What a great way to start a new blog with the news that Bluecoat Beechdale has won the Nottingham Post’s award of ‘School of the Year’. After three years of sponsorship this wonderful school has shrugged off its past where underachievement was the norm and student behaviour was uncontrolled to take up its place as School of the Year following an Ofsted that moved the school from inadequate to good in February 2017. I am delighted that Carl Elder, Principal and his committed staff team have received this public recognition for their incredible hard work and determination to build a real future for the children they serve.
Challenging a lack of ambition surely must be at the heart of what we do as school teachers and leaders. Never accepting the excuse that’ these children can’t do that’ and constantly telling them that they are worthwhile and have the potential to do great things is what gets me out of bed on a cold dark January morning. The students that Beechdale serves are some of the most deprived in the country. Almost three quarters of them receive free school meals. According to the IDACI statistics
- 22.19% of BBA students reside in an areas (LSOA) ranked in the most deprived 1% of areas nationally
- 55.30% of BBA students reside in an areas (LSOA) ranked in the most deprived 5% of areas nationally
- 72.92% of BBA students reside in an areas (LSOA) ranked in the most deprived 10% of areas nationally
Given this data it is not surprising that the young people at Beechdale have multiple challenges to overcome and often struggle to focus on their schools work. The staff team supports every single child and go above and beyond trying to help them to overcome the barriers to learning that exist outside the school gates. Alan Butters, (who not surprisingly won Support Staff of the Year) gives them opportunities to serve and to take part in a whole range of extra-curricular activities from Dodgeball Challenges, to trips to Paris to community service. Seeing student outcomes improve year on year, the improvement in attitudes to learning alongside the ambition to do well for themselves has to be one of the most satisfying things than any leader could see in a school.
Well done Beechdale, well done the students, staff, governors and parents who have pulled together to transform the educational experiences of this impressive and talented group of young learners.
Written: December 2017