Open Evening 2021
A very warm welcome to our school. We so appreciate you coming to see what we have to offer, especially in such still unsettled times. Please don’t feel pressured to stay this evening if you don’t feel comfortable being amongst so many people – we will be happy to try and fit you in on one of our tours during the day. These speeches are being recorded for the website and social media release tomorrow as numbers are more limited than previous years. We are asking everyone tonight to be sensible and respect the controls and each other and I hope that everyone will find themselves in a happy and comfortable place where it is easy to do this. And thank you for respecting the additional controls in place.
We will try and limit the amount of time you are sitting in the Hall but I want to make the time to tell you what we are about and for you to hear briefly from the key people who make our school what it is. We have tried to focus on the key points tonight and I am under threat from my daughter to cut out any of my usual stories about her but what I will say is that she makes me value the absolute importance of education, I know it is good enough for her at her school and it is my job as Headteacher with my staff to ensure this is the same for all our children at this school. She also drives my passion for making sure our children are happy and safe and can find their interest and fulfil their ambitions, enabling them to live successful and enriching lives.
You are so lucky to have such good schools around you both in and out of the borough. Just in a small radius you have two other Ofsted graded good secondary schools as well as us with the most recent good full inspection so really it comes down to what is right for your child. What are their interests, where will they thrive, what makes them tick and what is their comfortable space? Do yours and their values align with the school you choose? Parents and carers know their children better than anyone and so you need to have these conversations before making your final decision.
With that in mind, what makes Heathcote unique and different? Why you should seriously consider what we can offer as one of your top choices? I can tell you with confidence, that after the trauma of the last two years, your child will be looked after, thrive academically and socially and be happy here. It’s a good place to spend your teenage years. And this is reflected in parental choice. In the last three years, first choices have increased from 55% to 86% which reflects increased confidence and satisfaction and those figures are higher than both of the other local schools. We have also subjected ourselves to scrutiny from two external inspections covering safeguarding and leadership for the last term, the only school in the borough to do so and you will see some of the very positive feedback in the slides and also in the prospectus. We are a very reflective school and this has also helped to refine our school improvement plan with clear benchmarked feedback from external experts.
So why us?
We have ambition for all our pupils. Our results have improved year on year. Every year our disadvantaged pupils perform in line with non-disadvantaged pupils. Four pupils are starting at Oxford and Cambridge this year. We have won the prestigious Matheletics competition for the last two years beating many local schools. Results in 2020 were better than ever and better than many local schools and our English results are exceptional. The pictures of pupils with their 8s and 9s and A and A* on results day were truly inspiring and our sixth form is bigger than ever as more pupils than ever before stayed on to continue their education here. We have a fabulous hardworking Year 11 and 13 this year who are taught and resilient and I am totally confident as we return to exams that everyone’s hard work will have paid off and results will continue to improve.
We have great teaching and learning opportunities.
Our teachers are highly qualified subject specialists and we have a great range of long serving teachers and newly qualified teachers with energy, creativity and ideas. Pupils work hard in lessons and lessons build on the remote learning done in lockdown to ensure concepts are understood and knowledge revisited if necessary. We use Rosenshine’s principles to embed knowledge and ensure skills can be applied. The leadership review fed back that behaviour for learning was excellent and any of you that have visited will know that classrooms are respectful and quiet places, unless the teacher is asking for engaging group work when they are full of the voices of interested and lively pupils. The Sixth Form provision provides us with great role models and having a sixth form with teachers teaching 16-18-year olds means great specialist knowledge to challenge pupils lower down the school. Special needs pupils are always included and make great progress in this school and leave following ambitious and engaging pathways.
Careers advice and support here is second to none and we try from the start to find the things pupils are inspired by. We have given you a list of the clubs on this term so you can see the range of activities on offer and we have three trips, restrictions permitting, going abroad planned for this year, as well as a wealth of local trips. We have already had two theatre trips and have a number more planned for this term, as well as being part of National Theatre Connections project enabling us to perform in a real theatre and also in partnership with Barratt Homes and TfL to give our pupils unique experiences in the built environment industry where there is so may exciting opportunities. We also have fun and our Sports Day was brilliant up on Bluehouse Field within our amazing grounds. The PE department in this school is outstanding and highly organised with both boys and girls playing regular fixtures, as well as running sports club for fun including trampolining. We regularly run charity events and activities and pupils perform their own assemblies, concerts and plays. We also run Duke of Edinburgh for pupils in Year 9-13.
Relationships, Care and Support
This is where we excel – we will never be the school that demands silent corridors, marching robotic pupils and exclusions for the wrong uniform, but we have clear and proportionate rules and clear and proportionate sanctions within an environment of considerable care and support. We expect pupils to be ready, respectful and responsible and pupils have a range of rewards on offer. Pupils smile and laugh at Heathcote and when teenage obstacles appear - which they so often do which may make them lose their smile temporarily - other pupils and staff are respectful, supportive and considerate. The safeguarding review concluded that pupils feel safe in this school, know who to talk to in school and feel comfortable doing so. Since the last lockdown, we have undertaken individual mental health interviews for every child in the school to help us understand the community and what we need to offer to ensure individual concerns have been followed up with signposting or counselling or therapeutic support. Nearly 90% of pupils said they were excited about the year ahead and for the remaining pupils who expressed worries about exams or work, we have individual and year group strategies.
We have a 15-place provision for deaf pupils and host an alternate provision for pupils from other schools with anxiety issues, and we work closely with the counsellors and therapists from this provision to also benefit the school
We send a newsletter once a week and keep in touch in a number of ways including Parent Mail, Parent Evenings, social media and calls. We are always welcoming to all members of the community and are out and about in the evening in the community supporting our pupils to get home safely.
This is all on offer in your community on the edge of the forest – giving our young people unique and unparallel educational opportunities. I hope this evening affirms your thoughts or changes your mind as you realise what a caring and nurturing environment this is and one that is full of incredible opportunities from hardworking and inspiring staff. Please read the prospectus and ask staff and pupils any questions. I may not get the chance to speak to many of you tonight but you can email me with any specific questions any time. Pupils here are brave, funny, resilient loyal tolerant, friendly, ambitious and interesting and I hope that comes through. Please follow our social media and look at our website and amazing presentational film.
We will not always get everything right but I can assure you we work very hard to do so and build on any feedback. We are organised, co-unite well and are committed to providing the best education for our community. As Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
Heathcote is an excellent school!
I really hope that you will become part of our family and that you look back in eight years time when your child leaves the sixth form knowing that you made the right decision.
Headteacher, Heathcote School & Science College
Open Evening Presentation
If you have any queries please contact the Main School office on 020 8498 5110.