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The Abbey School, Faversham

The Abbey School
"Be the best you can be"
London Road
Faversham, Kent, ME13 8RZ, England
School type Academy
Established 1983 (1983)
LEA Kent
Ofsted number 118831
Headteacher Mrs. Catrin Woodend
Executive headteacher Mr. Francis Hatt
Age range 11-19
Number of students 953
Houses Discovery, Pioneer, Endeavour, Voyager
Newspaper Abbey News

The Abbey School is a non-selective secondary school in the town of Faversham in Kent, United Kingdom. Founded with the amalgamation of Ethelbert Road Boys School and Lady Capel School for Girls in 1983, the school consists of 953 pupils from the ages of 11-19.

In 2004 the school became widely known as the first comprehensive school to introduce random drug testing and the scheme operated until 2008. The School was promoted to academy status in 2011.


  • History 1
  • Goverance 2
  • School structure 3
    • Lower school 3.1
    • Sixth form 3.2
  • Curriculum 4
    • Examination 4.1
  • Extra-curricular activities 5
  • Property 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The School was opened in September 1983 with the amalgamation of Ethelbert Road Boys School and Lady Capel School for Girls. The Boys school was decommissioned with students moving to the south side of Faversham where the school currently stands.[1] In 1987, Peter Walker became the school's 1st headteacher.[2]

In February 2000, Walker reported to Ofsted about the deteriorating conditions of the former canteen that was built in the 1940s. The roof had become a thick layer of moss with asbestos that caused paint to peel of the walls.[3]

In September 2004, with the support of parents, the school became the first to introduce random drug tests[4] which commenced in January 2005.[5] The tests could be performed only when parents gave permission for their child to be tested. Students who refused to be available for testing or tested positive would undergo a counselling program. Critics of the program stated an infringement of privacy would lead to legal action.[6] At the school, 20 students were tested weekly and were given a mouth swab for cannabis, cocaine and heroin.[7] Supporters of the program including former Prime Minister Tony Blair who endorsed Walker's efforts and called for the program to be expanded.[5] In 2005, the school reported that the scheme helped to boost examination results to 40% compared with 32% in 2004, and 28% in 2003.[8]

In 2006, headteacher Peter Walker retired from his position to become Britain's official ambassador for drug testing and gave a presentation to John Walters, the director of the White House drug policy office.[6] His position was taken over by Jenny James who promised to continue drug testing.[5] The scheme was ended in 2008, due to other schools not performing the tests.[9] Within the space of four years, only one student tested positive.[10]

James was succeeded by Catrin Woodend after some months and oversaw the school's transition to an academy in 2011.[11] Woodend also organised the building of the school's all-weather pitch which was completed in 2012.


The Governors are responsible for the school on behalf of the Members of the Academy Trust. The school has 6 Community Governors, 2 Parent Governors and 2 staff Governors.

School structure

Lower school

As of 2014, the lower school has an annual intake of 210 students at the beginning of Year Seven (age 11).[12] The lower school (Years 7-11) is 865 students strong,[13] for whom the school uniform for boys consists of a black jacket accompanied with the school badge on the breast pocket, with black trousers and a white shirt. Socks must be black, shoes must also be black and plain and shirts must be worn with a tie. The uniform for girls consists of a fitted black jacket accompanied with the school badge on the breast pocket, with black trousers and a white blouse with no tie.[14]

Sixth form

In keeping with line with the school's ethos of Business and Enterprise, students have the expectation to dress in clothing suitable for the school's ethos.[15]

The school maintains an Football Academy in Association with Dover Athletic F.C. and is currently run by coach Michael Sandmann. In 2012, two academy players Tom Axford and Lloyd Harrington, were selected for the England Schoolboy Internationals for the spring and the matches were broadcast live on Sky Sports.[16]


As of 2010, the school follows the National Curriculum in Years 7–11 and offers a broad range of GCSEs (national exams taken by students aged 14–16) and A-levels (national exams taken by pupils aged 16–18). The school has no affiliation with a particular religious denomination, but religious education is given throughout the school.

Students in Key Stage 3 are taught within the national curriculum with timetables arranged to allow students to work at the level of their ability. Students with learning disabilities receive additional support such as teaching in small groups, help from Learning Support Assistants or computer packages which aim to improve literacy and numeracy skills. Students in Key Stage 4 continue to study within the national curriculum but they are able to select a range of additional subjects they wish to study.[17]

The school year runs from September to July, split across three terms: the autumn term (September to December), spring term (January to April) and the summer term (April to July). Students receive two weeks off for Christmas and Easter, a six-week summer break, and three "half term" breaks.


