Nuturing Potential; Creating Opportunity. These four words provide a simple, memorable summary of our shared goals; our Mission Statement develops them more fully.
The Mission Statement guides our actions, shapes our decisions, and directs our energies. It ensures that we are all moving together in the same direction.
At Great Barr School, it is our mission is to be an innovative, forward-thinking school which provides a secure and caring environment built on values, mutual respect and the principles of equality, and in which:
we can all achieve the very best of which we are capable.
we strive to achieve ambitious goals based on our own unique interests, abilities, talents and needs.
we support each other, help each other to achieve our goals and ensure that no one is left behind.
we develop confident, independent life-long learners who understand that tackling new challenges and gaining new knowledge makes life richer and more fulfilling.
we all want to play an active part in making our community sustainable, ordered, peaceful and successful.
Our school is driving forwards. We are not afraid to make radical changes to the way we organise our school and its curriculum to achieve ever improving outcomes for our children. The world around us, the world for which we are preparing our children, is constantly changing and we must change with it. Whether it is developments in teaching and learning techniques or opportunities afforded by new technologies, if we believe that some or all of our children might benefit from them, we are keen to embrace them.
Preparing our children for success in the world outside school requires us to build strong links with that world. We are continually forging relationships with local and national business organisations, bringing experts into school to work with our children so that they can benefit from knowledge and insights which are not usually available within schools, setting up short and long term work experience placements and making regular visits to real workplaces to reinforce and deepen the knowledge our children are gaining in the classroom. We have developed strong relationships with local community groups and organisations, higher education institutions and other educational bodies. We have created opportunities for our children to teach and to learn from local residents, people they would not otherwise have met, breaking down barriers and building stronger, mutually respectful relationships. Our family learning sessions, at which parents and children learn together, promote lifelong learning. As well as being forward-looking, Great Barr School is outward-facing.
Our children are well cared for and every effort is made to promote their social, emotional and intellectual development. Great Barr is undoubtedly a large school, but ‘large’ doesn’t mean ‘impersonal’. Our pastoral system, arranged into four Houses, is an acknowledged strength of the School, ensuring that all children are known and their development is closely monitored and nurtured. The welfare and safety of all of our children is paramount. Through our vertical form groups, our Peer Mentors, Prefects, School Council and Community Ambassadors, we encourage our children to take responsibility for themselves and others.
We recognise that all of our children are individuals and will therefore have different needs. We work hard to create support structures and opportunities which enable us to cater for the most diverse needs, and to reach and fully integrate all of our children. For us, every child really does matter.
We encourage pupils to work in collaboration with and to learn from their teachers and others. We aim to give them the skills, confidence and understanding of their progress to enable them to take control of their own learning, to extend it through research, investigation, practice and persistence, and to help them understand that learning never ends.
Hard work and progress are at the top of the agenda for everyone. We want every child to be successful, to aim for success from the very first day they join us and throughout their school career. We want our school to be a community of maturing learners where the dominant and common experience is of young people who want to make progress and be successful. We want our children to achieve their full potential. Our extensive reward structures provide incentives for success and achievement which are valued by the children.
Of course, success can only be achieved in an atmosphere of purposeful work. We aim to foster responsible, mature conduct, an intolerance of bullying, and respect for the needs of other learners. Whilst we emphasise achievement, progress and rewards to accentuate the positive, we deal firmly and fairly with the disruptive. Behaviour for Learning, our consequence-based discipline system, has been tremendously successful in focusing pupils’ energies into productive work.
We recognise the importance of our role in helping to shape the character and attitudes of every child. We work with parents to instil good manners and respect for others so that Great Barr pupils can make a positive impact on their local communities.
The commitment, expertise and professionalism of our highly-qualified teaching staff are vital to our continued success. The School is committed to continuing its investment in the recruitment, retention and development of the best teachers and support staff.
We strongly encourage parents to actively share our high expectations of behaviour, attendance, hard work and commitment to achievement, as it is only when we work together that our children will achieve their full potential. Our ‘real time reporting’ system allows parents to make daily checks on their children’s attendance, behaviour and progress.
I think you will agree that the following comments, taken from our latest OFSTED inspection report (November 2009), reinforce much of what I have said above:
“The school’s good pastoral care for students through its effective tutorial system is a feature of provision highly valued by most students.”
“Major modifications to the curriculum have made the most marked contribution to the improving trend in achievement and the curriculum is now an emerging strength.”
“Most students enjoy learning, are keen to do their best and behave well in lessons. Students’ concentration and attitudes to study are good when the tasks they are asked to do are engaging and encourage active learning.”
“In 2009, the proportion of Year 11 students gaining five good GCSEs rose significantly compared to the previous year.”
“Students feel that most of their teachers go out of their way to help and guide them in their studies.”
“Safeguarding procedures are now good, as are the care, guidance and support for students.”
“It is a tolerant and welcoming community in which most students thrive.”
Whether you are considering applying for your child to join the School or you are applying to join our large team of dedicated staff, I look forward to receiving your application and to the opportunity in working with you to further the success of our School and our children.
C M Abbott