Langley is not an ancient foundation – built in 1956 in the post-war municipal Brutalist style, the School is comfortably situated among the quiet residential roads of Langley. The site is surrounded by plenty of green space and playing fields that are extended by a floodlit all-weather pitch. A significant building programme is underway, while the classrooms at Langley are well-equipped with whiteboards and computers. Residents are immensely proud of the four grammar schools in the borough of Slough, Langley included, for the opportunities they offer to young people. Students are in turn proud of their fund-raising for charitable causes abroad. The prevailing atmosphere at Langley is that of calm and peacefulness. With bells having been abolished, students walk to their next lecture chatting, with no need for crowd control. Uniforms are compulsory and are worn proudly. The School has been awarded International School status for its “outstanding development of the international dimension in the curriculum”.
Langley is a school with high expectations, one of the top state grammars in the county and highly valued by the local people. The School specialises in maths and computing. Over 60 per cent of the grades awarded at GCSE have been A*/A, whereas there have been 74 per cent of A*/B grades at A level. The majority of students exceed the expectations when it comes to English classes, particularly the writing skills. The School’s library has a prominent role here because it organises numerous activities to encourage reading, including the SOAR (switch off and read) – an event that takes place every Friday for years 7-9, when all electronic devices are disabled, and over 10, 000 books become the main attraction. Many students take three separate science subjects at GCSE, along with subjects from a vast choice of arts, technologies and languages. Latin and Greek are not taught at Langley, but they still keep classical civilisation at GCSE and plan to offer it at AS level. There are also psychology, sociology, philosophy and ethics and law offered at AS and A level.
A small number of students are on SEN register, mainly for dyslexia or other SPLD, and the students’ needs are taken care of by the SENCo, a gifted coordinator and school counsellor.
Sports and the arts are impressively resourced at Langley, with spacious facilities that look quite professional. The School’s drama productions and school concerts are an integral part of life at Langley. Chess is particularly strong, but the School is equally successful in the less cerebral sports and its aim is to offer a wide range of options in order to appeal to the maximum number of students. In addition to two hours a week that are reserved for sport, there are also numerous after-school activities and matches to be attended. The sixth form students have an opportunity to earn money working in the School’s sports centre which is open to the local community after school hours.
Structure of students
Students come to Langley from a wide geographical area and over eighty primary schools. Two-thirds arrive from what is officially known as “minority ethnic groups”, with just over half having Asian or British-Indian backgrounds. Students are charming, polite and proud of their school.
Pastoral care and discipline
The School has a reputation of a “good mix”, and students confirm that the atmosphere at Langley is harmonious. Bullying is effectively fought against here, and there is a website that allows pupils to report incidents and ask for support anonymously. In addition to this, pupils can choose to be trained for a peer monitoring scheme. Students are taken care of by energetic and experienced staff members, especially in the first two years when they arrive from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds. The house system is quite traditional, with lively competitions in sports and music among houses. A typical school day ends at 3.15 PM, when the extra-curricular activities take place. The School has its own “code of conduct” and sanctions those who break it.
Entrance and exit
Verbal and non-verbal reasoning papers are taken in November prior to the planned entry. Places are distributed according to the rank order of performance, so that distance from the School may be the only advantage to candidates. Around twenty sixth form places are given to external candidates who can enrol based on their GCSE performance and specific grades from the chosen A level subjects.
Most of the students continue their education at the Russell Group universities, with the most popular being King’s College London and Imperial. Pupils mostly opt for science, medicine, engineering and computing, but some choose more traditional subjects such as history or English. Langley continues to provide support for their students after they leave, particularly to those who delay university entrance.