First and foremost, I would like to wish every member of our community – pupils, staff & parents/carers –a very happy New Year! Despite 2019 being a year of some sadness, it was also a successful year for our school and that is down to all of us working together to help our children to ASPIRE – Achieve Academically, enjoy Success, be Professional in attitude, grow in Integrity & Respect and recognise that hard work and Endeavour are keys to achieving our goals.
2019 was successful for lots of reasons – achieving the school’s best ever GCSE outcomes being just one of them! Another reason to celebrate is that, as you know, the school was visited by a team of Ofsted inspectors, on the 3rd & 4th December 2019, and they could see for themselves the journey our school has come on. I want to thank those of you who replied to the parent and pupil surveys, the responses were overwhelmingly positive and your contributions helped the inspectors enormously in making their judgements about the school.
The official report has been published and I am delighted to share that the school secured a judgement of Good in every area:
|The quality of education||Good|
|Behaviour and attitudes||Good|
|Leadership and management||Good|
Here is a link to the report and it has also been uploaded to MyEd for your convenience. It will be published on the Ofsted website by Tuesday, 28th January. Please take a moment to read it – this achievement belongs to our school community and that includes pupils, staff, local community and our families.
I am particularly proud of the very first paragraph which recognises that our ‘school is a safe and caring place’ and praises our pupils for their behaviour and manners. Feedback such as this is not new – indeed visitors to school invariably share the same experience. I truly believe that this is down to the shared values we hold – the same values that are instilled in our children by parents and carers, extended families, primary schools and places of worship. Thank you to the pupils, staff, community and you at home.
I am also very proud that the inspection report recognises that ‘pupils who attend this school are prepared well for the next stage of their education’ and that we are ‘committed to helping every child to do their best.’ This is so very important because we don’t just want our children to be aspirational – we want our children to have the skills, knowledge and confidence to achieve those aspirations, now and in the future. The inspectors found this to be the case.
The report recognises that ‘there are a wide variety of academic qualifications on offer to pupils in key stage 4’. As a school we have been determined to keep as broad a curriculum offer as possible in KS4 and to continue to offer pupils opportunities to study across the arts, vocational, sciences, languages and humanities subjects. It is wonderful that the inspectors appreciated our leaders’ and teachers’ hard work in designing and delivering a curriculum that is varied, ambitious and rigorous.
You will know that, as a school, we are constantly striving to do the best for our children. For example, 2 years ago we made the decision to enter pupils for their English Language exam in Year 10. We did this because we know that the pressure of sitting all of the exams in Year 11 is stressful and we wanted to alleviate some of this pressure. The strategy proved to be successful with pupils achieving higher than national averages in each year and achieving the highest results in English Language GCSE outcomes in school history! However, we never sit on our laurels and this academic year we have decided to trial Year 10 sitting English Literature instead. We decided to trial this as English Literature exams involve a lot of memory retention and the exams themselves are very long. We are preparing our Year 10 pupils for these exams but if we feel that entering the pupils in June is not in their best interest, we will not do so. We will only enter pupils who we believe are ready for the exam. As always, every decision we make will only be carried out after careful consideration and consultation. The report itself recognises that we are taking positive action regarding English Language/Literature entry in Year 10.
The report gives us 4 areas to work on to help us to move to the next category: Outstanding:
1: Continue to review the practice of early entry for Year 10 in either English literature/English Language or delay entry to Year 11.
2: Continue to build on the steps already taken to encourage more pupils to study the EBacc suite of qualification.
3: Encourage more pupils to attend the wide variety of extra-curricular clubs on offer.
4: Continue to improve pupils’ attendance, particularly attendance of pupils with SEND.
I think you will agree that the report reflects who we are as a school and that everything we do is for the good of our children. Whilst I am proud of the journey we have been on as a school community, I am just as excited about the journey to come as we continue to strive for excellence for every child in our care.
Should any parent have a query or concern, you are more than welcome to attend the next Head teacher’s surgery which will take place on Wednesday 29th January 3-5pm. Should you want to an appointment, please contact my PA Helen Adshead on 0161 876 1850.
Finally, I would like to thank you for your continued support and dedication. I wish you all health, happiness, peace and joy for 2020!
Mrs Nicola Doward