|To create a school which strives for excellence in all that it does. A school that delivers outstanding outcomes in a safe and secure environment, a love of learning, nurtures fine young people and that empowers all students to achieve heights they did not imagine possible.
Severn Vale has been transformed in recent years and can now rightly claim to be one of the most improved schools in Gloucestershire. The vision statement above is not empty rhetoric. It is what unites the efforts of everyone who works at Severn Vale, both teaching and support staff.
The transformation at Severn Vale has been startling and is reflected in every aspect of the school’s provision. Go back to the 1990s and only 11% of students were gaining five good GCSEs. The school’s reputation within the local community was not strong. In 2023 70% of our students achieved the key benchmark of a 9 - 4 grade in English and Maths with more than 46% achieving a grade 5 or above in English and Maths. Almost 1/5 of all GCSEs were 9 - 7 grades.
More than 46% of the class of 2023 achieved a grade 5 or above in English and Maths
The school’s reputation is one we are now proud of. That is reflected in parental choice also. We are now have 9 forms entry in Year 7. In September 2023, over 280 Year 7 students joined the school with a waiting list of over 40.
But still we are not satisfied. Indeed, one reason why the school has been transformed is because we have a culture that promotes the very highest expectations. “Good enough” is not good enough. That drive is relentless because we feel that our students are entitled to the very best. Ofsted recognised this when they inspected us in 2020 commenting that"Leaders have accurately identified the school’s strengths and weaknesses. Leaders are ambitious for pupils and expect them to achieve well.
There are, of course, a number of factors behind Severn Vale’s transformation. Central to these are a set of Core Beliefs which inform all that we do:
We believe that all children, however challenging their circumstances and whatever their background, can achieve.
Above all else a place of learning
We believe great teaching and great learning are at the heart of all that the school does. What goes on in the classroom is integral to this and any barriers that get in the way of learning will be removed. Teachers will be freed up to teach and they will be expected to be learning and developing all the time.
We go the extra mile to help students achieve
We believe that every student needs to be given the encouragement, guidance and support to achieve. We are committed to doing everything we can to achieve great outcomes, but also expect 100% effort from all students.
A values based education
We believe that being the best you can be means not only striving for academic achievement, but also developing the personal qualities that characterise fine young people. Our job is to teach our students knowledge and skills and to instil in them our school values: courtesy, compassion, honesty, integrity and perseverance. These quintessentially British values will help students make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.
Home and school are united in the same hope for every student – that they will emerge into adult life as good citizens, well-prepared and willing to lead fulfilling and useful lives. We can best ensure this by working together. As such we recognise and welcome parents/carers as partners in the educational process.
Discipline at Severn Vale is firm but fair and clearly defined. We follow a system of Behaviour for Learning with an emphasis on praise and clear consequences. It works, although of course we continue to work to improve the system yet further. We promote the Golden Rule at every opportunity, helping students understand that they should treat other people the way they would like to be treated themselves. Just as a characteristic of successful parenting is a high degree of positivity, we too work hard to catch students being good. There are high levels of praise and of optimism. We were pleased when an Ofsted inspector commented up on the amount of humour he had seen during his visit. We think this matters and that students learn best in an environment which provides high levels of challenge but also high levels of support.
Hungry for more.
Put all this together, and you get a flavour of what has driven the school’s improvement. However, we know there is more to be done, indeed we are hungry for further improvements. We are a school that knows itself well. We know we need to continue our work on what we call the big 3: literacy, assessment and knowledge acquisition. We are keen to learn from others and derive great benefit from involvement with PiXL, the Partners in Excellence group.
If you want to find out more, if your beliefs and values chime with ours, and you want to become a part of all that we stand for, then do contact the school. We will be keen to help.