Sharnbrook Upper School and Community College is a rural 13-19 comprehensive school which was opened in purpose-built facilities in September 1975. It serves rural North Bedfordshire, drawing from a catchment area of 33 villages. The school is located on the fringe of Sharnbrook village, eight miles north of Bedford and six miles south of Rushden. While the school serves the needs of rural North Bedfordshire, it also takes students from further afield, including Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, as a result of movement into the school’s catchment feeder schools and, also, the Sixth Form. Sharnbrook is, by any measure, a popular school within the local and wider community.
The site and buildings are pleasantly situated at the end of a long drive, surrounded by fields and woodland. We have received the Schools Curriculum Award (twice), Artsmark Gold, the Sportsmark Award (twice), and Investors in People status. After being named in the list of Outstanding Schools in the 1998 OFSTED Annual Report, we became a Beacon School in 1998, which was renewed in April 2001, following an OFSTED inspection which described Sharnbrook as “an excellent school”. The school has been named in OFSTED’s “Best of the Best” listing twice and our most recent inspection (2009) was judged ‘Outstanding’ for the fourth successive time. In 1998, the school was awarded Specialist College status for the Media Arts and this was renewed for a further four years in 2002 and again in 2006. This has afforded major benefits, not only to the Arts, but also to all areas of the curriculum and school life and the wider community. As a result of its longstanding commitment to and involvement in the continuing professional development of all teachers, in 2000, the school gained Training School status which was reviewed and extended for a further three years from 2003 and again in 2006. The school actively supports and promotes the training of new teachers, not only through the PGCE and SCITT route, but also through the Graduate Teacher Training programme. This work is evidence of the school’s ongoing commitment to the development of all teachers, whether in initial training or those with considerable experience. In 2006, the school successfully applied to become one of the first wave of specialist schools in Applied Learning. The school is developing a range of applied courses, particularly BTECs, and is fully involved in the development and implementation of Diplomas.