In February 2018 we received a truly outstanding report from Estyn, the education and training inspectorate. Olchfa received 5 ‘excellent’ judgements out of a possible 5, the highest possible outcome. The standards that pupils achieve, their sense of wellbeing and the care, support and guidance they receive were all singled out for praise. Teaching and leadership at all levels also received an extremely positive endorsement. A particular thrill for us was the recognition of our innovative approaches to the curriculum and the development of pupils' skills. This gives us the encouragement to continue to be at the forefront of curriculum development in Wales.
As one of the largest schools in the country, with nearly 1800 pupils, including 400 students in the Sixth Form, we are able to provide breadth, balance and opportunity to all of our pupils within an inclusive culture. The range of courses on offer to pupils at all key stages is very wide.
The school has a strong tradition of guidance and care and aims to fulfil its mission statement of developing the individual potential of all in a safe and caring environment. Learning Leaders attached to year groups oversee the academic progress and potential of the pupils. They are supported by Pastoral Guidance Workers and Key Stage Administrative Managers, who oversee the calendar of year group routines as well as monitoring the attendance and behaviour of pupils, interfacing directly with parents where necessary. The Learning Centre provides additional support for those pupils in Key Stage 4 who might otherwise experience difficulty achieving the L2 and L2+ Threshold at 16.
The school has a wide range of facilities on the purpose-built site which includes extensive Science and Technology suites, a Drama and Theatre Arts Hall, a well-stocked Learning Resource Centre and comprehensive ICT provision. Sporting facilities are good, with an indoor swimming pool, cricket nets, two gymnasia, outdoor pitches, Redgra provision, Sports Hall and the new 'Calon' Fitness Suite which opened in 2015.
The school operates a 50 period fortnight, with a five period day, one of which is in the afternoon session.
The size of the school and its staffing team ensure that there are good opportunities for personal development and promotion within the school over time. The school also has a good record of providing a platform for promotion outside itself.
There is an extremely wide range of extra-curricular activities at Olchfa with all main team games offered and regular success at County and International levels. There in an annual musical production involving large casts both front of house and on stage, giving pupils the opportunity to take part. The Expressive Arts Learning Area holds a summer event showcasing students’ work in art and photography, together with music and theatre. The Duke of Edinburgh scheme is well established and popular at all levels with expeditions for Bronze, Silver and Gold being regular features of the school calendar. Many clubs and societies are available to pupils, both during and after school, and new staff are encouraged to contribute to this vital aspect of school life. The school celebrates the achievements of the pupils in an Annual Presentation Evening. A number of visits abroad take place each year including skiing trips, as well as trips abroad to USA, Asia and Europe.
Hugh Davies, Headteacher