Welcome from Sam Gorse, Head Teacher
Hello everyone and welcome to Turton.
I’m so pleased that you’re able to come and meet us today and have a look around. I know how important a decision it is – choosing a secondary school for your child – and I hope we can make that decision a little easier for you this morning.
My name is Sam Gorse and I’m very proud to be Turton’s Head Teacher.
You are probably aware that Turton is a heavily over-subscribed school, and that demand for places outweighs availability.
I know that some of you here today will be sure already that Turton is the right school for your child and feel secure that you will be allocated a place – to you I say – ‘good choice’ and we look forward to welcoming you next September.
Some of you will again be sure that Turton is the right school for your child but may be concerned about whether you will secure a place because you may be on the boundaries of the catchment area – again ‘good choice’ and do use the appeals process – its works for many and we are extending the number of places in September 2017.
And then some of you will still be unsure about whether Turton is the right choice for you – and to you I say – ‘it is’ – it’s the best choice, and let me tell you why…
Children flourish at Turton. That is to say, they don’t just do well in exams, they develop intellectually, they grow as people and their unique talents and personalities blossom.
Most students are with us for 7 years, they will go on to our very successful Sixth Form – so they are with us for the most crucial stages of their education – and we take this very seriously!
Children flourish at Turton because we care about individuals.
There are many different types of schools around these days – academies, free schools, private schools… and now the government are mooting plans for more grammar schools! But Turton remains a community school. It is a local and democratic concern that serves the families of this area. As such, we are committed to this community and each individual child that comes through our door.
We care about people – not systems and organisational structures. We care about education – not creating an exam factory.
Even though the government aims to standardise everything in education – we will never assume that everyone is the same and will always work with individual needs and personalise learning throughout.
In terms of our ethos, Turton is a happy school where children thrive. Our overall aim is to improve the life chances of each individual in our school, to create an environment where children are happy, safe and learning.
You may have read our Ofsted report,….. we know that we are outstanding in providing care and the development of the whole child.
Turton is a great school with a culture that brings out the best in everyone.
Our ethos is described through the Turton Touchstones, which reflect the values and principles that underpin our work.
But we are never complacent, we are constantly seeking to improve…
…and this is a very exciting time to join Turton. We are now in our second year of Transformational Teaching. We have an exceptional team of teachers delivering the highest quality lessons that will give any top grammar school a run for its money!
Theresa May’s plan to increase grammar school places is really quite unnecessary, because community schools like ours can provide just as good an education but to all children.
Teaching at Turton is centred around the Trivium – an ancient teaching method with the 3 elements of grammar, dialectic, rhetoric.
Trivium is making a bit of a comeback in top schools across the country combining the best elements of progressive and traditional teaching.
A lot of education these days is based on modern progressive methods, and Turton is a progressive school. However we believe that a true education combines the best of these progressive methods with a strong foundation in tradition – including the best of what have previously been thought or said. An education that is broad and deep.
We believe that a strong focus on embedding the grammar – the knowledge base of each subject is essential to good learning.
And of course all this exists within a culture of high expectations for everyone and the understanding that success in any subject area requires HARD WORK.
So, these are the factors that combine to lead to our continual success.
And at the heart of this is our relationships: teacher-student, teacher-teacher…..
….. and most significantly our relationships with you as parents.
We pride ourselves on the over-whelming support from our current parent body and work closely with them to support children during their time with us.
At Turton we believe that learning matters, that the individual matters and that the young people in our care not only mater but also deserve the very best.
I think we have a pretty fabulous community school here and I hope – after your visit this morning – you will agree.
But don’t just take my word for it:
Read what Ofsted say about us
Listen to other parents
Talk to our students today
Thank you for listening and please join us for coffee and biscuits later.
Cathy Bach, Deputy Head Teacher
It has been lovely to see so many prospective parents and students here at Turton over the last few days, and to see all the different primary schools you are representing. The seven years the young people have spent at primary school will have flown by for the parents amongst you. You will have seen your children pick up a pen, develop the coordination to write, play with a ball, to develop friendships. Over their time they will have developed a strong foundation in reading, writing and numeracy, as well as investigating different parts of our history, our communities, our technologies and our languages. Each primary will have found a slightly different route through the learning process, all resulting in a strong starting point for year 7.
So how do we move the students onwards at Turton?
I like using analogies in my teaching and one which I think fits well with our curricular approach is thinking of our curriculum as nurturing a growing tree. At Turton we have just welcomed our new year 7 students. This is always a really exciting time as students get to know us, each other and us them. Personalities and experiences begin to shine through. As they settle into year 7, Turton staff build strong foundations in all of our students learning. Here knowledge and skills are learnt; developing the grammar of the subject. Students become familiar with practice, memorisation and recall. They iron out any misconceptions they may have from earlier learning. Students begin the mastery of each subject area. Of course maths and English are still key subjects, with the addition of science, the humanities, French and Spanish for all, technology, art, computing, performing arts. Students use the skills gained at primary, and those we embed as we go through key stage 3 to find their passion for the subjects. All subjects provide a wide background knowledge and we are building strong roots, as a great foundation for future learning. Each year builds on the previous, with yearly assessment at the end to identify strengths and areas for improvement, and to jointly celebrate success. Back to the tree analogy; this allows teaching staff to add the fertiliser to the soil, and when needed, provide additional support to help the growth of learning to continue at a steady rate. We benefit hugely from a well-qualified and amazing teaching staff who nurturing our forest of students. Gradually students begin to make links between the learning in their subject areas, perhaps linking volume and tone in music with wavelength in Science, events in History with influences on artists. The world is becoming a more inviting place and students grow towards the light it provides. Just like the well cared for tree over key stage three each and every student blossoms, benefitting from a nice balance of challenge and support which is tailored to the needs of each individual, and the strong links we have with our parents through our open door policy, curriculum evenings, parents evenings and end of year reports.
