Brune Park Community School Head Teacher Personal Statement

An academy in London was today named the best school in England for GCSE and English Baccalaureate results.

Every girl at The Henrietta Barnett School achieved at least five A to C grades including English and maths last year, while it also had a 100 per cent pass rate for the English Baccalaureate.

The school in Hampstead, North London, was followed by Dartford Grammar School in Kent and Altrincham Grammar School for Girls near Manchester, which also had 100 per cent A-C pass rates.

Top: Every girl at The Henrietta Barnett School in North London achieved at least five A to C grades including English and maths last year, while it also had a 100 per cent pass rate for the English Baccalaureate

In Kent: Dartford Grammar School had a 100 per cent rate of pupils achieved at least five A to C grades including English and maths last year, while the English Baccalaureate rate was 98 per cent

However they missed out on top spot due to pass rates for the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) at 98 per cent and 97 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile The Liverpool Blue Coat School finished in fourth place - with a 100 per cent score on GCSE A-Cs and 96 per cent on EBaccs - but had the highest average pupil points score of 696.1.

The figures also show that 88,000 more youngsters are taking the EBacc subjects of English, maths, science, a language and either history or geography, compared with 2010.

The strong performances were revealed as it also emerged that more than 250,000 children are not getting a decent education, including pupils at three of the Government's flagship free schools.

Hundreds of state secondaries fell below the Government's floor targets after failing to ensure that enough pupils gained five good GCSE grades and made sufficient progress in English and maths.

Analysis of the data also reveals a child's chances of attending a decent school depend heavily on where they live, with ten or more under-performing secondaries in some areas, and none in others.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the results, based on last summer's GCSE grades, show the nation has come far in raising standards, but ‘pockets of persistent under-performance’ will be tackled.

Overall, 329 state secondary schools in England did not meet the minimum benchmarks. 

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls near Manchester also had a 100 per cent A-C pass rate

Well done: The Liverpool Blue Coat School was the fourth best performing school for GCSE and EBacc results

Of these, 312 failed to ensure that at least 40 per cent of their pupils gained at least five C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, and that students make good enough progress in these two core subjects.

The other 17 schools were among 327 schools that opted in to a new ‘Progress 8’ performance measure - which looks at the progress of pupils across eight subjects - and fell below a certain threshold for this target. From next year, all schools will be measured against ‘Progress 8’.

Schools that are considered under-performing face intervention, such as being turned into an academy or given a new sponsor to try to raise standards.

The Department for Education (DfE) does not publish a list of schools falling below its floor targets but according to analysis, using the DfE's methodology for calculating under-performing schools, three of those falling below the benchmark were free schools - a key element of Conservative education reforms.

The Henrietta Barnett School Barnet (London)100100631.7
Dartford Grammar School Kent 10098553.2
Altrincham Grammar School for Girls Trafford 10097512.9
The Blue Coat School Liverpool 10096696.1
Colchester County High School for Girls Essex 10096624.3
Lawrence Sheriff School Warwickshire 10096618
Dr Challoner's High School Buckinghamshire 10096514.7
Reading School Reading 10092622
Kendrick School Reading 10091653
St Michael's Catholic Grammar School Barnet (London)10091580.2

These are: Robert Owen Academy in Hereford, Saxmundham Free School in Suffolk and St Michael's Catholic Secondary School in Camborne, Cornwall, which was the only state secondary to fall below the floor standard in the county.

Response: Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the results, based on last summer's GCSE grades, show the nation has come far in raising standards

A total of 188 under-performing schools are academies, the analysis shows, while 50 are council-run, 45 are foundation schools, 14 are voluntary-aided and the others include university technical colleges, studio schools and further education colleges catering to 14 to 16-year-olds.

A DfE spokesman said free schools are a key part of the Government's drive for educational excellence.

‘The number of free schools with exam results is still too small to allow robust conclusions to be drawn,’ he insisted. ‘But under-performance at any school is unacceptable, and one of the strengths of the free schools programme is that when we spot failure we can act quickly.’

In total, 250,955 youngsters are being taught in under-performing state secondaries - around 7.3 per cent of the secondary school population, the data reveals. This is down from last year, when the figure was 274,351.

Analysis also shows that five areas have at least 10 under-performing schools. These are Kent (20 schools), Birmingham (11), Lancashire (11), Lincolnshire (10) and Northamptonshire (10). There were 41 areas with no failing schools.

Blackpool had the highest proportion of pupils at an under-performing school, with 48.6 per cent of youngsters not getting a decent education. This was followed by Knowsley, at 47.7 per cent, and Nottingham on 35.7 per cent.

