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Principal's Welcome



I am delighted to welcome you to the Darwen Vale High School website. DVHS is an 11 – 16 academy situated in the heart of Darwen. We opened in brand new buildings in September 2012 and over the last five years have grown from year groups of 150 to 240. We are oversubscribed in most year groups and have almost 1200 students on roll. This year saw a significant rise in the number of students appealing to secure a place at Vale.

DVHS has been recognised as a rapidly improving school. Our academic standards have improved dramatically. English results have improved to 77% at Grade 4 and almost 60% at Grade 5 in 2022 which was above the National average. Maths results improved to 75% at Grade 4 and 50% gaining grade 5 or better. Combined English and Maths results were 42% for grade 5 in 2022 and 68% for grade 4. Our focus on strong academic outcomes characterised by an ethic of hard work makes us confident that we will see a continued pattern of improvement with improved outcomes in all curriculum areas.


The results of our significant improvements in academic outcomes can be seen in our alumni; 89 % of students from the 2022 year 11 went on to study level 3 qualifications. From that cohort we have had students accepted into the prestigious Stonyhurse College, secure scholarships with Arkwright Engineering and secure apprenticeships in the Royal Navy. Ex Vale Head Girl, Fion Fox secured a place studying Law at Oxford University and Adam Smith from our 2019 leavers has just been accepted to top drama school: ItaliacontiUK. Any current students interested in applying for DVHS should visit our admissions page.

In our Ofsted inspection of March 2021 inspectors noted significant improvements observing that “You have a clear vision for the curriculum that meets the needs of pupils in the school” and that “Leaders are ambitious for vulnerable pupils and those with SEND. They also noted that at Vale “Teachers continued to deliver the planned curriculum through online learning…When the school was closed, teachers delivered lessons, set tasks and ensured pupils received feedback on their work”. As a result, parents have great faith in the school with over 80% of parents keen to recommend to others – again higher than the Ofsted average for this measure. Our most recent inspection in September 2022 validated this monitoring inspection; stating that we have “made some considerable improvements to the curriculum. For example, you have ensured that the curriculum is increasingly ambitious and that it is equitable for all pupils”.

It is indeed an exciting time at Vale and further validation of our significant journey of improvement can be seen in our growing popularity. We hope that if you click around our website you will be able to find any information you need. We have included details of our curriculum, information about our partners, recent news stories showcasing the many achievements of our fantastic students, our prospectus and Sixth Form prospectus of our partner schools, any current staff vacancies, and details of all other elements of life at DVHS. Prospective parents and students should visit our admissions pages for details of how to apply.


With best wishes,


Matthew Little


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