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The Purbeck School
Worgret Road, BH20 4PF Wareham
01929 556301


The Purbeck School is a mixed community comprehensive school serving approximately 1200 13-18 year olds in the Isle of Purbeck area of south Dorset.

We are committed to involving all students, parents, staff and governors in providing a broad and balanced education which encourages the pursuit of excellence and values progress, effort and achievement. Our designation as a specialist school has enabled us to secure funding for some exciting projects aimed at raising standards and promoting active involvement with our community partners.  Standards of achievement are rising at every Key Stage and we are particularly proud of our record breaking GCSE 64%*A-C GCSE performance in 2006

I hope the information on this site answers any questions you may have about the school. If you would like further information on any aspect of our work please do not hesitate to get in touch. If you are a parent and you have not already done so, please come in and see us at work. I know you will enjoy the experience and feel glad to know that your son or daughter will be joining a well ordered and happy community dedicated to enabling them to maximize their personal potential. 

Richard Holman

The Purbeck School became a Science College in September 2004. Science Colleges form one section of a network of schools with specialist status in a variety of subjects overseen by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.

The aim of all Science Colleges is to improve the teaching and learning of science and mathematics, increase the number of students studying the subjects beyond the age of 16 and create opportunities which can lead to a range of exciting and interesting careers.

As a result of the extra funding brought to the school facilities and opportunities have improved enabling us to create the expertise and resources that will lead to a further rise in standards for all our students in all their subjects.

We have achieved a lot since designation:

  • Re-furbishment of labs, including specialist ICT facilities
  • A wider range of teaching resources particularly in terms of ICT
  • We offer students the chance to study separate sciences at GCSE
  • Applied Science is a new course with the first cohort taking GCSE in September 2007
  • Applied Science at A level will start in September 2007
  • The numbers studying A level sciences and mathematics has increased where the national trend is downward
  • Higher Level Teaching Assistants work with students to assist their learning
  • Laboratory technician support is provided to the Middle Schools
  • An Advanced Skills Teacher has been appointed in mathematics
  • Special events have been offered to Middle School students to encourage the gifted and talented
  • Community events have been hosted involving our students with a wider group of adults and strengthening our reputation in the locality
  • Results are improving and are outstandingly good at KS3 and A level in both science and mathematics with exceptional performance in mathematics at GCSE
  • Students have been offered the chance to attend drama productions, lectures and competitions

We are situated in Wareham, in the central southern area of Dorset.   It is a gateway town to the World Heritage designated Jurassic Coast that stretches south west from Swanage to East Devon, and to the outstanding beauty of the Isle of Purbeck.

Our 1200+ students mostly come from a catchment area that embraces the spectacular Purbeck World Heritage designated coastline (including Studland Bay and Lulworth Cove) and the historic village of Corfe Castle in a predominantly rural area of some 200 square miles.   The two towns of Wareham and Swanage are tourist and commercial centres.   Within the catchment area there exists the Winfrith Technology Centre, extensive army garrisons at Bovington and Lulworth, the BP Wytch Farm oilfield, a centre for terrestrial ecology and a freshwater biological laboratory.   Throughout this valuable ecological area are many tourist attractions.   The towns of Poole and Bournemouth (some 10 and 15 miles respectively to the east) are within easy reach by car, train or bus and offer good cultural, shopping and sporting facilities.

The organisation of schools in the Purbeck area is based on a comprehensive three-tier pyramid system.   Children transfer at the age of 9 from fourteen First Schools (ages 5-9) to four Middle Schools (9-13).   Most of them will then come to the Purbeck School (13-18).   

The School

The school is situated on a fine site sloping down to the River Frome, commanding unspoilt views of the Purbeck Hills.  It lies adjacent to the Wareham bypass, about half a mile from the town centre, and has its own extensive playing fields. 

From two purpose-built blocks opened in 1974, the buildings have been expanded through a series of phased developments to provide specialist accommodation for Science, Design, English, Humanities, Modern Languages, Drama, ICT and Vocational Education. 

Our ICT network currently comprises over 300 networked computers located around the school and in our excellent Learning Resources Centre.   All staff have their own laptop computers and a wireless network covers the whole site.An excellent on-site Sports Centre with sports hall, bar, floodlit all-weather tennis courts and astro pitches, a fitness room, dance facilities, squash courts and a six-lane, heated indoor swimming pool is shared with the local community.   The sports complex also houses the Wareham Youth Centre with whom we enjoy an excellent working relationship. 

The school has a largely comprehensive intake despite the attraction to a few parents of the grammar schools in Poole and Bournemouth.   Our roll of about 1200 students includes some 285 in the Sixth Form.  Our annual intake is around 300.   The area is being affected by the national demographic downturn and there is some discussion taking place about the future of the three tier system but regardless of the outcome of those discussions our long term future as a 13-18 or possibly 11-18 school is bright and secure. 

We are a recognised Investor in People, see our staff as our most valuable asset and give the highest priority to staff development.   We have approximately 80 teachers and 40 support staff.   Staff turnover is around 8%. An active and supportive Parent, Teacher and Friends’ Association involves itself in educational functions, in the extra-curricular work of the school and in fund-raising.


 The school Leadership Group comprises the Headteacher, three deputies, three assistant heads and the School Support Services Manager. 

We are at the apex of a pyramid of four middle and fourteen first schools and meet regularly with them in order to ensure a smooth progression for students as well as joint in service training for staff. 

The school is organised into 8 curriculum areas and we offer tremendous choice and diversity through 14-19. Our curriculum is rich and we offer a tremendous range of learning opportunities in a variety of contexts through both the formal taught curriculum and the extra curricular programme.  We are also the base for thriving Youth and Adult Learning Centres.  

A well-established pastoral care system pervades the school.   It is based on a horizontal Year system, each Head of Year leading a team of twelve tutors.   We are committed to providing an inclusive education for all of our students and work closely with the range of education support services.  In addition to excellent SEN provision we have recently developed our own on-site provision for students at risk of disengagement and share a full time youth worker with the youth centre. 

The school is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. 

We enjoy accredited Healthy Schools’ Status and are a completely non-smoking site. 


The school is experiencing rapid improvement in results and we confidently agree with the local authority that the OFSTED judgement “satisfactory” in March 2006 would now be “good”. 

We are extremely ambitious for our students and staff.  Public examination results at each Key Stage show significant improvement over the past two years.  At Key Stage 3 our value added performance put us in the top 10% of our national family of similar schools; at GCSE our 5 A*-C GCSE pass rate has improved significantly and now stands at an impressive 64%, placing us in the top 20% nationally by value added; at A Level, the student average points score has improved over the past two years and Learner Achievement data shows an overall value added score of -0.8, showing that student performance at KS5 is broadly in line with expectation, when taking GCSE prior attainment into account.   


The Learning Support Centre will provide a positive learning experience which will lead to students’ successful reintegration into mainstream school and or to gain the qualifications necessary to access the world of work or further education. 

The Learning Support Centre will provide a supportive, safe environment to raise the self-esteem and social skills of students whilst promoting independence, self motivation and respect for others.

Aims and Objectives
  • The main aim of the Learning Support Centre is to remove barriers to participation and to reduce the causes and effects of exclusion;
  • The centre aims to take a child-centred approach to individual development and needs;
  • The centre will aim to provide a safe space for students to explore issues affecting their lives;
  • The centre will work towards delivering short-term programmes, tailored to individual needs, aimed at reintegration and longer term support where appropriate.

primary schools in Wareham, secondary schools in Wareham, schools in Wareham

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