Our prime aim at The Willink is to provide the highest standard of education for all of our students so that every student achieves their maximum potential. We talk to our students about how important it is to Engage, show Respect and Achieve (ERA). With a blend of personal care and attention to detail, we continue to build a school community where students, parents, staff and governors work together in partnership to forge a creative and healthy environment for learning and personal development. Our ethos is encapsulated in the phrase “village school, global outlook”: to develop mature and responsible citizens who, as members of society, will go on to make a positive contribution to Britain in a global context.
We are proud of our heritage as a Language College. This tradition continues through our status as an International School (re-designated 2019-2022), as a centre for development in language learning, and our charity work at home and abroad. Almost all students study a language to GCSE level and the school offers French, German, Spanish to A Level. In September 2020 the school became one of seventy schools across the UK participating in the Mandarin Excellence Programme. Mandarin is now firmly our fourth language.
In September 2017 the DfE designated The Willink School a Teaching School beginning a new chapter as a leading institution for initial teacher training, professional development and supporting local schools in challenging circumstances. As the lead school in the Schools Direct Teaching Partnership, the Willink co-ordinates the training of high-quality entrants to the teaching profession. In September 2020 the Willink became lead school for the Möbius Maths Hub - one of forty National Centres for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM), leading developments in maths teaching and subject leadership from age 5-19 across a region including Bracknell, Reading, Wokingham, West Berkshire, Swindon and Wiltshire.
There is a very happy atmosphere at Willink. It is genuinely a place where young people of every talent and aptitude can thrive and blossom. We do aim to build on every child’s strengths; to encourage our students to be well-disciplined, polite and considerate, well-motivated and compassionate. We are very proud of the confident, skilled and ambitious students who leave us.
Our standards are always well above national averages. In a normal year almost 90% of our students achieved at least grades 9-4 at GCSE in English and Mathematics, two-thirds achieve 5+ grade 5s and almost half the English Baccalaureate – twice the national average. Our Attainment 8 score in 2019 was 55 (average grade B-) and the overall Progress 8 value was +0.41 above average. At A level we have a strong track record of achievement with results above national averages. About 30% of grades are usually A*/A. Every year the Willink sends proportionately a large contingent to the UK’s top Russell Group universities including Oxford and Cambridge. In 2018 the school featured in the Good School Guide. In 2019 the school received DfE recognition for achievement in the English Baccalaureate, top 10% attainment (non-selective schools) and top 20% progress. In 2019 the Willink was ranked in the top ten non-selective schools in Berkshire.
At our last official Ofsted Inspection in 2018, The Willink was considered to be a good school with outstanding features. The inspection report noted sustained high achievement, an upward trend in achievement across the ability range, excellence in teaching, outstanding behaviour and strength in leadership at senior level, middle level and governance. In June 2019 the school volunteered for a pilot inspection for the new Education Inspection Framework, which revealed again a sound curriculum and strong teaching. Our aim is simply to continue to build and to strive for excellence in everything we do, to make sustainable improvements, so that we provide the very best education for our young people.
Mr P Fry, Head - January 2021