Parliamentary Review: Pride in Progress

At Sittingbourne Community College, we don’t have extensive mission statements pinned to classroom walls. Students are not encouraged to recite the school’s priority list or to quote from a student charter. Instead, we work tirelessly to ensure that their ethos is apparent in everything we do, from the relationship between the classroom teachers and their students to the interaction between the Headteacher and their parents. As a result, we have created a community of learners underpinned by emotionally intelligent collaboration and leadership networks. Our ethos is not words on a page; it is, as visitors so often remark, so deeply embedded that it is almost tangible.

These are the opening lines from the 2015-16 secondary education south edition of The Parliamentary Review, where Sittingbourne Community College is one of the 14 schools across the south of England to feature.

The publication is produced by the government and sent to thousands of policy makers as a blueprint for success and highlights best practice.

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It highlights what has been done to improve the school and says its reputation has improved to such an extent that its size will increase by 60 pupils a year from September 2017.

Fiona Trigwell, Headteacher; “The school has actually changed the whole culture and ethos of the way things are done here. We have taught students to be very, very proud of the individual progress they can make and to be the best they can be.”

“Students at the school, did not believe they could make progress, some of them were entrenched in ‘any academic work was not of any value’ and we had to teach them that pride and pride in what they can achieve is actually a tremendous thing. We are constantly telling our students here that we are proud of any small achievements they make. It’s not just academic achievement, it’s social and emotional achievement as well.”

Changes are singled out such as how pupils’ work is marked by teachers, who now celebrate success by identifying what went well and then make suggestions for further progress by saying “it would have been even better if you had done x."

Senior leaders are said to “drop in” and observe lessons to give feedback to colleagues, who are also encouraged to take up coaching and do research into the science of teaching.

All pupils are catered for on an individual basis which extends beyond the classroom to include emotional support where necessary.

SCC students.JPGLearning leaders help pupils on a one-to-one basis, particularly in the run up to exams if it is felt they could under achieve.

Literacy skills have been improved thanks to the employment of three librarians and a reading programme.

Fiona Trigwell, Headteacher since December 2013, holds lunchtime meetings with students who are encouraged to share ways in which the school can further improve.

Welcoming the school’s inclusion, she said: “It was an honour for Sittingbourne Community College to be chosen for this year’s edition of the Parliamentary Review.

“We were selected because of the outstanding progress the school has made in raising standards.

“It is fantastic that the hard work of students and staff has been recognised at such a high level.”

  • SCC has about 1,200 pupils and more than 250 staff. Skill levels of starters in Year 7 is significantly below national average. Some 41% of pupils are entitled to free school meals