League tables published by the The Daily Telegraph based on 2013 A-level results rank Abbey as the 34th best school in Kent.[18] According to the Department of Education, in 2013 A-level students achieved an average of 520.9 QCDA points, against a national average of 796.6[19] and 51 percent of students achieved five or more grade C results (or equivalent) at GCSE, including Maths and English.[20]

Extra-curricular activities

The school has many clubs that use the Sport Centre of the school:-

  • Alert Goal Keeping -
  • Comets Netball -
  • Danketsu -
  • Faversham Judo Club -
  • Faversham Table Tennis Club - Jim Sixsmith - 01795 535884
  • Faversham Town Youth & Juniors -
  • Herne Hill Herons -
  • Invicta Roller Hockey -
  • Invicta Roller Skating -
  • Just 4 Keepers -
  • Kent Roller Girls -
  • Pitch Invasion -
  • Shotokhan Karate -
  • Strike Force FC -
  • TSA Taekwondo -
  • Zumba -


The footbridge over looking the School (in the background)

The school runs a restaurant called 14-19 which opened in 2005 with food prepared, cooked and served by Vocational students who are studying Level 2 BTEC Hospitality and Catering. The majority of the food is locally sourced from Faversham and surrounding villages. Alongside the restaurant, there is an horticulture area and business units.[21]

In 2012, a third generation all-weather football pitch was constructed on the grounds of the school. The pitch had been started by fundraising in 2009 with the final funding coming from the Kent FA with a grant of £390,000 and funds from charities Bensted and Queenborough Fisheries Trust.[22][23] The construction work was carried out by Charles Lawrence Surfaces in conjunction with Surfacing Standards and Lano Sports, a Football Foundation Framework Partners[24] at a cost of £650,000.[23] The official opening ceremony was held on 19 July 2012 and was attended by Hugh Robertson along with headteacher Catrin Woodend.[25] The 3G pitch surface is estimated to be used for a total of 90 hours with 2,200 players using it weekly.[23]

The school created an all-purpose sports hall which would include improvements to the changing rooms and community gymansium 'The Abbey Sports Centre' with a viewing gallery that would overlook the outdoor pitches. The plans secured backing of Faversham Town Council on 17 December 2012.[26]

In 2013, the school was awarded £1.2million for a makeover to provide a new modern look and an energy efficient environment.[27]

The Abbey runs a nursery called Twinkle Toes Nursery, which opened in 2009 and operates from a purpose built building on the site. The nursery employs 15 staff with two managers and a cook. The nursery is also subject to Ofsted inspections with the last held on 4 January 2011, stating the nursery is "well led and managed" with the inspection noting that the environment was "thoughfully set out" along with parent relations as "very positive".[28]

The school runs a dining hall and business centre that is located near the Autism Integration Unit and the dining hall is used for wedding receptions, dancing, charity fund-raising events and the annual Year 11 Prom. Usage for the Business room which includes Businesses, Adult Education, use as a conference room, training venue and ICT training.[29] An Outdoor Performance Area (OPA) is maintained with a capacity of 70 people and is used for outdoor performances relating to productions mainly held during the summer. Previous uses of the OPA have included karaoke competitions and events in the style of the musical talent show The X Factor.[30]


  1. ^ "The Abbey School". PostcodeGazette. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "School drug test pioneer retiring". BBC News (BBC). 8 September 2005. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Jamie (2 March 2000). "Canteen a health risk says head". The Guardian. 
  4. ^ Gordon, Alison (2004-03-28). "First state school agrees to random drug testing". The Telegraph. 
  5. ^ a b c Ball, Sarah (2 August 2006). "British Drug-Test Program Stirs Debate". Fox News (Fox Broadcasting Company). Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Hall, Sarah (2006-08-03). "School's drug-testing program fuels debate over civil liberties". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. 5A. 
  7. ^ "Random Drug Testing - Public Policy Briefing". Drug Education Forum. October 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Drug tests help exam passes soar". BBC News. 2005-08-30. 
  9. ^ "Random school drug tests scrapped". BBC News. 2008-02-21. 
  10. ^ "Open wide: Random drug tests spark debate". The Island Packet. 2006-08-03. p. 12A. 
  11. ^ "Academies". Kent Independent Education Advice. 2012-07-24. 
  12. ^ "The Abbey School - Admissions for 2013 entry". The Abbey School, Faversham. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "The Abbey School". Ofsted. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Uniform". The Abbey School, Faversham. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Dress Code". The Abbey School, Faversham. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "Axford on Sky Sports". Dover Athletic F.C. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Curriculum". The Abbey School, Faversham. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  18. ^ Gunter, Joel; Paton, Graeme; Palmer, Dan; Bonagiri, Siva; Oliver, Mark. "GCSE school league tables 2014".  
  19. ^ "KS5: School performance tables". Department of Education. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  20. ^ "KS4: School performance tables". Department of Education. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  21. ^ "14-19 Restaurant". The Abbey School, Faversham. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  22. ^ "Artificial pitch given funding by sports body". This is Kent. 2012-02-03. 
  23. ^ a b c "New school pitch in Faversham to provide sporting legacy for all". This is Kent. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "New sports pitch opened at Abbey School, Faversham". Specification Online. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  25. ^ "New football pitch to create legacy". The Local. 2012-07-18. 
  26. ^ "Council gives thumbs up to Faversham sports complex bid". This is Kent. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  27. ^ Pike, Rebecca (6 November 2013). "School gets £1.2million makeover". Faversham Times. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "Twinkle Toes Nursery". Ofsted. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  29. ^ "About Us". The Abbey School, Faversham. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  30. ^ "Outdoor Performance Area". The Abbey School, Faversham. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 

External links

  • School Website
  • The Abbey School, Faversham on Twitter
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