Response to KM article 29/03/19 about the recent job advert
We believe that Towers students can be - and are - exceptional. We believe that by having consistency, clarity and enormously high expectations, we can ensure Towers students go on to great things.
We know that if you create the right conditions, where teachers can teach and students can learn, if you raise the bar, focusing on the clarity of every detail, if you build a culture where everyone buys in to the collective vision, you build a school where every child will succeed.
However, we also understand that in order to make students the best versions of themselves, we need to ensure there are consequences for getting things wrong. If a student makes the wrong choice, we have to help them understand that it was wrong. In time students do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, because they have become the best version of themselves.
It is the case that a small minority of students do make wrong choices. In order that they do not interrupt the learning of others, these students will spend time on academic work in the Behaviour Correction Centre. Placement will be for specified amounts of time, according to the type and level of disruption and to the subsequent impact on others' learning. At Towers, we ensure that students are able to concentrate and work hard so the Behaviour Correction Centre Lead role will also allow all our teaching staff the freedom to teach 100% of the time and to ensure that no learning time is 'stolen' from our students, the vast majority of whom are excellent learners.
We believe the honest job description for this new role correlates to common standards of good parenting, where 'tough love' addresses unacceptable behaviours. We passionately believe that addressing and correcting such negative behaviours helps prepare our students for life beyond Towers and to become good citizens, whichever path they choose to follow.
No member of staff here works alone. We are all in this together and our Behaviour Correction Lead will work alongside a hugely effective Welfare team. Our Welfare team work out of Towers’ bespoke Welfare Centre; a building which contains a dedicated team of Welfare Leads, non teaching staff whose direct phone numbers parents have in order that they always have someone available to support them and their children. These staff, alongside Heads of Year, work to address the causes of poor behaviour and any underlying issues, supporting students and resolving problems.
Ofsted recognised the strength of our welfare support for students; in our recent inspection published in Feb 2019, they reported that:
● ‘Staff know their responsibilities and taken them very seriously. Clear and consistent routines help pupils to feel safe and well looked after.’
● ‘Leaders’ expectations for pupils’ behaviour and learning are absolutely clear. Pupils understand exactly what they have to do and respond well to clear systems and routines. Standards of behaviour have risen as a result and are consistently good.’
● ‘Pupils and parents value the breadth of support that they are given.’
● ‘Pupils understand how to keep themselves safe and who they can speak to if they have any
Our Section 8 Ofsted report also told us ‘You have inspired your staff and pupils to raise their aspirations and, as a consequence, a passion for success may be seen throughout the school. You have established high academic and behavioural expectations for every member of your community. You have transformed the culture of the school by your effective work to embed clear processes to support behaviour and teaching and learning. Pupils and staff are excited to be part of Towers and can see the rapid progress that they are making. Pupils like the fact that staff at Towers are ‘strict because you care’ and they rise to meet the high expectations that have been established.’
We have gained a reputation within the community and beyond, hosting senior leaders from other schools who have come to see what we do here. One Headteacher wrote to say that, ‘Students were engaged, lessons were paced effectively and the teaching was unmistakably knowledge driven. Students exhibited pride in their work and the atmosphere was excellent.’ One Deputy Head told us that ‘Towers has very high expectations and promotes a rich learning environment.’ Other senior leaders have said, ‘this is a non-selective school where staff ‘sweat the small stuff’ and the result of this is that students are thriving and have been given the tools to achieve as highly as any student in a grammar school’ and ‘the calm quiet building during lesson time reflected the calm classrooms... behaviour was excellent and students took pride in their work. Teachers share a common language which helps both teachers and students feel secure in lessons and have absolute clarity of expectation.’ We are delighted that our school is being seen as an establishment which embodies good practice.
As a school, we have received much support from the education community on social media, many of whom know our school or are senior leaders in their own highly successful schools. We appreciate, however, that not all of the comments have been positive. Although we have been disappointed by the few negative comments, we recognise that these are due to a lack of understanding on the part of individuals, none of whom come from within our school community - or have ever visited our site. We have offered to open our doors to welcome any visitors who would like to see the fantastic work our staff and students do here for themselves.
At Towers, we value all of our students equally and we strive relentlessly to provide them with the very best educational experience in a highly supportive and caring environment. We have become a school which is full of happy, hardworking and respectful students; a school whose teaching is based on a rich and rigorous knowledge driven curriculum; a school of which we are incredibly proud.