The vast majority of parents/carers of children at JQA always support the school and make sure their child behaves excellently. I thank you for that. You are part of what makes this school a place where ‘Excellence is expected here’. It’s a place where all are welcomed and I am proud to be the Headteacher of such a diverse school, representing the communities we serve. We know though that only in a culture of high expectations can strong achievement take place – and that’s what we’re working to achieve together: for our children to get the best GCSE grades and develop social skills around our CORE values for life.
Some parents, however, are simply not taking enough responsibility. To these parents, I have a very clear message. The Ofsted report mentioned that ‘a small number of pupils struggle to behave appropriately.’ This is correct. Already a small number of children have had suspensions for poor choices, and/or are on report to senior leaders in our STEP programme. We have a Code of Conduct and we expect your child to abide by it every day and you to support the school with additional sanctions at home to reinforce the importance of this and the difference these choices make to overall achievement.
I will never accept poor conduct and all choices have consequences. On Friday during period 5, a rare incident took place where a small handful of students truanted their lesson – and were obviously caught and issued consequences through our strong systems. I will not have students who currently have the privilege of wearing the gold tie waste their time and my staff’s time and take a place away from a child that wants a good education – as well as steal learning time from the vast majority of JQA students who meet our standards all the time. Behaviour is good at the school. In the last survey 95% parents said they’d recommend JQA school to another family. We now have a waiting list in all cohorts with families desparate for a place at JQA because their child attends a school that isn’t ‘good’ locally or they have moved into the area and need a ‘good’ school for their child . We are fully staffed, the only mainstream secondary school that is recognised ‘good’ in the city centre by Ofsted under the new framework and we offer a good quality education. Read the report here.
We expect children to follow our Code of Conduct and meet our ‘gold standards’ – quite simply to:
- attend on time every day
- walk into lessons on time and in silence and start work immediately
- listen in silence when an expert teacher is explaining
- treat everybody and our site respectfully,
- put in 100% effort and produce their best work.
Simple rules, followed by everyone.
These rules aren’t just about good habits for now, they are habits for life.
It is unacceptable, for example, that some children arrive late everyday when living a short walk from the Academy. If they were adults in employment, they would lose their job.
So to the small minority of parents whose children repeatedly break the clear code of conduct and who are notified of this via text almost every day, I say this: if you don’t want to support the school by making sure your child does what we expect, or you are not happy with our expectations please get in touch with me directly via [email protected] and I will give you a Birmingham City Council transfer form to take your child to another school with space. The phrase we use at JQA is ‘excellence or exit’. I will have no hesitation in recommending to the governors, and I have their full support, to remove the place of students who persistently ruin learning for the vast majority because I have a duty to protect the learning and future of our gems who get it right day-in, day-out.
We are trying to do something special together here: to disrupt the destiny that living in certain postcodes in this city provides. We serve areas that have complex challenges. In 3 years, we have transformed this school to a certain standard and the next phase is to go beyond that: to be a top school for our children with top results like Michaela in London which serves the community of Wembley or Dixon’s Trinity in Bradford – one of the best.
I use that term ‘serve’ because this is about leadership that puts the community and children first – leaders, teachers and support staff have worked tirelessly to transform this school – not for us, but for our community. I know that parents who have taken the time to meet or heard me speak at events such as Year 7 Friendship Evening know why we insist on such standards. It’s not fair that the children in say, Solihull or Sutton Coldfield get to go to great schools and have better life chances while children in Ladywood, Handsworth and Hockley don’t. Britain isn’t a fair place at the moment – it’s a place of inequality where those that already have lots get more and those that don’t have much have to make do and survive. We want to be somewhere that changes that for our community. It was Nelson Mandela who said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This is school where I want those ‘gold’ standards you see in our Code of Conduct because I see our children as the future politicians, journalists, teachers, lawyers, doctors… the leaders in all fields who will go on to shine in society and will play their part in shaping Britain to be fairer and more equitable because they have the same CORE values as us in their heart . It is a noble cause for social justice and equality that drives all we do at this school – every single adult that comes into this building believes in that cause. Ambition is our biggest driver. We need your ‘oneness’ to stand with us. If you share these beliefs and want the best for your child, thank you for supporting us because only with the highest standards for all of us will we achieve this change together.