South Camden Community School

South Camden Community School

Infobox UK school
name = South Camden Community School

size =
latitude =
longitude =
dms =
motto = Latin "Nil Sine Labore" (Nothing without effort)
motto_pl =
established = Leased 1873 (existed prior)
approx =
closed =
c_approx =
type = Comprehensive
free_label_1 = Affiliations
free_1 = SSAT, Reed Group, IiP, Camden Consortium, Eco-Schools
religion = Non-denominational
head_label = Head Teacher
head = Ms Rosemary Leeke
r_head_label = Deputy Heads
r_head = Mr Pete Bains, Mr Shahid Deen
chair_label = Chair
chair = Ms Jill Hoffbrand
founder =
founder_pl =
specialist = Performing Arts
street = Charrington Street
city = Somers Town
county = London
country = England flagicon|England
postcode =
LEA = Camden
ofsted = 100051
staff =
enrollment = 1305
gender = Mixed
lower_age = 11
upper_age = 18
houses =
colours = color box|#C0DFFD Light bluecolor box|#000098 Navy

color box|#FE9900 Orange (sixth form)
publication = Mosaic, Artisan
free_label_2 = Replaced
free_2 = Sir William Collins School (1951-1993)
free_label_3 =
free_3 =
website =
website_name =

South Camden Community School (SCCS), previously Sir William Collins School, is a coeducational comprehensive secondary school located in Somers Town, in the London Borough of Camden, England. It is a Performing Arts Specialist School, [ [ Performing Arts Status (accessed 27 October 2007)] ] Silver Award Eco-School, [ SCCS on Eco-Schools (accessed October 2007)] ] and Reed College of Enterprise. [ [ List of Reed Colleges of Enterprise (accessed 28 October 2007)] ] Rosemary Leeke is the current, and first female, Head Teacher in the school's history. Huw Salisbury OBE was Head Teacher until 2001.

SCCS has approximately 1,085 students aged 11-16 in the main school and 220 students aged 16-18 in the sixth form. In May 2008 there were plans to expand the school by two streams of about 30 pupils in each year.

The school has a Governing Body made up from elected staff and parents, appointed members from the Education Authority as well as a Clerk to the Governors, co-opted members from the community, and "ex-officio", the Head Teacher. There are several Deputy and Assistant Heads and each student age-group also has a Head of Year. The school is divided into departments bu subject, such as Humanities; English; Science; called Faculties. Many sixth formers go on to universities in London, especially colleges of the University of London. [ [ Student Destinations] (accessed 3 December 2007)]


SCCS describes itself as a place to:
* Enjoy an excellent education
* Grow in confidence
* Reach one's potential
* Respect each other
* Celebrate diversity
* Prepare for life beyond school

'Celebration of diversity' (undefined) is particularly important. SCCS students are from a variety of religious, economic, and linguistic backgrounds. The school offers GCSE courses in languages from Bengali to Dutch. The school also puts emphasis on drama and the arts. Drama productions are ambitious, and have included productions such as "A Clockwork Orange".


The school dates from 1873, when the London School Board leased the site, although a school had existed there before. The new school was completed and opened in 1877, as "Medburn Street School". In 1904, it was renamed the "Stanley School". This change was reversed in 1910 to avoid confusion with another nearby Stanley School. It originally took children up to age eleven. Over time the intake extended to older pupils.

Some time after 1938, [ [ History of the school (accessed 18 February 2007)] ] following various reorganisations, the school only took students who were older than eleven. In 1951 the school became "Sir William Collins School", named after the first chair of the London County Council (LCC) Education Committee. It became "South Camden Community School" in 1993. The original Victorian school buildings were located between Charlton Street and Medburn Street; Medburn Street was used as the address. Medburn Street was demolished when, between 1958 and 1961, the London County Council extended the site and buildings to Charrington Street. Charrington Street became the new address with the school offices located on that side. The new extensions were officially opened in October 1961 by the eminent engineer Sir Willis Jackson (later Lord Jackson of Burnley). The extensions had, however, already been partially occupied in 1960 out of necessity with the large expansion of pupils, to approximately 1,100 at the time, which made it one of the largest schools in inner London. A portrait of Sir William Collins hung in the new main entrance during the 1960s.

The site for the new extension was about five acres. The cost at the time was £375,000, and a further £36,500 with furniture and equipment. The architect was Mr William Crabtree, FRIBA and the general contractor Gee, Walker & Slater Ltd. The design was of interconnected quadrangles with as many rooms looking inwards as possible. Crabtree's other work in London included the famous Peter Jones department store in Sloane Square, Chelsea, a Grade II listed building. Crabtree also worked on the John Lewis Department Store in Oxford Street, London, another outstanding building.

