The Highcrest Academy

History of The Highcrest Academy


The academy has come a long way since 2001 when it was a “Fresh Start” school, with the number of students for whom it was the first choice in single figures.

Highcrest has changed radically over the past two decades and is now recognised as the only all ability academy in Buckinghamshire.

In 2001, led by a new Headteacher, Mrs Barnes, who had been brought in by the County Council to oversee the transition between the old school and the new, Highcrest opened as Highcrest Community School.

In 2002, Miss Moynihan took over as Headteacher and led the school from its ‘Inadequate‘ Ofsted judgement to a ‘Good’ grading in 2003. Miss Moynihan was at the helm for 14 years until 2016. During this time the school converted to an academy in 2011 and The Highcrest Academy was born. 

During her tenure, Highcrest led the way in many national and local initiatives, including Specialist Schools Status. Indeed, Highcrest was a pioneer as a Technology specialist school, supporting the development of STEM subjects with many schools around the UK. As a result, in 2011, Highcrest was judged by Ofsted to be an Outstanding school and in 2012 shortlisted for the ‘TES Secondary School of the Year’. During this period, Highcrest also received national recognition for its work within the area of student inclusion, culminating with us being recognised as a national Flagship school.

In 2016, Miss Moynihan retired and was replaced by Mr Burke. The appointment ensured consistency as Mr Burke had worked at Highcrest for a number of years, leading on such initiatives as the Specialist Schools Status.

Since his appointment, Highcrest has continued to grow and move in the right direction. Indeed, it has literally expanded with the development of three major areas around the school site. These include the expansion of the Sixth Form block which has trebled in size over two floors and includes additional IT facilities and modern independent study zones. The expansion of our canteen, which again has trebled in size, giving our students a bright, modern, sociable dining area, and finally a second floor built onto our Sports Hall that includes a Dance Studio and a state-of-the-art gymnasium. Highcrest has also expanded in numbers, both in the main school, increasing to seven forms of entry, and in the Sixth Form, where numbers have increased from 125 students in 2017 to 165 in 2023.

Highcrest has also continued to be accredited by many national organisations that recognise and reward our work as a school in which all pupils of all abilities are stretched to perform to their maximum. Indeed, we have maintained our status as a Flagship school for the prestigious Inclusion Quality Mark for nine consecutive years and have also now held the NACE (National Association for Able Children in Education) sine 2013.  Furthermore, in 2017, we became the first secondary school in Buckinghamshire, and only the fifteenth secondary school nationally, to be accredited as a Gold Award UNICEF Rights Respecting School; you can imagine how proud our community is of this award. The UNICEF articles continue to be at the heart of everything that we do at Highcrest. (Link to our Awards can be found here).

Our aim at the time of writing, is to continue to achieve, continue to grow and continue to be an outward-facing school that supports, and is respected by, our local community and beyond.

Watch this space…