Mr Gibb said: ‘The results show how far we have come in raising standards, but they also highlight where some pupils are still at risk of falling behind.

Troubled areas: 329 schools are below the secondary school floor standard - with London having the lowest proportion of schools in this bracket, with 3.8 per cent, and East Midlands having the highest, with 18.3 per cent

On the rise: The figures released today show that 88,000 more youngsters are taking the EBacc subjects of English, maths, science, a language and either history or geography, compared with 2010

‘We refuse to accept second best for any young person and we must now focus on extending opportunity for all. This Government is giving all young people, irrespective of their background, a fair shot in life and we must not let up the pace of reform now.

The results show how far we have come in raising standards, but they also highlight where some pupils are still at risk of falling behind 

Schools Minister Nick Gibb

‘Through our focus on delivering educational excellence everywhere and the dedication of our schools, we will tackle those pockets of persistent under-performance so every child fulfils their potential.’

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Union of Head Teachers, said: ‘There has been so much change that the national statistics generated by the Government are increasingly dubious.

‘Comparing one year with another, or one group of schools with another, is precarious at best when the very basis of measurement is different each time.

‘The Government must be careful what conclusions it draws. We desperately need stable measures of a stable examination system.’

:: Academies (sponsor-led)The Grange School, ShrewsburySiddal Moor Sports College, Heywood
Abraham Guest Academy, WiganThe Hastings Academy, HastingsSmith’s Wood Sports College, Birmingham
Academy 360, SunderlandThe Hereford Academy, HerefordSt Martins School (3-16 Learning Community), Oswestry
All Saints Academy DunstableThe Newark Academy, NewarkSwadelands School, Maidstone
Archbishop Sentamu Academy, HullThe Nuneaton Academy, NuneatonThe Banovallum School, Horncastle
Ark Elvin Academy, Brent, LondonThe Quest Academy, South CroydonThe Benjamin Britten High School, Lowestoft
Ash Hill Academy, DoncasterThe Robert Napier School, GillinghamThe Community College Whitstable, Whitstable
Balby Carr Community Academy, DoncasterThe Samworth Enterprise Academy, LeicesterThe Connaught School, Aldershot
Barnfield South Academy Luton, LutonThe Skipton Academy, SkiptonThe Cumberland School, Newham, London
Bath Community Academy, BathThe Taunton Academy, TauntonThe De Montfort School, Evesham
Beaufort Co-operative Academy, GloucesterThe Victory Academy, ChathamThe Dearne Advanced Learning Centre, Rotherham
Bexleyheath Academy, BexleyheathThe Voyager Academy, PeterboroughThe International School, Birmingham
Blackpool Aspire Academy, BlackpoolThe Whitehaven Academy, CumbriaThe North School, Ashford
Bloxwich Academy, WalsallThe Winsford Academy, WinsfordWalton le Dale Arts College and High School, Preston
Blue Coat Church of England Academy, WalsallThomas Clarkson Academy, WisbechWerneth School, Stockport
Bolton St Catherine’s Academy, BoltonThomas Hepburn Community Academy, GatesheadYork High School, York
Bridge Learning Campus, BristolThornaby Academy, Thornaby:: Free schools
Bridgemary School, GosportTop Valley Academy, NottinghamRobert Owen Academy, Hereford
Carter Community School, PooleUnity Academy Blackpool, BlackpoolSaxmundham Free School, Saxmundham
Cedar Mount Academy, GortonUnity City Academy, MiddlesbroughSt Michael’s Catholic Secondary School, Camborne
City Academy Norwich, NorwichUniversity Academy Keighley, Keighley:: Foundation schools
City of Derby Academy, DerbyWalney School, Barrow-in-FurnessAylesford School - Sports College, Aylesford
Clacton Coastal Academy, Clacton on SeaWaterhead Academy, OldhamBebington High Sports College, Wirral
Cornwallis Academy, MaidstoneWeavers Academy, WellingboroughBemrose School, Derby
Darlington School of Maths and Science, DarlingtonWest Walsall E-ACT Academy, WalsallBiddenham Upper School and Sports College, Bedford
Dartmouth Academy, DartmouthWeston Favell Academy, NorthamptonBirches Head Academy, Stoke-on-Trent
David Young Community Academy, LeedsWillenhall E-ACT Academy, Willenhall, WalsallBrune Park Community School, Gosport
DSLV E-ACT Academy, DaventryWinton Community Academy, AndoverChamberlayne College for the Arts, Southampton
Enterprise South Liverpool Academy, LiverpoolWodensborough Ormiston Academy, WednesburyDa Vinci Community School, Derby
Everest Community Academy, BasingstokeWrenn School, WellingboroughFleetwood High School, Fleetwood
Gloucester Academy, Gloucester:: Academies (converters)Futures Community College, Southend-on-Sea
Grace Academy Darlaston, Wednesbury, WalsallArmthorpe Academy, DoncasterGreat Barr School, Birmingham
Hans Price Academy, Weston-Super-MareAstor College (A Specialist College for the Arts), DoverHanson School, Bradford
Holy Family Catholic Academy, CleethorpesBedminster Down School, BristolHolmesdale Technology College, Snodland
Ipswich AcademyBilton School, RugbyKings Grove School, Crewe
John Madejski Academy, ReadingBroadoak School, ManchesterLaisterdyke Business and Enterprise College, Bradford
Kings College, GuildfordCastle Community College, DealLakers School, Coleford
King’s Leadership Academy, LiverpoolChurchfields Academy, SwindonLord Grey School, Milton Keynes
Kingswood Academy, HullDanum Academy, DoncasterLyng Hall School, Coventry
Kingswood Secondary Academy, CorbyDon Valley Academy and Performing Arts College, DoncasterMedina College, Newport
