The School Values
Thomas Gainsborough School has 1500 students on roll including a vibrant 6th form of 200+. The new premises, built in 2014, provides a spacious and creative platform for a school that prides itself on being a community school with a core vision of ‘Excellence for Each’. The underpinning school values to achieve this are Confidence, Honesty, Positivity, Happiness, Respect and Resilience.
The Thomas Gainsborough Way
The school is led by the Headteacher and her senior leadership team includes Deputy Headteacher’s for Curriculum and Personal Development. They are assisted by a team of Assistant Headteachers that cover a range of responsibilities including Safeguarding, SEND, CPD, Wellbeing Events, Enrichment, Values and Ethos, and Academic Mentoring. In addition to the senior leaders, there are 5 Heads of House supporting approximately 60 tutor groups. The underpinning ethos for this team is that everyone supports everyone else and the Headteacher’s view is that the school vision of ‘Excellence for each, for all’ applies to staff as well as to students. The ‘TGS Way’ works on the principles of the 6 C’s. Communication, Collaboration, Clarity, Consistency, Courage and Confidence.
Students Are Happy
Students opt into a curriculum pathway choice from Year 7, allowing them to make personalised choices of study according to preferred areas of interest from the very start of their journey. Parents were keen to identify that they felt the transition programme was quite significant in ensuring that their students settled quickly and happily into the school’s ethos, vision and values.
All students have open access to student services. A non-teaching student services manager leads this service. The team consists of 7 learning mentors all with a speciality. For example ELSA training, Attendance, Mental Health First Aid and Bereavement. Students can self-refer and are able to drop in at all times. Learning mentors are timetabled to be available on call to ensure there is always somebody available. Staff can also refer if they become concerned or aware of a concern that needs addressing. Additionally, parents also have contact with this service if they need additional support for their child. Looked After Students are tracked by the student support services managers. The student services team draws on further support from outside providers and projects including school Chaplains, The Porch project, and the School Nurse.
The school holds a series of academic collapse days where students attend with a parent or guardian to discuss their current progress and next steps with the key leader for the child. The attendance rate for these has been approx. 93%. Where an adult is unable to attend, leaders are flexible and arrange alternative dates and times that are more suitable, in the most difficult of circumstances students are encouraged to attend on their own. Where students are unable to work at home during these days, provision is made within the school to accommodate learning and supervision. Parents found these opportunities useful and valued the one-to-one discussions.
The whole school community is strongly encouraged to become involved in activities outside of the standardised curriculum. A comprehensive set of programmes for extra-curricular enrichment, and another for co-curricular enrichment is emailed to the students on a periodic basis. Several of the students spoken to were able to talk about which of these additional programmes they had become involved in. Furthermore, the school’s challenge award program for the ‘TGS Way’ provides multiple other opportunities for the students to try new things or be recognised for commitments and achievements outside of the school curricular.
Awards for Students
The school was very welcoming and a student had recently been nominated for a Headteacher award for writing a welcome letter to a Ukraine refugee. The letter was written in the Ukrainian language that the students had researched using the support of Google translate. Rewards are a central part of achieving the Thomas Gainsborough School ethos and vision. Students are very much aware of what is required to achieve the awards and wear their ribbons with pride.
A Fantastic Environment
A grand piano is available in the main student foyer and students are encouraged to play at free will. Reading rooms are available on each floor of the building to encourage children to sit in social groups and enjoy reading. There are multiple areas around the site for students to sit in comfortable chairs to read or study in groups or to sit and chat. The environment is extremely well presented and maintained. Displays and furniture are meticulously maintained to provide a safe, trusted and respected environment for staff and students alike. During the visit, a 3D art display was placed in the foyer for students to view during social times and a kindness tree was ready to be implemented for the following weeks initiative.
Infectious And Inspiring
The inclusive ethos that surrounds the Thomas Gainsborough community is infectious and inspiring. Students’ behaviour is highly impressive and the mutual respect and trust that exists between staff and students create an atmosphere focused on learning and personal development for all stakeholders. Staff and students are happy, they are empowered and they are confident. Thomas Gainsborough is a school that has a truly inspiring, community atmosphere that allows everyone to aim high, flourish and experience new opportunities.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
If your school is interested in obtaining the IQM Inclusive School Award or you wish to talk to a member of the IQM team please telephone:
028 7127 7857 (9.00 am to 5.00 pm)
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