Our Vision and Ethos

Our Vision

The University of Birmingham School is an inclusive (comprehensive) school for children who are of compulsory school age (ages 11-16) recruited from four admission ‘nodes’, and an academically-selective Sixth Form open to students from across Birmingham and its surrounding communities. We opened in September 2015 with intakes into Years 7 (150 pupils) and 12 (200 students), and will grow to our full capacity of 1,150 pupils by 2020.

The vision of the University of Birmingham School is to create a learning community that will transform lives by raising the aspirations of a very diverse student population and therefore maximise students' personal and academic achievement so that they can fulfil their potential and access the widest possible range of opportunities.

The University of Birmingham School’s unapologetic focus on personal and academic achievement, and ultimately success in achieving entry to higher education, is derived from its link to the University of Birmingham.

Aspiration and progression to higher education is a key and proven route to social mobility and this School will seek to help all of its students to raise their aspirations and achievement. It will do this by offering students a curriculum based on traditional academic subjects and by supporting their development as well-rounded people of strong character, all benefiting from an excellent location, a diverse and comprehensive student body, and access to world-class facilities through the University.

In addition, its status as the first secondary University Training School and the excellence of its teachers and professional services staff will allow the University of Birmingham School to approach the task of raising aspirations and achievement in an exciting and ground-breaking way.

The Sixth Form is the crucial link between the 11-16 school and higher education; it plays a number of key roles:

  • Its presence involves the University Departments at the outset, facilitating collaboration between the University and the School, attracting the best staff and supporting the development of school-led and work-based approach to initial and on-going teacher education and training.
  • It also provides the aspiration for achievement and progression for younger pupils from the outset, as advancement to post-16 academically challenging education will be seen as the norm.

The University of Birmingham School is a charitable company limited by guarantee which functions as a subsidiary of the University of Birmingham and is managed by a separate Academy Trust.

Our ethos

The University of Birmingham School has a comprehensive and co-educational intake in Year 7, with a Sixth Form open to those meeting the published academic selection criteria.

The School is characterised by:

  • An overarching framework of Character Education which will build students’ confidence, resilience and personal qualities so that they are able to become self-organised and motivated learners able to make the most of their curriculum opportunities, and;
  • A traditional academic subject-based curriculum which will use a carefully formulated blend of content and process to help students attain the highest possible outcomes.

This approach is shaped by our belief that maximising a student’s potential is not just about giving them knowledge, but about shaping the whole person, including their personal capabilities and character through enrichment activities, a thoughtful and engaged system of pastoral care, and a community including older students, teachers, trainee teachers, and mentors and coaches drawn from the University’s own students and staff.

This focus on Character Education and the development of personal qualities or virtues will ensure the School fulfils the requirements of its funding agreement to promote 'British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs'.

The School will have a diverse and geographically dispersed student body, reaching across both deprived and more affluent regions of Birmingham. Considerable attention has been given to how to recruit students who will benefit from this environment, how to support students through transitions (especially the transition from primary school), how to bring these students together into a single learning community and how to ensure each student reaches their maximum potential and goes on to succeed in their chosen pathway through life.

The School will also be a University Training School, which means it will have a higher than normal teacher to student ratio when one includes the presence of trainee teachers. Following the model of teaching hospitals, the presence of trainee teachers working closely alongside experienced, highly qualified and outstanding practitioners will increase further the resources to support students. The presence of school based trainees who will bring enthusiasm, innovation, and a stimulus for continual improvement is a key aspect of our status as a secondary University Training School.

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