Kirkby High School, LiverpoolEggbuckland Community College, PlymouthMonks’ Dyke Tennyson College, Louth
Leeds City Academy, LeedsEly College, ElyMurray Park Community School, Derby
Leeds East Academy, LeedsErnulf Academy, St NeotsNCHS The Science College, Newcastle
Magnus Church of England Academy, NewarkHalewood Academy, KnowsleyNew College Leicester, Leicester
Malcolm Arnold Academy, NorthamptonHartsdown Academy, MargateNorham High School, North Shields
Manchester Academy, ManchesterHaven High Academy, BostonOakbank School, Keighley
Manchester Communication Academy, ManchesterHenbury School, BristolPark Lane Learning Trust, Halifax
Manchester Creative and Media Academy, ManchesterHerne Bay High School, Herne BayPeacehaven Community School, Peacehaven
Manchester Health Academy, WythenshaweJohn Whitgift Academy, GrimsbyPent Valley Technology College, Folkestone
Manor Croft Academy, DewsburyKing Edward VII Science and Sport College, CoalvillePhoenix High School, Hammersmith & Fulham, London
Melior Community Academy, ScunthorpeKing James I Academy, Bishop AucklandPrendergast Ladywell School, Lewisham, London
Meridian High School, CroydonKirkby College, NottinghamRidgeway High School, Prenton
Merrill Academy, DerbyLakeside Academy, TelfordSamuel King’s School, Alston
Millbrook Academy, GloucesterLordswood Boys’ School, BirminghamShuttleworth College, Burnley
New Line Learning Academy, MaidstoneMontsaye Academy, KetteringSt George’s Church of England Foundation School, Broadstairs
North Birmingham Academy, BirminghamOrmiston Maritime Academy, GrimsbyStafford Manor High School, Stafford
North East Wolverhampton Academy, WolverhamptonOutwood Academy Ormesby, MiddlesbroughStretford High School, Manchester
North Liverpool Academy, LiverpoolRedcar Academy - A Community School for the Performing and Visual Arts, RedcarThe Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College, Rugby
Nottingham Academy, NottinghamReddish Vale Technology College, StockportThe Coseley School, Bilston
Nottingham University Samworth Academy, NottinghamRydens Enterprise School and Sixth Form College, Walton-on-ThamesThe Deanes School, Benfleet
Oasis Academy Brightstowe, BristolRye College, RyeThe Ellington and Hereson School, Ramsgate
Oasis Academy Enfield, EnfieldSir John Gleed School, SpaldingThe Peele Community College, Spalding
Oasis Academy Hextable, HextableSt Peter and St Paul, Catholic Voluntary Academy, LincolnThe Radclyffe School, Oldham
Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey, Minster-on-SeaSt Peter’s School, HuntingdonThe Royal Docks Community School, Newham, London
Oasis Academy Lister Park, BradfordThe Baverstock Academy, BirminghamTong High School, Bradford
Oasis Academy MediaCityUK, ManchesterThe Bramcote School, NottinghamUnity College, Burnley
Oasis Academy Oldham, OldhamThe Canterbury Academy, Canterbury:: Further education colleges with provision for 14-16 pupils
Oasis Academy Wintringham, GrimsbyThe Cornelius Vermuyden School, Canvey IslandBromley College of Further and Higher Education, Bromley
Ormiston Denes Academy, LowestoftThe Manor Academy, MansfieldHull College, Kingston-upon-Hull
Ormiston Endeavour Academy, IpswichThe Priory School, OrpingtonLeeds City College, Leeds
Ormiston Six Villages Academy, ChichesterThe Sele School, HertfordMiddlesbrough College, Middlesbrough
Parkwood E-Act Academy, SheffieldThe Thomas Lord Audley School, ColchesterNCG, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Queen Elizabeth’s Academy, MansfieldThe West Grantham Academy St Hugh’s, Grantham:: Free school ‘studios’
Red House Academy, SunderlandThe Wey Valley School, WeymouthBarnfield Business and Enterprise Studio, Luton
Rushden Community College, RushdenTowers School and Sixth Form Centre, AshfordBradford Studio School, Bradford
Ryde Academy, RydeWayland Academy Norfolk, ThetfordDarwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio, Darwen
Sarum Academy, SalisburyWelling School, Welling, BexleyDevon Studio School, Torquay
Seahaven Academy, East SussexWoodlands Academy, CoventryNew Campus Basildon Studio School, Basildon
Sherwood Academy, Nottingham:: Community schoolsParkside Studio College, Hayes
Shirebrook Academy, MansfieldBarclay School, StevenageRye Studio School, Rye
Sir Herbert Leon Academy, Milton KeynesBrayton High School, SelbyStephenson Studio School, Coalville
Skegness Academy, SkegnessBroad Oak Sports College, BuryTendring Enterprise Studio School, Clacton-on-Sea
South Leeds Academy, LeedsBuile Hill Visual Arts College, SalfordThe Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise, Letchworth Garden City
South Shore Academy, BlackpoolCauseway School, EastbourneThe Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering, Stevenage
South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy, BilstonCockshut Hill Technology College, BirminghamThe Midland Studio College Hinckley, Hinckley
Spires Academy, CanterburyDurham Community Business College for Technology and Enterprise, DurhamThe Midland Studio College Nuneaton, Nuneaton
St Aidan’s Church of England Academy, DarlingtonFearns Community Sports College, Bacup, LancashireWalsall Studio School, Walsall
St Aldhelm’s Academy, PooleFort Hill Community School, BasingstokeWaverley Studio College, Birmingham
St Augustine Academy, MaidstoneFyndoune Community College, Durham:: Free school university technical colleges (UTCs)
St Boniface’s RC College, PlymouthGateacre School, LiverpoolAston University Engineering Academy, Birmingham
St Peter’s Academy, Stoke-on-TrentGraham School, ScarboroughBristol Technology and Engineering Academy, Bristol
Staffordshire University Academy, CannockHameldon Community College, BurnleyBuckinghamshire UTC, Aylesbury

