HIDDEN just out of the way of the historic town of Chepstow and situated next to the leisure centre is Chepstow School.

A large, modern school catering for students from the age of 11 to 18, the school has 100 members of staff and currently has 1,000 pupils on roll.

Head teacher Claire Price has been at the school for nearly five years, and is proud of the transformation of the school over that time period.

The student leadership is one of the main things that Ms Price says the school is known for, as well as forming strong community links within the town.

She said: “We think of our school as being at the heart of the community but the students are at the heart of the school as well.

“I’m really proud of our student leadership, I think that is a key aspect of what we do and students actually develop and help shape the future of the school, which is brilliant.”

As the school is a sixth form as well as a secondary school, it has many students coming into Years 12 and 13 who have not attended the school before, but the current pupils always aim to work to make them feel included.

Recently, Year 13 pupils set up a sixth form wellbeing group to cater for new students to help them adjust to moving into a new school to begin their AS and A-levels.

Kennedy Hallett and Hannah Rawlings both set up the group and have helped this year’s 25 external new sixth form students along with helping incoming Year 6s who come to the school’s transition fortnight before they officially start the school in September.

Along with having a student buddy system for new pupils, a subject board in set up in the common room where Year 12s have been linked with Year 13s to discuss any issues with AS and A-levels.

As well as having a wellbeing group, the school also has an official LGBTQIA group for students who feel they need support, and also to help stop abusive language to people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex or asexual.

The three students who created the group, Lauren Wall, Courtney Middleton and Bryonoe Simon, started up the initiative because they thought there was a gap in the curriculum for LGBT students, and regularly hold meetings on Thursdays for pupils.

“The general meetings led to more meetings to see what we could do, and we decided to do fundraising for LGBT books for the school as well as creating a general awareness in the school,” said Year 12 pupil Lauren Wall.

The pupils also held a respect week, which finished with the whole school marching around the field carrying signs with positive messages.

Due to the huge amount of recognition the group has provided the school with, they are now also part of a Stonewall publication, a campaign which supports individuals to challenge homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

Working with the company, the students will release both a digital and hard copy publication, called “Stonewall: An Introduction to Supporting LGBT Young People Guide” where they give advice for other schools.

“The impact the group has had on the school has just been amazing. The impact is everywhere really.

“What is so special about these young people is about their whole message about love and respect, fairness and equality. They model that every day and I think that’s beautiful,” said Ms Price.

The school has many different events and social enterprises for the children, which Ms Price believes is essential for their learning, but also for their education.

Another recent activity that took place at the school was a This Girl Can campaign, a national campaign developed by Sport England which aims to empower women to exercise no matter what their shape or size is.

“We had a girl who finished last year who wanted to run this campaign, with help from the sports leaders she managed to put together a week of This Girl Can. Every female student did two hours additional physical activity that they hadn’t done before.

“Some students ran a boot camp class, we had taekwondo, tai chi and other things.”

Chepstow School also has a support unit for pupils with learning disabilities, which currently has around 12 students.

Ms Price said: "Its a lovely atmosphere in there, we prepare them for life and make sure they can look after themselves but we also teach them the national curriculum.

"We have sixth form students and Year 11 students that go into the class for support, and some even act as teaching assistants."

Overall, Ms Price believes the students wellbeing along with having a strong community link is essential.

"We're keen on a divisive and innovative curriculum and we make sure our young people aren't just equipped academically," she said.


Motto: Inspiring Learning

Head teacher: Claire Price

Chairman of governors: Craig Bridgeman

Number of pupils: 1,000

Age of pupils: 11 to 18-years-old

Last inspection: January 2012

Estyn rated the school’s performance in 2012 as “adequate” as "many pupils were making suitable progress in developing their knowledge, understanding and skills in lessons."

It was also rated as having “adequate” prospects for improvement because pupils were "competent in analysing a wide range of information, explaining ideas and processes, and providing balanced and supported opinions."