Dear Parent (s) / Guardian (s)
We are writing to you regarding the new roles which we will be taking up in September. As you know, Mr Rippon will be Executive Headteacher and Mr Flowers will be Head of School. These new roles have been designed to ensure that SFX continues on its journey to be an outstanding school in every respect and lives up to our mission statement to help your children to experience “Life in all its fullness.” We will be working alongside each other on two distinct but inter-related aspects school life, academic success and the daily operation of the school.
As Executive Headteacher, Mr Rippon will be concentrating on strategic work to ensure the academic progress of all pupils in each year group. As you will know from the last OFSTED report, the way that schools are judged in terms of results has changed. Instead of concentrating on “attainment” at GCSEs, which means the numbers and quality of grades achieved, the emphasis now is upon a new “progress” measure, designed to assess how far a pupil has made progress since primary school. The previous attainment measure is in some ways the key one for pupils, employers and universities, because the quality of results determines whether a young person will be employed or move onto their next phase. We have always done well in this respect and our NEET (Not in Employment Education or Training) figures are second to none.
However, the Government, quite rightly, wants to develop measures to see if all pupils are making as much progress as they possibly can. This measure is driving the headline figures of OFSTED reports. Whilst progress is difficult to measure accurately, it is important to make sure that each young person is achieving all that they can, for example getting an A rather than the B they need to go on to A Level, or getting the D they are capable of rather than settling for an E because they have what they need for their next steps.
A further complication for us is that schools are judged against the average of national results. This means that half of schools will be below average and half above at any time. Furthermore, girls significantly out-perform boys in almost all subjects nationally, and white working class boys in particular are underperforming across the country. When compared to boys’ results, SFX is doing well, but we must compete with the best and we are determined to equal and overtake the national figures for boys and girls.
In his new role as Head of School Mr Flowers will be ensuring that the ethos of the school and the day to day operational aspects of school life enable this progress to be achieved. We have designed some changes to the systems for assessment, credits and rewards, behaviour management and measuring progress in all year groups. These will be communicated to you in more detail in September. Suffice to say there will be a renewed emphasis upon pupils looking smart, being equipped and ready to learn and being rewarded for their efforts. All lessons will have a common opening, with an equipment and planner check. Senior staff will patrol the corridors each lesson, visiting classes around the school. There will be extra emphasis upon work being smartly presented and pride being taken by all pupils in everything that they do. We will use new electronic systems to keep you better informed of the progress of your child. Each term you will be sent a clear report indicating progress towards targets. Information regarding your child’s rewards and credits will be easy to access.
Where efforts and behaviour fall short of the standards we expect, you will be kept fully informed and we will want to work with you at an early stage to make sure that your child understands what is required and resumes making the progress they need. Whilst this might require some intense intervention at the time, together with you as parents, the results will be worth the effort. Mr Flowers will explain the changes to pupils in special assemblies during the last week of term and then again in September.
Together with the Governing body and the staff we will lead the school forwards. We very much look forward to working with you next year and are sure that we will quickly see the rewards for our labours. SFX is a fine school and as it approaches the celebration of 175 years since its founding, we are determined to provide outstanding education in first class facilities for all of the children in our care.
Mr Rippon Mr Flowers
Executive Headteacher Head of School