How did your local schools do? Search your postcode on the Department for Education website by clicking here.

One of Jean Waller Brune's first acts as head of Roland Park Country School in October 1992 was to wind up a toy cow and watch it make a mooing sound as it walked across the conference table in her office.

"This is the dignified me," Brune, then 50, told a Baltimore Sun reporter.

As she begins her 24th and final school year before retiring next June, the windup cow is long gone, but a cow mask that she bought way back when and wears every Halloween sits on a bookshelf, one of more than 300 cow collectibles for which she is known. One year, she recalls, students put a life-sized cow cutout in her office as an April Fool's joke.

Cows are part of Brune's character and consistency, a lasting sign of her ability to connect with students even as she has maintained a reputation over the years as a disciplinarian.

"I hold to standards," she said.

Brune, a Roland Park resident, graduated from Roland Park Country in 1960, just as her mother, Jean Waller had done in 1933, and her daughter, Marion Paterson, would do in 1984. Brune was the first alumnae to be named head of school. She has become such a part of the firmament at the all-girls private school that it's hard to imagine her leaving.

"I could do nothing else but spend the year figuring out how to pack everything," she said, sitting at the same conference table for an interview last week, across the hall from her original office.


Brune is leaving, but she will not be forgotten. In October, her 24th anniversary, she will host a luncheon for the 55th year reunion of her own graduating class and will receive the McCauley Bowl, the highest honor the school's alumnae association can bestow.

Beyond personal accolades, Brune's legacy is everywhere on the sprawling, bucolic campus off Roland Avenue. Under her administration, the prestigious school of 670 students has grown its endowment from $9.9 million to more than $50 million, doubled its faculty to nearly 200, greatly expanded foreign language offerings and created a STEM Institute that offers a special certificate for advanced studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This week, Brune announced that the Charles T. Bauer Charitable Foundation has granted Roland Park Country an endowment gift of $1 million. The Evelyn R. Zink Emergency Assistance Endowment, named for the school's longtime director of development, will provide financial assistance to students whose families experience an unexpected financial need that affects their ability to pay school expenses, according to a press release.

