Garth Hill College

Garth Hill College

About the school

About Garth Hill College

Thank you for taking the time to consider working with us. Garth Hill is a happy and vibrant place of learning. We are proud to be a genuinely comprehensive school and offer a wide and diverse range of excellent opportunities, inside and outside the classroom, that we believe enable our young people to develop exceptionally well both academically and personally.

We work in a great learning environment (our new school building opened in September 2010) with superb facilities (we also have our own TARDIS). We opened a new Sixth Form Centre in September 2015, and also recently opened new specialist SEN unit provision at Rise@GHC (a 10 minute walk from our main site).

I am fortunate to work with a well qualified and extremely dedicated team of staff. We are passionate about our pupils’ learning, and the Garth Hill community. We seek the very best for our pupils’ education and their achievement and we are committed to providing excellent service and care to all of our pupils and their families. I hope that you will be very interested in joining us and becoming a member of the Garth Hill team.

Finally, we believe that anyone can achieve, and beyond expectation, with relentless dedication, commitment and purposeful hard work. If you possess the qualities listed, have the necessary skills and experience, believe that working with young people is a privilege and are ambitious for the future of Garth Hill College, we welcome your application.

K Grainger – Principal

The Local Area

Bracknell is located in the heart of Berkshire, 30 miles west of London and 10 miles to the east of Reading. Garth Hill is located to the north of the town centre, a five minute drive from rural countryside. The town itself is a thriving commercial centre with headquarters of many national and international companies. Transport links are good and allow staff to live within a large geographical area. The M3 and M4 motorways are each within ten minutes of the College. There is a direct rail link to London Waterloo or via Reading, a fast train to London Paddington. London airports are within easy reach.

Bracknell centre has recently undergone a 240m regeneration named the Lexicon including restaurants and a new 12 screen 4DX cinema . Travelling to The Oracle in Reading, The Meadows in Camberley or to other shopping centres at Guildford, Slough and Windsor is straightforward. Within Bracknell there is The South Hill Park Arts Centre, which comprises theatre, cinema and galleries. Centrally there is a 10 screen cinema, bowling alley, night club and many restaurants and pubs. The John Nike Centre features a ski slope and ice skating rink for public use. Other sporting and leisure facilities include a Sports Centre with three swimming pools, indoor halls and an outdoor athletics track. The recently refurbished Coral Reef watersports ‘funpool’ and the Lookout, a local heritage centre, are on the edge of the town.

Support, Induction and Staff Development

We are committed to providing staff with access to highly effective professional development so that they can develop their craft as teachers. We expect staff to actively engage in their CPD and strive to become excellent practitioners, to deeply reflect and learn from all opportunities and experiences using observation (self and peer), coaching, mentoring and action research. Professional feedback and dialogue aims to be critically informative and insightful, qualitative and leave colleagues well placed to move practice forward. Colleagues should receive, accept, reflect and act upon this, and also make the most of the opportunities presented to help them develop. The College has an induction programme for all staff and newly qualified teachers, in particular the support we provide to newly qualified teachers is highly regarded. All colleagues take part in the appraisal reviews, where objectives are set and development and support needs are identified.

Support and Professional Development

A range of support and professional development opportunities are available at Garth Hill College. These include:

  • A comprehensive Induction programme for NQTs and new staff
  • Allocation of a professional mentor (NQTs)
  • Personal mentor/Learning Partner programme (all staff)
  • The College is committed to coaching for all. Every member of teaching staff is trained in basic coaching skills.
  • The College has invested in the IRIS lesson observation package. Staff can use the equipment to do a ‘selfie’ observation and review their teaching practice in private, or use as a powerful joint observation coaching tool.
  •  A supportive and emotionally literate leadership and management and strong staff camaraderie
  • Regular staff meetings
  • An extensive in-house INSET Programme
  • External INSET opportunities
  • An active Staff Association
  • Enrolment on ‘The Living Leader’ personal development course (Penny Ferguson).

Support in Re-locating

There are a number of estate agents in Bracknell, Reading and the surrounding areas with a good selection of property to buy or rent. We can provide you with details. Information on the Homebuy scheme and the Key Worker scheme is also available. Bracknell Forest Housing Department can be contacted on 01344 351353.

Management and Organisation

The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) comprises the Principal, a Vice Principal and seven Assistant Principals. The College’s Senior Team comprises the SLT along with the Senior Teachers, Business, Administration and Site Managers.

In addition to whole college responsibilities, the Assistant Principals each have line management responsibility for one of the College’s six ‘schools’. There are four main curriculum areas: Human, Creative and Physical Studies; Languages and Communications; Mathematics and Information Studies and Science and Technology. Each area is led by a Curriculum Team Leader (a senior central leader) and there are subject leaders for each of the subjects within those curriculum area teams. The Sixth Form and The School of Supported Learning (SEN/Inclusion) are our fifth and sixth ‘schools’.

