’ve demonstrated that our school offers not just academic excellence but a truly character building, life affirming experience.”
Only schools which are ranked as outstanding by Ofsted in all categories can apply for the quality mark.
“The award is also unique as it is the students who are assessed rather than the school itself,” explained Mr Lewis. “Our students have shown fantastic entrepreneurialism and commitment to learning and as a result our school is now classed as one of the very best in the world.”
As part of the accreditation process students from the school had to submit detailed evidence, including a 20-minute video, demonstrating how Rushcliffe met a wide range of success criteria.
A small group of its pupils then had to undertake a challenging assessment day, involving working in teams with other schools to plan and carry out a significant makeover of a north London primary school.
They worked against the clock to achieve the transformation, while trained assessors monitored their work and judged them on their leadership and team-working skills.
Lola Smith, 15, who was part of the videoing team, said: “We are so proud. Both stages of the assessment were really tough but all our hard work has paid off. It’s a huge sense of achievement.”
Fellow pupil, Haider Aslam, aged 16, said: “The video took about 60 hours to produce in planning, filming and editing time. There’s so many opportunities at Rushcliffe, you don’t realise just how much students get to experience here until you make a video about it.”
Sixth-formers Amy Brook and Andrew Mapperley took part in the primary school makeover. “At the end of the assessment day the primary school looked really good,” Amy said. “Teachers, students, parents and governors all came round to see the results and complimented us on what we’d done.”
Andrew added: “It proves you don’t need to be a specific type of school, like a grammar, church or independent school, or in a particular part of the country, to achieve something. It’s about what the school actually does. We’re just a normal suburban secondary but we’re also world class.”
Miranda Perry, co-director of WCSQM, said: “The Mark is about recognising how well the top secondary schools in the country prepare their students to thrive in the 21st Century. We are confident that our awarded schools provide their students with the best life chances possible.”