Excited about plans for Burnley High School

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At the parents’ forum for Burnley High School on November 13th, students from Atherton Community School got up on stage and discussed what life is like attending the Free School.

I am honoured to have been asked to recreate this at Burnley High School, a project on which I am extremely excited to be working. Aside from teaching, one of my biggest passions is working with the local community, supporting local businesses and encouraging growth and positive outcomes for the area in which my schools are based.

This ethos has been with me throughout my 30-year teaching career.

Burnley High School will have a culture that encourages students to have a strong sense of community both in and outside of their classes. This includes helping one another, raising money for local causes and volunteering in the community.

In order to graduate, every pupil must reach their academic targets, have at least 95% attendance and raise at least £15 for charity. In addition, they must also carry out at least nine hours of community service and take on a leadership role.

There will also be a focus on pastoral care for both children and their parents and carers, as I believe schools should closely work with families to support households as a whole during their children’s education.

Atherton Community School has a caring environment, and when the Department for Education recently visited, students said going to school was like being with their brothers and sisters. The smaller class sizes really make it feel like a family, and because the teachers know each pupil so well, they can easily notice if they need extra support to ensure excellent progress. This is true whether a child is gifted and talented or has special education needs – as we believe that every child is gifted and talented and it is our job to help them find out what their talents are.

The combination of project-based learning, smaller class sizes, mentoring and the setting of high academic standards raises standards in both teaching and learning. Like all Chapel Street schools, the teachers at Burnley High School will be fully-qualified, Ofsted inspected and will follow the national curriculum.

Elizabeth Haddock

Executive principal of the new Burnley High School