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Head's Welcome

I am delighted to be the Headteacher of Wanstead High and am committed to ensuring that the school builds on all its phenomenal qualities, continues to go from strength to strength and provides the very best education for our young people. The website is being reviewed, and we aim to ensure this is a welcoming and transparent place and has high quality information to support the community, especially our parents, that is clear, comprehensive and informative.

Wanstead High has so many strengths, not least the inclusive and warm ethos, that I have experienced from day one, as well as the strong academic foundations and exam results. In a pre-Ofsted review in September 2023, a Lead Inspector stated that staff at Wanstead High ‘hold children’s lives in their hands and hearts’.

At GCSE in 2023, 34% of entries were assessed at grades 9-7, compared to a national figures of 22.7%, whilst 82% of entries were graded at 9-4 compared to 67.8% nationally. Maths and English results were outstanding with 70% of pupils achieving a grade 5 or above in Maths and English and 87% a 4 in both subjects. At A’ Level, 28% of grades were A/A*, more than any other non-selective school in Redbridge.

There was so much positive feedback from our pupil survey in July 2023, for example, one pupil said that what they love most about the school is ‘being able to trust the environment that I’m in, to have trust in the staff and how I feel about always being wanted. Everybody is included as somebody. I love how I can partake in extracurricular activities whether it is representing the school or for my own personal leisure.’ ‘Always being wanted’ is testament to the excellent and strong relationships between staff and pupils. Parents also rate highly the discipline, diversity, friendship good education, care from staff and inclusive approach and nearly 90% agree or strongly agree that their child is happy in school. In addition, 90% of staff agree or strongly agree that they really enjoy working at the school.

Some other feedback from pupils that helps to get a better understanding of what the school is about:

  • ‘The ability to feel accepted.’
  • ‘The school achieves good results and there are kind, caring and patient students in the community - you give the school a good reputation.’
  • ‘I am proud of being a part of the Wanstead High Community because I am able to learn with
    the best teachers and I have many learning opportunities to help build a great future.’
  • ‘Dance and music opportunities.’
  • ‘Definitely the togetherness we have at this school, and it’s a really inviting atmosphere.’
  • ‘The way how the school runs and makes me feel as if I belong here.’
  • ‘Everyone is very nice and supportive especially teachers.’
  • ‘Safety and kindness.’
  • ‘How close we all are and how much we all support each other.’
  • ‘Being part of a lovely including space where you feel that you can openly talk about your thoughts and feelings, and you feel supported by all members of staff.’

We will publish our revised 3-year School Development Plan shortly and our self-evaluation from 2022-23. You will see that we have clear and ambitious plans to continue to ensure that the quality of education in school is second to none and that all teachers become masters in adaptive teaching, as well as continuing to embed consistent and high standards of behaviour in classrooms and around the school. We want to be the very best local school we can be ensuring all our young people are able to fulfil their ambitions and be safe and happy. Our pupils are so talented, engaging, insightful, funny and committed and have bright futures ahead of them backed up by our, quality teaching, guidance care and support. I am also very excited by the new building, albeit being so behind schedule, and am sure that this will have a really positive impact on everyone in the community when it is finally complete.

We know we are not yet perfect, but we will never rest on our laurels. Leaders at all levels in the school are reflective and honest and able to forensically analyse what needs to happen to continually grow and improve. We also encourage feedback to ensure we listen to the voices of our stakeholders. The staff are passionate and dedicated subject specialists, committed to providing ‘education with character’ for all and capable of ensuring the best quality learning and teaching and results for pupils. It is vital that all pupils have the same opportunities and chances to reach their potential, and we address areas where this is not the case. We strive to ensure the curriculum is rigorous, but also romantic, and engages pupils at all levels, as well as being diverse and forward-thinking. I am passionate about developing the full person, ensuring enrichment opportunities for pupils of all ages, and enabling excellent mental health and well-being, supporting pupils and staff still, in some cases, affected by after-effects of Covid and for the community to continue to grow and flourish.

I am an experienced and successful Headteacher having been Head of Heathcote School for 5 years prior to joining Wanstead High in September 2022. I have worked for 27 years in, and with, London schools and love the diversity and ambition of young people in our capital city. I have a 14-year-old daughter, and she drives my passion and ambition for children, ensuring that all pupils have an opportunity to be the best they can be; finding their interests and talents and ensuring they are nurtured.

I wish everyone in the Wanstead community the greatest success this year and a shout-out to Year 11 and 13 as they start the journey towards their exams and the next stage of their education or work pathway.

We know that many of you will be visiting the school over the coming weeks as you make a decision about where your child will attend secondary school. We do hope that you see what it is that makes Wanstead special and choose to send your child here in the future.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions

Emma Hillman