Bournville Open Evening: 20th September 2017

Good evening parents/carers and prospective students. On behalf of the students and staff at Bournville a very warm welcome to you. Firstly, thank you for taking the time to visit our school, the staff and pupils very much appreciate it.

My name is Joanne Cottle and I have been Head of Academy since Easter. I am delighted to see so many of you here and look forward to meeting some of you in person throughout the course of the evening.

Shortly, you will have an opportunity to talk to our staff and pupils and I feel confident that you will go home feeling both impressed and reassured that this school is the right school for your child.

Like you, I am a parent and know just how important this decision can be in determining the future happiness and success of our children.  I am committed to ensuring that every Bournville pupil is treated as a unique individual whose passions, talents and interests are identified, nurtured and encouraged. As a smaller school, we are able to provide this level of care and our pupil surveys tell us that pupils feel safe and happy and enjoy their learning.

As some of you may know, Bournville is part of the Fairfax Multi Academy Trust whose values of high expectation and ambition for all, underpin our school ethos. Now, more than ever, a good education is absolutely vital if our children are to secure positive futures for themselves.

Our core values and beliefs are modelled daily by staff and pupils, in lessons, through our assembly programme and at social times. We are driven by our aim for every child to be the best they can be regardless of their background and our Pupil Premium Champion, Mr James, works to ensure that no pupil’s education is disadvantaged due to their economic circumstances.

Being the only all through school in South Birmingham makes us unique and those of you with younger children may well be considering all of your children joining Bournville. There are many benefits to the all through model; the younger children not only benefit from the facilities and expertise in the secondary but also, when the time comes, find transition a much easier process as they are already familiar with the school site, our staff, and are moving up with all their classmates.

The secondary children benefit enormously too. It was wonderful to see how the older children helped and encouraged the little ones during their sports day. We also have a number of secondary pupils who completed their work experience in the primary and who regularly help the little ones with their reading, in taking on this responsibility, our secondary pupils have grown in confidence enormously.

Bournville provides a broad and balanced curriculum so your child can discover what they really enjoy and are good at. Lessons are delivered in an engaging and stimulating way by a team of well qualified subject specialists dedicated to improving the life chances of the children in this school.

You may be aware of recent changes to the curriculum which mean children are now expected to retain several years of learning in preparation for their  GCSE examinations, all of which are sat at the end of Year 11.  We have responded to these new demands by introducing a three year GCSE curriculum alongside a new Teaching for Excellence programme designed to sustain pupil focus in lessons and maximise their examination success.

Talking of success, I am extremely proud of all our pupils and staff and was delighted that our Year 11 pupils hard work and effort paid off when this summer they achieved the best ever GCSE results in the school’s history. It pleases me to say that, not only were they Bournville’s best ever results, but they were also better than many similar schools locally.

As a Headteacher, I am of course concerned with academic success, however, as a fellow parent I am as concerned with the school’s role in providing your child with excellent pastoral care. All children, have a right to feel safe at school and to be part of a learning community where they feel supported. To this end I have just introduced a new House system which not only fosters a strong sense of belonging for our pupils and staff but also provides many opportunities for some healthy competition.  The very traditional house names of Tolkien, Cadbury and Boulton, were chosen by our pupils who were keen to acknowledge the contributions of their Birmingham forefathers whose literary, engineering and philanthropic legacies are still much in evidence today. Our house leaders Mr Lowe, Miss Trilloe and Mr Kesterton also have a teaching timetable so each house has an attached student support officer to help our pupils throughout the course of the school day should they need it. Pupils wear their house badges with pride and the sense of community across year groups is already emerging.

Our head boy and girl Uriel and Hannah alongside our deputy head boy and girl Saul and Katy are available this evening to give you their perspective on Bournville. Please take the opportunity to ask lots of questions.

Our wider year 11 student leadership team play an active role in helping younger pupils to settle into school life and in encouraging the team spirit within each house.

Aligned with the house system are many extra-curricular activities and opportunities for children to compete and collaborate with other schools across the Trust in areas such as sport, music and drama. Traditionally, Bournville has had an excellent reputation for the Arts. You have already heard some lovely pieces being played by Dylan from Year 8 and Uriel Year 11. Now let’s hear from Jack who will sing a Sam Smith number.

You can’t have failed to notice that much of the school is covered in scaffolding and we have builders’ compounds at both ends of the site. Clearly, I had hoped that this work would have been completed prior to joining us this evening. However, the poor weather experienced this summer has led to some delays. We are in the process of having all our roofs replaced and are hoping to receive a grant to replace our windows next year. In addition to that our new student toilets in the secondary will be completed before Christmas a new purpose built early years unit will follow in May 2018. As you will appreciate, this level of investment runs into millions of pounds and is evidence of the Government’s and Local Authority’s endorsement of the potential that Bournville School clearly has.

But of course, shiny new buildings do not guarantee a good school. What’s really important are people and relationships. We all have a role to play in creating successful futures for your children and this works best when school and parents are united on matters such as behaviour, uniform and attendance. At Bournville we have extremely high standards and your help in maintaining those standards is expected and appreciated. A collaborative approach to these matters is by far the most effective.

Our school motto “everyone, every lesson, every day” represents our commitment to every member of the school community giving their best.

I am thrilled to have joined Bournville at such an exciting time in the school’s history. We are on a rapid improvement journey and I am confident that the best is yet to come.