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Buildings and Improvement News

First published on the Alderman White School and The Bramcote School websites on 26th March 2015.

We are a truly comprehensive Federation where all students are welcomed and thrive, and all are given every opportunity to achieve to their highest potential. We are rooted in our local community, make a positive contribution to the life of our local area and work in harmony with our feeder primary schools. Staff and students in the Federation behave with integrity, honesty, openness and respect, are committed to the principle of equality, and display tolerance and acceptance towards others. We manage our Federation in an environmentally sensitive, sustainable manner.

Leadership and governance of the Federation provides clear direction, consistent with our vision and values. Leaders at all level have the highest aspirations for students, and provide staff with the support and guidance to achieve them. They have a deep understanding of strengths and areas for development, and use this to bring about improvement. They ensure that communication across the Federation is open, efficient and flows both ways. Directors know the Federation well, and use their knowledge to strike a skilful balance between challenge and support.

Students make exceptional progress in their time at the Federation, regardless of their starting points or background, as a result, overall levels of progress are well above national averages and have remained so consistently over time. Detailed and accurate assessment tracking systems enable us to have confidence in our analysis of student achievement, and demonstrate that students achieve well across the full range of subjects, and across all year groups. When our students leave, they go on to achieve great success in the next stage of their education and/or the world of work.

We work in partnership with parents and carers to ensure that students’ individual needs are understood and catered for. All significant groups of students make very good progress, well in excess of national averages. Where their attainment had previously been below their potential, this progress enables them to close the attainment gap with their peers. The achievement of all students and groups of students is closely monitored so that we can provide tailored and targeted support by specialist, highly-trained staff to enable them to make excellent progress. We work closely with external agencies and organisations to access appropriate high-quality support and we use additional funding, such as SEN or pupil premium funding, wisely to secure maximum impact.

Teaching is dynamic, engaging and purposeful. It provides a good blend of challenge and support, and is built on a secure understanding of pedagogy and current practice. Lessons are stimulating and dynamic, teachers demonstrate passion for the subject. Teachers learn from each other and have frequent opportunities to share outstanding teaching, both within and beyond the Federation - although there is consistency of practice across lessons, teachers demonstrate individuality and innovation in their planning and delivery.

Although our curriculum meets all of the statutory guidelines and provides an excellent preparation for external exams, it also enables our students to develop interest and enthusiasm for learning. We provide a good range of subject options, supported by high-quality specialist teaching. This enables all students to be well-prepared for the next stage of their education. Schemes of work are regularly updated to ensure that they are stimulating and relevant, and well-targeted to enable students to attain well in external exams.

All buildings in the Federation are of the highest quality, fit for purpose and exemplify the value that we place on learning. Standards of decoration and cleanliness are extremely high. Students and staff take pride in their school buildings and keep their environment clean and tidy. Our buildings are environmentally sound and efficient, and complement the surrounding environment, and the design of our teaching and learning areas supports innovative, creative and stimulating teaching. School grounds and sports areas are well designed and maintained by our students and others in the community.

We are acutely aware of our responsibility to use public funds well, and ensure that every penny is well spent. Our budget is well-planned to enable us to meet all of our obligations whilst maintaining a sensible contingency for unexpected demands. We have a long-term plan that allows us to maintain investment in key areas, and prioritise areas which have the greatest impact on student learning, including teaching. The quality of resources is high in every subject. Teaching and learning resources are updated regularly.

The way that we take advantage of the possibilities provided by ICT is a feature of the Federation. Our students benefit from high quality infrastructure and hardware, and access the latest software tools and apps. The use of technology makes a key contribution to the quality of learning and teaching across the Federation by increasing student engagement and providing a springboard for interactive learning. Our platforms facilitate both independent learning (and in doing so, provide a link with learning outside school) and collaborative learning, allowing students to share their learning and benefit from the skills of others.

Students feel safe and happy in school. They develop excellent relationships with each other and with staff, characterized by respect and a shared ethos. Occasions when lessons are disrupted by poor behaviour are exceptionally rare, and our behaviour policy is clear, widely known and consistently implemented. Bullying in any form occurs very infrequently, and is immediately challenged and dealt with appropriately. Students’ excellent behaviour has a major impact on learning and progress, and it is recognised and celebrated - students are proud of their contribution to the Federation.

Students have a powerful voice in decisions about their education, including a genuine role in decisions about planning, appointments and curriculum. Their opinions are routinely sought in the analysis of teaching and learning, and are used to refine and improve teaching. We provide a range of opportunities for students to contribute views and opinions, both informally and formally through student councils and faculty reviews. Students are given many opportunities to develop skills of debate, negotiation and analysis and are encouraged to form their own view about important issues.

Our Federation is rooted in its community. We have close links with neighbourhood groups, primary schools, faith communities and voluntary organisations. The building and resources are well-used by the local community, giving access to sporting, arts and education facilities outside school hours. Our students are leaders within their communities and, through volunteering and charitable activity, they have a hugely positive impact. We work in partnership with parents/carers and parental satisfaction is extremely high. Communication with parents is detailed and effective – parents are able to find out a range of information, including information about attendance, behaviour and progress. Parents have many opportunities to contribute their views and suggestions, and these are valued and acted upon.

The number of students applying for the Federation is rising steadily and once here, our retention rate is well above average. As a result of an extensive transition and induction programme, building on our excellent relationship with parents and strong links with primary feeder schools, new students settle in quickly and successfully. Students are given excellent advice on education and career pathways and as a result, the proportion of students who are NEET after leaving the Federation is very low.

Students take part in a wide range of after-school and lunch-time activity and enrichment including sport and arts contributes hugely to the good reputation enjoyed by the Federation. All subjects support enrichment and there is a direct link to the taught curriculum. Students are well-prepared for life beyond school by specialist short courses in areas such as SRE, Financial Planning, First Aid, etc. The proportion of students from vulnerable groups who access enrichment, including pupil premium and students from ethnic minorities is in line with the proportion in the overall school population.