Headteacher column: School partnership at its very best

Headteacher Jonathan Britton.
Headteacher Jonathan Britton.

Last week, the Department for Education published our official school data.

Our headline figure is, as I’m sure you already know, now 70% A*-C at GCSE including English and Mathematics.

The GCSE results ranked Woldgate School second in the East Riding.

The GCSE results ranked Woldgate School second in the East Riding.

In English we achieved 74% A*-C and in Mathematics 87% A*-C. The ‘Gold Standard’, as this measure is known, provides a comparison against other state schools within the East Riding and York.

The school is, therefore, ranked second in the East Riding and would also be ranked third in the City of York.

Achievement such as this is only possible when the home-school partnership is at its very best and communication ensures that we can work together, collaboratively, to provide the support, challenge and strategies that will result in strong outcomes.

This partnership starts even before a child moves to Woldgate School, through close-working with our primary partners, but thereafter, the foundations of success are most certainly laid in our Lower School.

It is here that, ultimately, our pupils must be actively engaged in developing the skills and the approach to learning that will ensure strong progress as they advance through Upper School and then Sixth Form.

High levels of progress require consistency in everything we do.

The very best teaching, care, high expectations and challenge, every single week, throughout the child’s education. I feel personally the responsibility that rests upon me to ensure our pupils achieve and I know my colleagues in their preparation, teaching and marking know that to teach, is both a great privilege, but also a huge responsibility.

My colleagues are today working very hard to build upon prior success and achieve those outcomes.

Last week, I walked around school and visited lessons as I like to do; for me, it is a great opportunity to see pupils focused on their learning, to speak to them individually when the activity allows, to support my colleagues and to see outstanding practice in action.

I’ve also been invited into lessons to recognise pupils’ achievements or join in with a class activity.

These experiences are, alongside my teaching, the highlights of my week.

Last Monday, when I had the pleasure of visiting classrooms across school, each was simply exceptional, with pupils engaged in learning, teachers enacting their carefully-planned lessons and creating a real buzz in classrooms.

I have visited a lot of schools over the years and I have rarely seen such consistently high standards of teaching and learning.

The headline figures are, therefore, very important, but ultimately my message is that by working in partnership, as a community, with young people at the heart of all we do, with the very best active teaching to engage and provide pace and challenge, we will see results such as these continue.

It is also why we must manage national change carefully and never lose sight of what fundamentally our purpose is as a school: to ensure each child can grow as an individual, have opportunities for their talents to shine and, of course, succeed academically.