The College’s pastoral structure is organised as a house system. The four ‘schools’ in the main college building are home to one of the College’s four houses. There are four houses: Lawrence, Fielden, Brownlow and Haversham. Each house is made up of 2 or 3 tutor groups from each curriculum year, typically 11-12 tutor groups in total. Pupils are allocated to mixed ability tutor groups under the care of a form tutor. It is usual for a tutor to stay with a group throughout years 7 to 11.

The Governors are extremely supportive of the work that goes on within the College. Each area has a link-Governor. As well as regular meetings of the Full Governing Body, committees (comprising governors and staff) meet to discuss and determine policy relating to Curriculum and Pupil Needs, Finance and Environment and Personnel and Communications.


A complete £40m re-build of the college was completed in Summer 2010. The new facilities are first class. Features include large classrooms, cabled and wireless ICT network access in all learning spaces, a theatre auditorium with bleacher seating, drama and dance studios, media centre, manufacturing centre, specialist vocational catering kitchen, music suite with recording studio, two well-equipped gymnasiums, a multi-purpose fitness room and a floodlit G3 artificial pitch. A new Sixth Form centre was opened in September 2015 and Rise@GHC, specialist provision for SEN learners with ASC was also opened in 2015.

IT support is first rate and all staff and pupils have email and Internet access. All staff are supported by a ‘Print Room’ team who undertake photocopying and other services such as the preparation of teaching materials and laminating. There is a support team of finance and administration assistants, secretarial staff, site staff, technicians and learning support assistants.

The College Day

The College day begins with registration at 8.40am and teaching finishes at 3.15pm, with a morning break of 20 minutes and a lunch break of 45 minutes. Lessons are 75 minutes and there are four lessons in the day. We operate a two-week timetable. Early morning staff briefing sessions are held on Mondays and Thursdays. All staff meet periodically in their teams. Colleagues with management responsibilities, such as Heads of House and Subject Leaders, have additional separate meetings. There are various working parties, such as the ICT Strategy Group and Learning Innovation Group. The members of which are drawn from a cross section of all staff. A wide range of extra curricular activities take place. As well as sporting and musical activities, many departments organise clubs where pupils can seek extra help, extend their knowledge and skills, help others or do alternative projects related to a subject area.

Teaching and Learning

In years 7 and 8, pupils study in preparation for commencing GCSE study in year 9. Pupils are carefully allocated to tutor groups on the basis of information we receive from the feeder school, in order that tutor groups are well balanced in terms of ability. Early in Year 7, pupils are set by ability in Mathematics, English, MFL, History, Geography, Religious Education and Science. Setting ensures that a pupil’s teaching and learning experience is appropriately matched to their ability in each subject. Setting also allows our more able pupils in the higher sets to be suitably stretched and stimulated. There is also a programme of after-college enrichment activities designed to enhance their learning experience.

Those pupils on the Special Educational Needs register receive in-class support and guidance from Learning Support Assistants, as well as attend workshops in the SEN department.

In years 9, 10 and 11, pupils study GCSEs. We offer some vocational GCSE and BTEC courses too. A wide choice of A Level subjects are on offer in the Sixth Form.

The School of Supported Learning (SEN and Learning Support)

The College has a strong team committed to supporting the learning of pupils, particularly those with SEN. Each department has a member of staff identified as a teacher who oversees the curricular needs of children with special needs. These teachers meet regularly with our SENCOs. The range of extra help is extensive and includes the teaching of pupils in smaller groups, in-class support with Learning Support Assistants and occasional part time attendance at specialist units. We can also call on the help and advice of other professionals, expert in hearing, sight, language, learning, physical and emotional difficulties.

In September 2015, the College opened a brand new learning centre to serve pupils aged 11-19 with high functioning autistic spectrum conditions living in Bracknell Forest and other local authorities. The new centre is part of Garth Hill College, but operates in dedicated buildings within a ten minute walk and two minute drive of the main Garth Hill site.

Assessment, Recording and Reporting

All assessment is on-line. Tutors and Heads of House are responsible for monitoring the achievements of pupils, and Subject and Curriculum Team Leaders for ensuring the recording, reporting and evaluation of pupil performance in their own area. Each curriculum year group has an examination period during the academic year. Parents/carers receive reports on their child’s progress and are invited to a subject reporting evening. In addition, all pupils take part in Performance Review Day. Year 11 also attend a series of workshops to help prepare them for public examination and the next stage of their lives.

Community and Industrial Links

The College has close links with other local schools, including our main feeder Primary Schools to ensure smooth transition and promote staff development and the sharing of facilities. We also have very well established partnerships with local business and community groups.

Expectations of Behaviour

As a CMCD ® College, teachers actively praise and reward positive behaviour and good citizenship, but there are clearly understood sanctions for unacceptable conduct. Throughout the week a duty member of staff is available to visit classes and offer any support where necessary.

The Staff Association

There is a strong camaraderie amongst colleagues and the Staff Association exists to encourage it. Colleagues can join the Staff Association at a small cost. Members are invited to various social and leisure events.

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