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Big vs Small



Discover how headteacher Jon Whitcombe has created the feeling of a small school within the second largest school in Kent.

There are some advantages to The Westlands School being big, such as being able to convert parts of its campus into a working farm used for science lessons. It can also offer a wide curriculum choice, including vocational courses which appeal to less academic students.

One of the problems of being such a large school is managing the welfare of a large student body. Some pupils find the large scale to be impersonal and there is sometimes a sense of not belonging.

To guarantee that every pupil has individual support from their teachers, Jon has divided the students into three learning communities for all their classes and assemblies. This allows them to develop the relationships of a small school on a larger campus.

Another innovation has been the introduction of vertical tutor groups. The challenge will always be striking a balance between creating the feeling of a small school whilst preserving the best aspects of being big.

Published : Nov 2007

15 mins


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