Ofsted profile

A 2001 Ofsted report: [ [\\school\\100\\s10_100051_20011129.pdf 2001 Ofsted report (accessed 5 November 2007)] ]

* The school had a multicultural intake, with many pupils of Bangladeshi or black African (particularly Somalian) origin
* Almost 80% of pupils spoke English as an additional language
* The number of pupils entitled to free school meals, often used as an indicator of social deprivation, was well above the national average
* The proportion of lower attaining pupils joining the school was much greater than the national average
* In all year groups, there were significantly more boys than girls
* Pupil attendance was below average

However, the report concluded that the school met its pupils' needs "very effectively", with GCSE results, although below average, higher than expected given pupils' low attainment on joining the school and improving above the national average. Teaching was recorded as "good" and the school had "very many more strengths than weaknesses".

In 2006, the proportion of students meeting the national target at GCSE level (which is 5 passes at Grade A* to C, to include English and Mathematics) was 30%, against a Camden Borough average of 45.7% and a national average of 45.8%. [ [ BBC statistics for SCCS (accessed 18 February 2007)] ]

An October 2007 Ofsted report, [ [\\school\\100\\s5_100051_20071105.xml 2007 Ofsted report (accessed 5 November 2007)] ] said that the school was "satisfactory" overall and that "personal development and well-being" was "good". No aspects of the school were described as "unsatisfactory" or "outstanding". The report said that SCCS should:
* Raise students' achievement at Key Stage 3
* Develop teachers' practice across the school so that a greater proportion of teaching is good and meets the individual needs of students more closely
* Develop the work of middle leaders so that their practice is sharper and more consistently effective across the school

School uniform

The school uniform is compulsory for students who are not in the sixth form. It includes:

* A light-blue polo shirt embroidered with the school logo
* A navy-blue school sweatshirt or fleece embroidered with the school logo
* Black trousers or, for girls, a plain black skirt or navy-blue shalwar kameez
* Black shoes or black trainers

Girls may wear a plain navy, black, or white headscarf for religious reasons.

Sanctions for not wearing the correct uniform vary: a detention may be issued or the offender may be sent home to change. Occasionally, more serious action will be taken involving the offender's parents or guardian.

Resistance to the uniform is rife and many students are against the idea altogether.

Incentives and sanctions

SCCS uses as sysytem known as Behaviour for Learning (BfL) around the school. BfL incorporates both sanctions for misbehavior and rewards for good behavior. The following is a simplified version of the BfL system of sanctions used at SCCS [ [ Generic BfL system used nationally (accessed 27 October 2007)] ] —it uses different orders of consequence (C):

* C1 First-chance verbal warning
* C2 Second-chance verbal warning
* C3 Forty-five minute detention after school, held communally for all students who have received a C3
* C3 Sixty-minute detention after school, given for not attending a forty-five minute C3
* C4 Internal exclusion, given for serious misbehavior or for evading a sixty-minute C3

Students are rewarded for good behavior with a "commendation". All commendations given are recorded on the school's computer server. As an incentive, receiving more than a certain number of commendations warrants a prize; often this includes an invitation to a special school trip, a certificate, or vouchers. For exceptional contribution to the school or the community, students are given the Jack Petchey Award. Only a handful have been given so far. [ [ Jack Petchey winners at SCCS (accessed 4 December 2007)] ]

School magazines

SCCS produces two official school magazines. [ [ Official magazines (accessed 27 October 2007)] ] Both are produced in full color, featuring photographs of recent school events. As such, they are expensive to produce and hence new editions are typically published and circulated in tutor groups only once each term.


A general magazine providing information about school events. It covers school trips, clubs, and the SCCS School Council. The Headmistress contributes an article for the front page. "Mosaic" is in addition to normal regular newsletters, which tend to cover specific issues, and is oriented more towards students rather than home. The School Council is involved in its production and material is usually from students, rather than staff, as previously. The School Council may create a student "Mosaic" committee to produce and edit the magazine.


"Artisan" is magazine about the school's status as a Specialist Arts College. It provides information on Drama, Art, and Music at SCCS, including school plays and other artistic projects. "Artisan" usually includes comments from members of the SCCS Faculty of Visual and Performing Arts.

Organizations related to SCCS

School Council

SCCS School Council is an organization of students who attempt to voice the opinions of their peers and ensure staff–student cooperation. [ The School Council and BfL Committee in Mosaic (accessed 27 October 2007)] ] The Council is recognized and backed by the school's management and receives a moderate yearly budget.

The Council is two-tiered: five Year Councils (one for each age group) and one whole-school Council, known formally as the Main School Council. Substantial evidence suggests that the School Council's importance and influence is growing, particularly as meetings become more frequent:

* The Headmistress now attends nearly all meetings held by the Main School Council
* The Council has student representatives on the Board of Governors
* The Council has financial backing to the value of several thousand pounds

The School Council is overseen by a staff member, known as the Council Administrator, who deals with logistics and who attends meetings mainly in an advisory capacity. Likewise, the Council has no "President" or leader. Arguably, the only existing role resembling a School Council President is that of Senior Chairperson; however, despite being an influential Council figurehead, the Senior Chairperson is not allowed to vote on Main School Council motions and therefore lacks any decision-making authority.

