A NEWPORT school which has some of the top grades in the country reveals how it achieves highly.
Rougemont School, which is tucked away at the top of Malpas Road, is an independent school and caters for some 550 pupils.
The school has been on the 55 acre site, which boasts impressive views of Twmbarlwm, for only 25 years , as it was originally situated in Newport city.
Robert Carnevale, who has been head teacher since 2014, said there are nine buildings on the site.
He said: “We have many buildings, all of which are used for different reasons.
“Six lessons are taught a day and pupils will use different buildings.
“We have a nursery, infants, junior and secondary schools here, so different pupils will be using certain buildings.”
Mr Carnevale, who also teaches physics at the school, thinks that the wide age range makes the school “unique”.
“In terms of the range I do think this school is unique,” said Mr Carnevale, “not many schools can have such a diverse age range on a single site.
“But there are other reasons which makes us unique - and that would be our excellent achievements.
“70 per cent of sixth formers choose AS maths, which is such a large number.
“And our GCSE results have been the best ever – 36 per cent of our pupils had A* which is above the national average.” He added: “All of our pupils do very well here.”
The head teacher, who used to teach at Croesyceiliog School, believes the reasons for this success are due to a combination of factors.
Firstly, he believes that small class room sizes enables a “greater pupil to teacher ratio”.
“Our average class size is between 15 to 16 pupils,” said Mr Carnevale.
“Having small classes really does make a difference.
“With smaller classes, teachers are able to talk with pupils for longer and vice versa.
“So if a pupil has any queries they can be answered much quicker.
“I teach physics to a couple of classes and I can see that having smaller classes makes a difference.”
Mr Carnevale also spoke of a special “emphasis” being placed on core skills, such as English and maths.
He said: “From the earliest of ages, the emphasis is on English, maths, biology, chemistry and physics.
“If pupils become good at these subjects then they will achieve great things.
“Also, we have what you call ‘teacher specialists’ so rather than have a teacher teach a range of topics, they will concentrate on one.
“We don’t have science all mixed together here, but separate biology, chemistry and physics lessons.
“The reason for this is to simply help our pupils.
“And from the earliest of ages there is plenty of support here for them.”
Many A-level pupils go on to matriculate to red brick universities and Oxbridge.
At AS and A-level 19 subjects are available to be studied and 18 subjects are on offer at GCSE level.
Lower down the school, the ancient tongue of latin is also taught, and is compulsory from Year 7 to 8.
With first class facilities, including two rugby pitches, one football pitch and a tennis court, many community groups come to the school.
The head teacher said: “We have excellent relations with the community.
“There are many community groups that use our facilities, like Gwent Hockey, Cardiff City and Malpas Cricket Club.
“We do a great many things with the community too.”
Recently, staff and pupils at Rougemont ran the Newport half marathon and managed to raise a staggering £14,000 for a cancer charity.
“We were so proud of that big achievement,” said Mr Carnevale.
“It is something that we can all be very, very proud of.”
The head teacher added: “We’ve had many pupils come through the school, but what we aim for and hope to achieve is for our pupils to become global citizens of the future.”
For more information on Rougemont School, call 01633 820800 or visit http://www.rougemontschool.co.uk/