Headteacher's Blog

  • 26Sep

    What does The Urswick School offer your child?

    This is an edited version of my speech at Open Evening on 27/09/16.

    Every secondary school in Hackney has different qualities. Some are a good fit for some families but not others. That is why parents have a choice as to which school to send their children to. Almost all schools in Hackney, including Urswick, are rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, so local parents can make positive choices about which school best meets their needs and aspirations.

    In our last full Ofsted inspection, Leadership and Management and Behaviour and Safety were both classified as Outstanding by Ofsted. This judgement was confirmed during a one day visit by Ofsted to the school in November 2015.

    Urswick combines excellent facilities for learning with high academic standards and a strong sense of community. Every member of our Sixth Form receives offers to progress to university. Our Believe and Achieve mission statement articulates the high aspiration we have for every student. In 2016 every Year 11 student achieved at least 5 A* to G grades at GCSE. Many did a great deal better than this, but I take great pride that whatever barriers to learning some young people face, everyone is able to reach their potential and beyond at this school.

    Our children enjoy coming here. Attendance is around 96% and engagement in lessons is very strong. Out of Hours Learning opportunities are well supported and relationships with staff are excellent. The many student volunteers who take part in our Open Evening is evidence of the strong bond young people have with their school. Questionnaires from parents (available elsewhere on this website) are also highly supportive of the work of the school.

    We are not a boot camp. Children are not required to walk the corridors in silence or chant slogans. Nevertheless we do demand high standards of behaviour and our code of conduct is displayed around the school and consistently reinforced. I will not tolerate bullying or lack of respect for adults or other children in the school. Our Referral Room is used to isolate any student who seeks to deliberately disrupt the learning of others.

    We have a system of school detentions and young people who commit serious breaches of our behaviour policy can be excluded. Equally, we reward young people who do the right thing, including excellent work, awarding them credits or certificates and by sending home postcards of praise so parents get positive news and not just the negatives. The highlight of the school year for many students is Tea with the Head; those with 120+ credits get to dip into the chocolate fountain as well as showing me their work!

    We are a Christian school, not just a school for Christians. Christopher Urswick founded free education in Hackney in 1520. I hope your child will be at Urswick to celebrate our 500th anniversary in 2020. We embrace the Christian values of love, respect, fairness and forgiveness. Many cultures, languages, faiths and traditions are represented in our school; we have over 200 Muslim students, for example. Equal Opportunities is central to what we do. In 2016, we were awarded a Gold Award for Best Practice by Educate and Celebrate in respect of our work to educate and support young people in respect of LGBT.

    We have a strong sense of community. Our Admissions Policy has remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years. We have not invented a lottery for parents, or any other strategy designed to limit the likelihood of local children getting a place here. Half of our places are awarded to siblings and by distance; the other half to families who regularly attend worship in the Church of England or any other organisation recognised by the World Council of Churches. Please download our Supplementary Form. This form can help you secure a place regardless of how near or far you are from the school.

    This sense of community means we give every child a free school lunch every day. The BBC have reported that we are the only secondary school in England to do this. This will save working families about £380 per year for each child. We fund our universal free lunches through the lettings income generated by the evening and weekend rental of our award winning facilities.

    I could say a great deal more about the school, but the best reason to send your own children here can be seen by talking to our students during our Open Evening, or visiting for a daytime tour each Tuesday and Thursday at 9am or 10am until the 13th October.

    I look forward to meeting you.

    Posted by Richard Brown @ 10:30