Shenley Brook End in Milton Keynes is a non-selective comprehensive school which is regarded by OFSTED as a ‘good school’. Its 2016 GCSE results were above the national average at 69% A*-C (including English and maths). The school has recently gone through an extensive new-build programme in order to cater for an expanding local population that will see its total headcount rise to over 1,800 students, making it amongst the largest secondary schools in the UK. The school’s new build programme was completed in 2016 costing £7 million and included new science laboratories, English classrooms, an enlarged theatre, and an extended sports hall and library facilities. Like most comprehensive schools across the country, Shenley Brook End struggles to recruit in key areas. St. Paul’s independent school in West London has a headcount of approximately half that of Shenley Brook End at 900 students, and charges fees up to £12k per term. The school has also recently experienced a new-build programme, except they are not expanding to accommodate more children – they are building to increase the quality of their provision. St. Paul’s new science building was completed in 2013 as part of their first phase of a £77 million development, and has become the first school in the country to house a scanning electron microscope. Their new science block and courtyard building won a Civic Trust Award in 2013 and a Royal Institute of British Architects Award in 2015. This brief introduction is nothing more than a mere hint at the disparity in vision and educational provision that we allow to exist within British society. St. Paul’s school sends more students to Oxbridge annually than Shenley Brook End has since it’s opening in 1997; indeed, St. Paul’s sends twice as many students to Oxbridge, per annum, than all the secondary schools in Milton Keynes, combined.
‘…schools in the area are sharing details
of unsuccessful – but suitably qualified
– applicants just to try and fill vacancies.’
Ian Tett, Head Teacher,
Oakgrove, Milton Keynes
‘We feel privileged to have been
provided with such an amazing
facility and it is a great testament
to the architects that their vision
is both so inspiring to work in
and to look at.’
Ken Zetie, Head of Science,
St. Paul’s, London.