School’s shake-up to keep it in the family

A SECONDARY school is looking at the possibility of radically changing the way children are supported in school, to create more of a family atmosphere in tutor groups. Consultation is taking place between students, parents and staff about altering the y

A SECONDARY school is looking at the possibility of radically changing the way children are supported in school, to create more of a "family atmosphere" in tutor groups.

Consultation is taking place between students, parents and staff about altering the year group system at the Neale-Wade Community College, in March, and creating house groups, which would see form classes made up of a mix of students from different year groups.

Vice-principal Liz Cox said: "We want to be an excellent school and I believe that this new system could help us excel in the area of pastoral care."

The move has come after last year's Ofsted report, in which the school was graded as "satisfactory" for pastoral support.


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Principal Tim Hitch said: "This is the next step of our improvement. It is something the inspectors like but we are not doing it for them - it is for the students."

The school conducted year-long research into the move and staff modelled proposals around Sharnbrook Upper School, in Bedfordshire, with their principal visiting Neale-Wade to talk to staff, and students going in the other direction to see how the system works.

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Proposals would see the formation of six house groups, with 13 form groups in each house. Those form groups would have 24 students in them, made up of no more than four students from every year group.

Mrs Cox said: "We want to promote a family atmosphere within the tutor groups. We want the older students to support younger students and to use their experience to help them settle down and choose options."

Students were told about the plans on Monday morning, with leaflets handed to youngsters and sent to parents. They have also been invited to a consultation meeting at the school on March 13.

Parents of Year 6 children moving to the school will also be approached about the plans which, the school is hoping, will come into force in September.

n Students and parents have also been invited to comment on potential changes to the school uniform. The two-week consultation started on Monday.

Various garments, from fleeces to polo shirts, have been hanging up in the school for a number of weeks.

The school's parliament has gathered students' opinions, and parents can give their verdict by answering questions online at www.neale-wade.co.uk/uniform

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