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Ethos and empathy the key to excellence – Marie George

This summer, Stockland Green students achieved our best set of examination results ever. In a word, they were stunning. Our Progress 8 measure (which calculates the progress students make from when they enter a school to when they leave) was way above national average.

And yet these outcomes were no surprise to us.

This is because, at Stockland Green, we’re not an exam factory. We’ve always realised the importance of making our students feel nurtured, supported and loved. Yes, we think we’ve got a curriculum which meets the needs of our youngsters. And of course we’re aware of the fact we have an exceptionally talented and committed staff. But there’s more to education than that.

We feel empathy with our students because we know that taking GCSEs nowadays can be really stressful for young people. So we have an exceptionally broad support programme to reassure and ease our students through this difficult time in their lives. Our teachers give up an hour after school each night to help support students who are struggling; we run additional sessions, from art therapy to resilience to mindfulness, in order to equip students with techniques to combat stress; a plethora of external providers look after students who need specialist support; our inclusion team offers a range of counselling and mentoring sessions; and students are equipped with the latest techniques on how to revise and build mental capacity.

We also invest a lot of time on our ethos – what we call the Stockland Green Standard. Of course I’m proud to be the Headteacher of such a high performing school. But I’m also proud to be the Headteacher of a school where students are always smiling, where they hold doors open for their friends and teachers, and where they take the effort to be friendly and polite. Our students are expected to demonstrate respect at all times.

This is the ethos we’ve worked so hard to create over the last few years. And it’s such an important part of our success.

At a time when students of parents of Year 6 students are making choices about secondary schools, we are one of the rare schools who allow parents to visit whenever they want and see our school outside of open evenings and mornings. We do this because at Stockland Green we’re aware that when ethos and empathy are key considerations, children feel happy, safe and valued.

And the results are evident for everybody to see.

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