After 15 years at Stockland Green, new Head of School Rebecca Goode understands its place in the community – and now she wants to encourage locals to pay a visit.
Mrs Goode, who started her new role at the start of term, is keen to get parents through the school gates and engage with what goes on at the Slade Road site, which is part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP).
She said: “A close relationship with our parents is a really important priority for us, and this year we’re looking for opportunities to get them back inside the building, to see what goes on here and understand how their children spend their days.
“A visit to the school can provide a window into their child’s world, because otherwise they only find out from what their child tells them. We want parents to come in and see for themselves.
“The school has always been at the heart of the community and it’s important that we engage with families, and build up a healthy, happy dialogue. This is their school.”
Mrs Goode joined Stockland Green in 2007 as a newly qualified teacher, having given up a successful career as a diamond valuer in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter to follow her passion for education and art.
She said: “When I joined Stockland Green the school was still in its old building, so a great deal has changed. It was also a year before it federated with Arthur Terry School, becoming the first school to join what would become the ATLP.
“It has been a real privilege to be part of the journey the school has been on, and I’m very proud to now be in a position where I can help it to continue to flourish and develop.”
One thing that has developed over that time is Stockland Green’s family culture and ‘open door’ ethos, something that Rebecca is determined to build on.
She said: “We are small secondary school, with just 750 students, which we see as an advantage that we can capitalise on.
“Being a small school means that everybody knows everybody. For the staff, even if you don’t teach a child you tend to get to know them through other activities, and the staff all know each other too, with a real team spirit.
“It’s important that a school operates under one vision – it’s something we’re really passionate about – and I think that can be easier to achieve in a smaller school.”
Key to the success of Stockland Green is the school’s innovative approach to supporting students.
Mrs Goode said: “We are very open to innovation and change. We are happy to embrace and try new things in the interests of the children, to ensure they thrive and get the support they need.
“In particular, we excel at looking at our children holistically. Stockland Green is not an exam results factory. Our school is about supporting our children to be safe and to make positive life choices, to be active members of their community and contribute positively when they are adults.
“Students’ wellbeing is also a very big priority for us. We know there are some challenges in the community we serve, and we always acknowledge and respond to them appropriately, with the child’s best interests at heart.”
Among the positive outreach ideas employed by Stockland Green is ‘Feelgood Friday’, where all teachers are encouraged to call at least one parent to tell them about how well their child has done that week.
Mrs Goode explained: “It’s a simple idea that everyone enjoys, because it spreads good news about the children from inside the school, out into the community and into the homes of our families. It can be anything from celebrating good behaviour to academic achievement to showing a caring attitude to classmates.”
Student leadership is also an important part of life at Stockland Green.
“It is important that the children have a say and are heard,” Mrs Goode said. “There are lots of things that they can influence in terms of the school and a strong student voice provides a pulse of what life at the school is like, and what the teenage experience is like for them.
“Our school motto is ‘aspire, believe, achieve’ and I think a strong student voice helps the children fully engage with that mentality, by ensuring that they are part of the school’s decision making.”
“I think that it’s so important that we look at each child as an individual, to discover their passions, and find out what levers there may be to inspire them.”
Stockland Green was the first school to link up with Arthur Terry, joining what would become the ATLP. Now staff benefit from being part of a partnership of 19 schools.
Mr Goode said: “There has been a huge amount of support from ATLP. I’ve done quite a few different roles at the school over the years, and there has always been an opportunity to network with people in similar roles in the ATLP, to share their ideas and expertise.
“I also really value the way that each school can retain its individuality, while still being part of the ATLP family – that’s a key thing for me, as it means that each school can react to and acknowledge the differences in the communities we serve.”
Mrs Marie George, Stockland Green’s former headteacher, has now become Secondary Strategic Lead at the ATLP, working in tandem with the partnership’s schools.
Richard Gill CBE, CEO of the ATLP, said: “Few people know Stockland Green quite like Rebecca, who has been a part of the school’s journey ever since it first teamed up with Arthur Terry.
“As Head of School I know she will work closely alongside Mrs George and continue to drive the caring, community-minded ethos of Stockland Green, that aims to inspire the students and staff to achieve their full potential.”
New Stockland Green Head of School Rebecca Goode: “I think that it’s so important that we look at each child as an individual, to discover their passions, and find out what levers there may be to inspire them.”