FORWARD-THINKING teachers at Durrington High School are hoping the school’s ‘growth mindset’ will get the very best out of their pupils.
Rather than allow students to get comfortable in the classroom, the school is keen for pupils to challenge themselves and feed their desire to learn.
Sue Marooney, the school’s head teacher, said: “We firmly believe education shapes and changes young people’s lives. It’s about creating a culture of success and keeping aspirations high – insuring our children are supported, challenged and inspired.
“What makes this culture really rewarding is hearing our students say, ‘I’m pleased with this work, but I still think I can improve it’. It’s that on-going development, thinking ‘I can do even better, I can go that extra mile’.
“We feel the growth mindset really underpins our values and vision. No-one is ever the finished article and even if you don’t succeed the first time, it’s learning from that which then builds confidence and determination. We also work with parents and carers to support their children, so that they realise their ambitions and potential.”
Because of its size (1,440 pupils), the school is split into six ‘companies’ made up of two or three tutor groups from each year.
Student support is a key focus at the school. Company directors are always on hand should pupils wish to share any issues they might have.
Steph Holt, director of Roddick company, said: “Kids will come to us at break times and lunch times which is nice, so they have always got somewhere to go. I’m like a big mum to 300 children. It’s so important.”
Shaun Allison, deputy head teacher, said: “It’s like a school within a school, they really know and support every student in that company, and no student gets left behind.”
The school also employs a full-time social worker to support students that may have more complex needs.
Chris Woodcock, assistant head teacher and leader of student support, said: “We don’t know another state school that does that. It’s just nice to give them that rounded care.
“We have seen a lot of really positive change and, as a result of that care, kids want to be here more. There’s a real sense of community and it’s a nice place to work.”
Mr Allison added: “Each student is an individual and we try and provide a wrap-around package for every student.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Monday morning or Friday afternoon, it’s very calm, positive and focussed – that’s the atmosphere you feel in school. It’s testament to the kids and staff. It’s a lovely place to be.
“We believe really, really strongly that the only thing that will limit our students is our expectations of them.”