Welcome back to our new academic year at University of Birmingham School. I hope you all had an enjoyable summer break and are well rested ready for a rich and varied year ahead.
We welcome our returning pupils and students and warmly greet our new ‘Class of 2026’, Year 7 pupils and families joining us; and our new Year 12 students embarking on their two years of further education with us. Starting a new school can be a daunting prospect, particularly for youngsters starting at secondary school. We aim to make the transition as smooth and supported as possible for all of our new school community members.
It is also an exciting year for our very first cohort of Year 11 pupils who will be continuing and completing their GCSE journey. Together, we shall prepare for this important milestone for both pupils and the school. In recent assemblies I emphasised that excellence will, rightly, look and feel different for each of our youngsters – as we look to maximise individual talents and personalise preparation for aspirational progression at the end of this year. That may be sixth form entry, or progression to an apprenticeship or employment, or college.
I am delighted to join students and colleagues in celebrating the achievements of our 2019 sixth form leavers. Our alumni Year 13 students worked extremely hard overall to secure a strong set of A level results with a 98.2% pass rate and 50.5% of passes awarded at grades A*-B. This is particularly impressive at a time when nationally it is recognised that the demand of examinations and assessments has been raised.
In 2018/19 our sixth form secured an increase in the standards of results across a range of subjects – and we anticipate notably improved ‘value added progress’ when this is announced in due course. We are very heartened to acknowledge the outcomes of our students’ scholarly attributes, focus and dedication to their education. High expectations from our staff has helped all students progress to their next stage in life – including 85% gaining admission to various universities of choice across the country. Other pathways include apprenticeships, employment, or creative gap years. A small sample of case studies highlighting the range of successes can be found on our Sixth Form Twitter account.
We shall continue to explore rich and purposeful partnerships, as an outward-facing, collaborative and aspirational institution; not least with our key partner – the University. All of our Year 12 students have already benefited from their initial induction day on campus. Also, whilst early into the term, school leaders here have hosted a delegation of education policy makers from Frankfurt – overseas colleagues interested in our aims, ethos and model to provide a rounded, high quality education for all. We hope to engage reciprocally with our German friends over the year to the benefit of some of our staff and pupils.
Through our core focus on character education, a commitment to developing motivated young-scholars, and embedding the high expectations we have of all members of our school community, we look forward to charting a year ahead of exemplary standards and accomplishments.
I wish everyone an ambitious, happy, and successful 2019/20.
Mr Colin Townsend