I would like to welcome you to Pensby High School and I hope that this new virtual tour gives you a flavour of what our school is like.
As a school we are growing quite rapidly as we continue to improve; however, we are and will continue to remain a relatively small school. We pride ourselves on the strength of our relationships and I believe that the size of a school is a key determinate in allowing for staff and students to know each other. At the heart of our progress and improvement in recent years has been these relationships and the belief that all staff have in your children and their future. I am proud and passionate about this school; it is the best school that I have ever worked at and it is the best school not as a result of our academic success, but because of the people within its community: students, staff and parents. I have always believed that the academic success of students cannot be an end in and off itself but is an outcome of our values and the ethos and culture of a school. I am very fortunate to be a part of a community that shares values such as tolerance, mutal respect and a belief in each other.
I know though that as parents you want to know how this translates into outcomes for your children. In terms of academic standards students make progress that is above average for all schools (top third nationally) and significantly above similar schools (top 10%). Our students’ attainment is higher than their peers nationally after students joined the school with attainment below their peers nationally. We are one of a handful of schools on Wirral with all four aspects of progress above national averages: English, mathematics, Ebacc and the open basket were all above national in 2019 and 2018, with no national data set collected in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
Alongside academic support we have a traditional pastoral structure, with Form Tutors being the most immediate link to a student, but Heads of Year support all aspects of a student’s life and in turn they are supported by an Assistant Headteacher. More targeted support is provided by Progress Mentors, the assistant SENCO and SENCO, with links to our own counsellor and mentor managed by the SENCO, as are external agencies such as speech and language, SENATT, Health Service in Schools and a myriad of other organisations. The school also works closely with the local authority to support attendance to school. We see attendance as a key driver in a student’s success, not just in terms of academic outcomes, but in building friendships and relationships that can go on to support them throughout their lives.
We have always prided ourselves on extra-curricular activities and, whilst the present crisis has somewhat stifled these activities, we will continue to work to bring these back as soon as we can. Activities range from sports to chess, drama to debate and we regularly have trips, and exchanges to Iceland, Spain, Year 7 residentials, theatres, films and just days out to reward another good year. Trips and visits are encouraged to support the curriculum and ensure that the learning experience is as broad as it can be for our students and whilst we look to support key subjects such as English, mathematics and science, we have kept a broad curriculum offer throughout the school.
This means that nearly every student sits at least one GCSE in drama, art, music, 3D Design or food, a creative subject. There has to be something to express yourself through, there has to be more than an academic core.
I believe in our community. I believe that every one of us is stronger for being part of the whole. So whilst we always work to support all members of our community and we recognise the value of everyone as individuals, we do not let any one person dominate the agenda – we are here for all, not those who shout the loudest. My job is to create the conditions where every child can be successful, be themselves, thrive and enjoy their time at school and I take great pride in my job; I will not let your child’s education be damaged by others. I expect my staff to treat your children as they would treat mine or their own. Part of my job is to ensure that staff are clear and understand this.
We do have some very clear systems. I insist on high standards of uniform and behaviour and I am very thankful that our parents support this. We expect our students to have better attendance than average and we work tirelessly to make sure that students benefit from the education they are entitled to. We have a simple maxim for how we expect people to behave, treat people as you want to be treated, it really is that simple.