As students move into year 10 the sapling becomes the tree, widening the base, with increasing subject grammar. This allows the branches to grow and leaves to form, as students make links that draw on the base knowledge from key stage 3. This very strong foundation allows our students to develop a better understanding, to pull ideas together, to go deeper and develop real passion for their learning. Students for the first time have a choice of option subjects as they become even more responsible for their future. Everyone studies English, maths, science, history or geography, a language, faith and ethics plus two other options from a wide range. Gradually the students contribute even more to their community, gaining a range of experiences and practising their responses and learning styles, and giving back as they support younger students; just like the tree breathing oxygen back into the world. The students are practising the dialectic aspects of learning. This is supported by input from yourselves as parents and family, by their peers and by the staff. Turton students benefit from a wide range of extracurricular activities, of mentoring, from the chance to try new things such as being a prefect, representing the school or taking part in the upcoming mock US election. Each student benefits from a unique mix of inputs helping them to become well-adjusted individuals who contribute to our community for years to come. Our students clearly demonstrate the impact of the Turton curriculum.
Turton has a strong academic focus and we offer a range of qualifications to meet the needs of our students. At the end of year 11 the exams are an opportunity for our students to shine; and they do, with amazing results year on year, which you can see in the prospectus.
And one of the unique things about Turton is that the journey does not end after year 11. Our students move onto the sixth form where we work with them as they become young adults. We have an inclusive sixth form curriculum with students from other schools to join Turton students in the sixth form, and all students develop superb rhetoric in the subjects they study. Our students eventually leave us at the end of year 13, after 7 happy years, and around 75% move on to university and the rest onto careers in many different areas. Back to my analogy; the tree has fully grown and is ready to withstand the bright summers and the storms that life throws at them. Indeed students regularly come back to visit us and our recent reunion emphasised the fond memories past students have of their time at Turton. Turton is a great community school, students work hard, are happy and grow and blossom with us.
I am proud to be a member of the unique Turton community and I look forward to meeting you as you look around and to the seven year journey we have ahead of us, finally ending with the celebrations when the young people in front of me receive their GCSEs in 2022 and then seeing them off to university or jobs in 2024.
Ursula Hodgson, Deputy Head Teacher
Here at Turton we have a unique set of values that are the basis of our ethos. Stemming from a strong belief in the importance of relationships and mutual respect, our ethos is embodied in the Touchstones. The Touchstones provide us with a constant we can all go back to, reminding us what is important both in school and in our lives outside Turton.
One of the most important of the touchstones is Community and Belonging especially for our new Year 7 pupils. Promoting a feeling of belonging helps to reduce pupils’ anxiety and creates a connection which allows them to learn more effectively more quickly. We encourage pupils to get involved in school life as much as possible from the start. As Danny and Amy have said, older pupils act as mentors in year 7 registration time to help them feel more confident and be a listening ear if they have any worries. They remember what it is like to start a new school so are best placed to give support.
Creativity and Expression reminds us to value our pupils’ need to communicate and express themselves and their thoughts. Children are naturally creative but as they grow older other pressures squash that creativity. We believe that students need to express themselves in creative subjects as well as have the opportunity to experiment with different ways of learning promoting deeper knowledge and resilience.
We want pupils to show empathy for each other and value diversity in school as well as the wider society. We see ourselves in partnership with parents teaching positive values and encouraging pupils to see the good in each other. In increasingly challenging times, we believe having an understanding of different communities will allow us to be more accepting, compassionate and tolerant.
The touchstone Knowledge and Wisdom links directly to the trivium. We want pupils to have a love of learning that lasts a lifetime. The goal for us is to encourage enquiring minds where pupils are genuinely excited and intrigued by the lessons on offer as well as developing their own thirst for knowledge of the world around them. We want pupils to acquire a broader knowledge base and to become more independent in their learning.
Relationships are the key to everything we do here. It underpins the positive learning atmospheres in the classrooms, the interactions between staff and pupils around school and the life-long friendships pupils establish throughout their time here. Staff at Turton work hard to model positive relationships understanding that strong social and emotional skills promote confidence and resilience: essential attributes of successful learners.
Finally, self-discipline is a key focus this year. We want pupils to take more responsibility for their learning, to persevere and work hard. We want pupils to take pride in their uniform and behave impeccably in school, in and out of lessons and in the local community. Staff work very hard here at Turton and we expect pupils do the same. The goal for us is to maintain our positive and caring ethos whilst creating an atmosphere with high expectations for learning.
Now you know a little about our ethos I want you to think of how you can contribute to life here at Turton. So regardless of what your talents or skills are, what can you bring to Turton?
The one thing that everyone can bring is hard work.
If you watched the Olympics in Rio you may have seen two badminton players Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge who achieved a bronze medal. They completely embody the ethos that no matter how clever or talented or gifted you are, you can still achieve with hard work.
So this is the message we want to leave you with. If you work hard, develop positive learning routines, have self-discipline and take your learning seriously you can reap great rewards.