As part of a three-stage campus master plan, Brune oversaw the building of a new science wing, an athletic complex, the Macfarlane Arts Center, which includes the Sinex Theater (now home to the Young Victorian Theatre Company), and two libraries – Faissler for middle and upper school students and Killebrew for the lower school.

She also has built rapport with her students and faculty, starting with her declaration to the Sun in 1992 that she had an open-door policy and that, "It is important for the students to know that I have a personality. The collecting of cows came about because people who have known me as a teacher know that I love cows. It goes along with the nurturing part of education."

Last week, in a coda to her career, Brune said, "I'm proudest of our product, which is the kids. That's what we're all about, and that's certainly what I've always been about."

"Jean has been a visionary leader who embraces change, " Catherine McDonnell, president of the board of trustees said in a written statement announcing Brune's retirement plans.

"Jean Brune is one of the most compassionate people I've ever met," said Lisa Diver, 27, of Homeland, a 2006 graduate of Roland Park Country and now the school's performing arts department head and upper school music teacher. "I think she's everybody's biggest cheerleader. I try to instill that in my students."

Previous life

Before coming to Roland Park Country, Brune had a whole separate career as an educator.

After majoring in English and graduating magna cum laude from Middlebury College in Vermont, Brune started educating in 1967 as a kindergarten teacher at Pimlico Elementary School in the mornings. She also taught English at the old Baltimore Junior College, now Baltimore City Community College, and adults to read on Saturdays.

In 1968, she joined Gilman School, a boys' school, as an assistant first-grade teacher for a year, and then spent the next 12 years as a third-grade homeroom teacher. Then, she was promoted to lower school admissions director and also taught reading and study skills before being promoted again to head the Gilman lower school.

She said she had no plans to leave Gilman until Roland Park Country's then-head of school, Margaret Smith, left after nine years.

Reading the job description, Brune thought, "I could do this."

"Go for it," her daughter said.

Twenty-four years after arriving at Gilman, Brune moved across the street to take the reins of her old school as the sixth head of school in the history of Roland Park Country, which was founded in 1894.

"I left [Gilman] because this is my alma mater," she said.

Brune likes the symmetry of having spent 24 years at Gilman and then 24 years at Roland Park Country.

"It's a nice balance," she said.

Changing face of education

As an administrator, Brune has seen many changes in education, for better or worse.

Technology and the Internet have changed the face of education, she said, placing much more information at students' fingertips and making it easier for them to do research online.

"If you want to know how to change a tire, go to YouTube," she said by way of example. "There's much less need to memorize things."

Education is also much more global, she said.

"You're not restricted to the walls of the school. The world is our village now."

That hasn't negated the need to teach students to apply and analyze what they learn.

"It's what you do with that information," Brune said.

There is also more attention paid to the environment and sustainability, which Roland Park Country School under Brune has embraced with everything from gardening and composting projects to a backwoods gazebo, public benches made from recyclables, and solar panels on the flat roof of the lower school. Roland Park Country School was designated as a Maryland Green School in 2003.

"We are teaching our kids to be responsible stewards," Brune said. "It certainly wasn't part of education when I was growing up."

As the popularity of charter schools rises, Roland Park Country this fall will open the Lillie May Carroll Jackson Charter School for girls from Baltimore City in grades five through eight. The school will be housed in the old Chinquapin Middle School and its board will include several Roland Park Country School administrators, including Brune, Head of Lower School Beth Casey, Assistant Head of School for Academics Carla Spawn-van Berkum and Assistant Head of School for External Relations Nancy Mugele. The chairman of the board is 1998 graduate Monica Butler Mitchell, a vice president and senior relationship manager for Wells Fargo Bank.

Some trends in education aren't as welcome from Brune's perspective.

"Sadly, there is less respect for education and educators," she said, adding that a lot of parents and students are asking educators to prove the relevance of educational decisions and policies. "It has added another dimension to education. There's less trust in society."

Although saying that the school has a strong financial aid program, Brune is also concerned about the rising costs of tuition, including at Roland Park Country, where tuition has jumped from $9,000 a year when she first came to nearly $27,000 a year.

Still going strong

In her final year, Brune is as active as ever, immersed in maintaining accreditation JOHN for Roland Park Country School, a process that is undertaken every 10 years.

"This is my third go-around," she said.

Brune also just finished a new strategic plan for programs and financial stability that she says will help make a transition to a new head of a school and provide "a road map" for her successor, who is expected to be named by November.

Brune shows no signs of slowing down, saying, "I've got another year to go."

When asked what she would most like people to remember about her, tears came to her eyes.

"I hope they know how much I love what I do, and how much I really care for the school," she said.

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