Message from the Principal
29 September 2023
Dear Parents and Carers,
I write to provide a number of updates with our autumn term now well underway. Apologies if you have come across some of these details through a previous communication – it has come to our attention that our IT-firewall has been preventing distribution to a number of recipients – a system error that has now been resolved.
Reassurance about RAAC
I am mindful that you may have some concerns at this time linked to RAAC (a type of lightweight precast concrete) used in some public sector buildings from the mid-1950s to the mid-1990s. Reassuringly, our main School building was constructed just 10 years ago. A smaller part of our site on the Selly Oak campus was constructed around 1995. The University estates team having undertaken some checks on relevant buildings are content that RAAC is very unlikely given all considerations. Please be reassured that as ever, the safety of pupils, students, and staff is of paramount importance.
Sharing some upbeat news with you, we are keen to celebrate the very many successes of our year 11 and year 13 graduates from this summer’s GCSE and A level outcomes. We are proud of our diverse and inclusive School community, and we remain focused always on supporting each young person to an aspirational pathway of choice – be that next steps in education, or employment, or an apprenticeship. For example, 80% of our year 13 graduates (144 of 181 students) have commenced undergraduate courses at different universities, with 28 students from year 13 gaining passes at an overall standard of no less than grades AAB from their A levels.
For our year 11 graduates, 80% of pupils gained at least a grade 4 (standard level) pass in English Language and in mathematics, compared to national outcomes at 65% and 61% respectively for those core subject. A fifth of GCSE pupils gained grades 7+ (equivalent to legacy grades A/A*) in English language and mathematics. Beyond these core subjects, we are particularly impressed this year with outcomes in art, history, religious studies, psychology, sociology, and food and nutrition.
On behalf of all at the School, I congratulate our graduate cohorts, and wish each individual every fulfilment and success moving forward.
Pupil and student attendance
At the start of this fresh School year, I would like to commend the strong attendance to School by almost all pupils and students. We know from national media that across the country school attendance is presenting some concerns and challenges. I accept that from time to time there are likely to be circumstances for each of us that prevent attendance, for example due to illness. I have stressed to all of our pupils and students the importance and expectation that unless absolutely unavoidable they should be in School – in front of subject specialists and benefitting from time with friends and peers. I welcome and appreciate your family support and partnership with this.
Parents and carers will be aware that towards the end of last term, we ran elections for a Parent Governor vacancy – and on behalf of the Chair of Governors, I am pleased to relay that Dr Emmanuelle Labeau has been elected. Emmanuelle has a child in year 8, and joins Mrs Nicola Bradfield as our other Parent Governor. Nicola has children in our year 10 and year 13. We thank Dr Claudia Favero for her service as a Parent Governor over recent years as she now stands down.
Looking ahead to half term in October, I offer clarification that in the planning of our School times and dates for 2023/24 our Governors agreed a slightly extended autumn half term break moving forward, for a number of reasons. These include better support for travel plans where relevant at that time for families and staff. Therefore our last day of half term ahead where pupils and students will be in School is Thursday 26 October, with the break starting on Friday 27 October, with a return to School on Tuesday 07 November.
I would like to take the opportunity to inform you that Rebecca Tigue will be moving on from the University School today. Bec has secured a new post as Principal of a Sixth Form Centre within the city, following eight years of service to our School. Bec was one of the founding leaders at the School (in September 2015), carrying in more recent years the leadership brief for the University Training School (UTS). We all wish Bec success and fulfilment moving to the next chapter of her career.
I look forward to a happy and successful remainder to the term and year ahead.
With best wishes,