Parent-Teacher Association

SCCS has a relatively active Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). The SCCS PTA meets occasionally and any parent or guardian of an SCCS student is welcome to attend.


* The City Learning Centre (CLC) for Camden adjoins SCCS. Owned by the London Borough of Camden and London Grid for Learning (LGfL) it is a computer-oriented educational facility. Somers Town Community Sports Centre (STCSC) is on school land but not run by the school. Both facilities are often used by SCCS.
* As part of Camden Consortium of sixth forms, [ [ Camden Consortium (accessed 28 October 2007)] ] SCCS can pool resources with other local sixth forms. SCCS is not, however, part of the similar La Swap sixth-form consortium. [ [ La Swap schools (accessed 28 October 2007)] ]


SCCS is a Silver Award Eco-School. This is due mainly to the work of a branch of the SCCS School Council, known informally as the "Eco-Committee". The Eco-Committee holds regular meetings and has more than fifty student members.

Recently, the Eco-Committee negotiated a matched-funding deal for installing solar pannels around the school.

SCCS people

* Stanley Warren, a former Japanese prisoner of war, noted for painting the Changi Murals in the chapel of Changi Prison during captivity, was an art teacher in the 1950s and 1960s, and Deputy Head of Brunel House from 1963 to 1965. [ [ The Changi Murals (accessed 7 March 2007)] ]
* Harry Greenway (former MP) was a Head of Telford House in the 1960s [ [ Hansard record of debates for 8 February 1994 (accessed 18 February 2007)] ] and also Deputy Headmaster. [ [ Hansard record of debates for 9 December 1994 (accessed 7 March 2007)] ]
* James Martin, an actor who played Peter Beale in "EastEnders" from 2004 to 2006, is a student at the school.


For various reasons SCCS has been criticized by students, staff, and others. Outside criticism is often fuelled by the school's appearing negatively in the local press. [ [ Camden New Journal article on stabbing (accessed 27 October 2007)] ] However, BfL and the school uniform are perhaps the most contentious issues among SCCS students.


BfL is designed to be an all-encompassing behavior code that ensures consistent sanctions across the school. Some SCCS students, however, accuse BfL of not achieving its objectives. They feel that in trying to be all-encompassing, BfL forfeits consistency. There is a great deal of paperwork explaining how to implement BfL, much of which is self-contradictory and vague. For instance:

*One poster about BfL states that "Disrupting learning of others" comes under "Automatic C3 consequences" (ie detention); another that "Disrupting "the" learning of others" comes under "C1 & C2 warnings" (ie a warning). Both posters are produced by SCCS and put up in corridors and classrooms, often together.
*A student can get detention for "Inappropriate Behaviour" without prior warning. "Inappropriate Behaviour" is a vague term that allows detentions to be given for almost anything. This contradicts one of BfL's main ideologies: that it should be clear and simple and not open to misinterpretation.
*A poster which explains commendations is mostly obsolete, yet copies still appear around SCCS.

Many students think that BfL's colours, red and orange, are aggressive. Likewise, some see the posters as 'Orwellian' in their use of intimidating phrases in capitals such as, "YOU DIDN'T STOP TO THINK" and "THE CONSEQUENCES ARE NOW SERIOUS". Two BfL-review committees were formed in 2007, which reflects these concerns.


This has been contentious in recent years. The previous dress code was relaxed with no requirement for an embroidered school logo. KS4 students were also allowed to wear their own clothes. Although a consultation took place about changes, many thought decisions were made disregarding the views of students and their families. The consultation helped primarily to decide the colour of the uniform, not whether it should be implemented. The consultation may have been used to rubber stamp a decision already made by the Board of Governors.

Most of the uniform can only be purchased from the school [ [ School uniform available at school (accessed October 2007)] ] which is not cost effective for parents. Neither the OFT's 2006 inquiry [ [ Office of Fair Trading Uniform Inquiry (accessed 27 October 2007)] ] into the cost of school uniform nationally nor the OFT's subsequent statement [ [,,1871804,00.html Office of Fair Trading statement on uniform (accessed 27 October 2007)] ] have resolved the contentious issue.

Some students think that a few teachers use unwritten rules, not sanctioned by Governors, and randomly applied with no reference to rules agreed with parents. They often relate to trivial aspects of uniform such as design of shoelaces or hair-dye colours. It is alleged that students breaching these 'rules' are threatened with official sanctions, such as 45 minute detentions.

ee also

*Specialist Schools and Academies Trust
*London Borough of Camden
*Haverstock School
*Westminster Kingsway College
*Camden School for Girls
*Maria Fidelis RC Convent School

External links

* [ City Learning Centre website]
* [ Camden Council website]
* [ Somers Town Community Sports Centre website]


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