At Blenheim, we prioritise relationships. We are a community comprised of many stakeholders and it is the strength of relationships that underpins the work we do. As teachers, we get to teach for the remainder of our careers but students get one chance to ensure they achieve the qualifications they need to open doors and to learn the values and characteristics to cooperate, and compete, in an ever-changing and smaller world. Strong, trusting relationships with our students helps inform the quality of teaching and learning they receive.
Our recent school production, ‘The Sound of Music’, was a great example with almost 200 current and ex-students of all ages and backgrounds contributing to a wonderful spectacle at the Leatherhead Theatre. The experience will live long in the memory of those young people, build an ongoing legacy in the performing arts and give students first-hand experience of contributing to something much bigger than themselves.
Clear, frequent and straightforward communication with parents is vital so that students, parents and teachers understand where students are in their learning. Academic tutoring days involve three way conversations with student, parent and teacher ensuring all parties are clear about the ‘way forward’. Parents’ evenings and Headteacher presentations throughout the year ensure that dialogue is alive and well. All students are expected to attend all parents’ evenings.
Curriculum and pastoral practices have been reviewed and improved for this academic year. In the curriculum, students are in receipt of bespoke branded exercise books, communicating clear messages and prioritising well researched practices that will ensure Blenheim students are in the best possible place as they progress through school. At the same time the student experience is complemented by iPads which help ensure an individualised learning experience. A new team of teaching Heads of Year, Pastoral Facilitators and an Attendance Officer co-operate to ensure the best deployment of resources ensuring that students’ academic progress, well-being, safety, health and attendance are prioritised. A comprehensive rewards system recognises commitment, effort and achievement both inside and outside the classroom.
It is never too soon to begin thinking about the future and as an Investor in Careers award holder, we offer a structured careers education programme, individual careers interviews, mentoring, employer led events, school online careers information portal and a range of activities and trips throughout the academic year. One of our sayings when it comes to careers is that, whatever the future holds, ‘you will never regret getting some great GCSE results…’.
Our Sixth Form has been frequently rated as good by Ofsted and in 2019, 40% of grades were A*-B.
A balance of traditional, well researched teaching practices coupled with innovative ICT based opportunities ensures that the learning experience is both secure and personalised. Our curriculum is well balanced and the options process allows students to appropriately specialise as they move through Blenheim.
A comprehensive curriculum review took place in the early part of 2017-18, analysing the merits of moving to a three-year Key Stage 4 curriculum to ensure that students’ curriculum learning is maximised by analysing the components of the school day. This was subsequently put into place in September 2018.
Each student carries a school diary to note down homework and to be used as a medium for communication with home. By carrying a diary, communication between the triangle of home, school and student is maximised with the student at the centre of the process.