What makes Priory a great school?
A message from the Headteacher
As the Headteacher of Penwortham Priory Academy, I am proud and privileged to be able to tell you what makes our school great. What makes Priory, Priory.
Of course, whilst there are a multitude of worthy considerations when choosing a school for your child; GCSE results, percentages of pupils achieving Grade 5, Ofsted reports , etc. we at Priory realise that it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that these are only part of the picture, and there are other key elements that are equally as important to a school, if not more so. The health, happiness and holistic education of a child, the ability to work with others, experience the Arts and build cultural capital – these all need recognition too.
As a parent or guardian of a Priory pupil you’ll be bothered about how your son or daughter does; if, regardless of their starting points, they’ve been challenged to achieve. You’ll want them to leave with the necessary skills and qualifications to go on to do what they want to do should that be university, college, apprenticeship, employment. Just as importantly, you’ll be bothered that throughout their five years they felt safe and happy here. We cater for and care about all of this at Priory because it’s a great school where the best things happen for our pupils.
Our aim for pupils therefore is simple. To have:
‘The highest expectations of all, from all, so that all pupils leave Priory, equipped to go on to further education, employment or training and to contribute positively to society’.
What makes Priory GREAT?
First and foremost, pupils behave well and they feel safe and happy. This means we can focus on providing each with a varied and rich curriculum that enables them to build a broad knowledge bank and gain good individual results that act as a stepping-stone to their future.
Academic Progress and Currency
We’ve harnessed the best research on curriculum design and implementation so that every pupil can access an ambitious diet that clearly articulates and sequences acquisition of knowledge, skills and attributes they need to be educated citizens of modern Britain and beyond. Our curriculum, quite rightly, supports the core academic subjects of English, Maths, Science, Computing, Humanities and Languages but also incorporates and celebrates the opportunities that Art, Music, Drama, PE, Technologies, Engineering, Childcare bring with them and these subjects enrich our curriculum. Our curriculum is varied, supplemented by trips, visits, clubs and practices and it meets the interests and aspirations of those in our care because we have shaped it around them.
We live by traditional values and expectations of pupils:
- Behave excellently
- Expect to be academically challenged
- Present your work neatly, respond to feedback and check for mistakes before handing it in
- Do your homework
- Be polite, courteous, responsible and respectful
- Dress smartly and wear our uniform with pride
We ensure that pupils receive the best teaching and teaching support leading to excellent learning in lessons delivered by the best teachers and teaching assistants. Lessons are planned to be engaging and fun but challenging so that our pupils are made to think hard. We expect parents and guardians to support good learning by engaging with children about their learning once they’re home, checking homework, ensuring standards are maintained, discussing any infraction of behaviour rules, etc. If any individual’s behaviour severely tests our values and expectations and impacts negatively on the learning of others they will be excluded accordingly.
We are not a selective school, our young people have a range of academic abilities on entry, yet Priory continues to get great results, great currency for the individual pupils that learn with us. Great results for girls, and great results for boys. We believe that high academic ambition for all is a key driver and guarantor of equity, giving everyone what they need to be successful, taking pupils beyond their own experience. After all, GCSE’s chiefly should be there to help a young person have the right currency to make the right choices for their own personal post-16 progressions. Our focus at Priory is on the pursuit of excellence across a wide range of accolades.
If you visit the school, take the time to look at our wall of inspiration in the corridor outside reception and along our dining room corridor...sports people, pop stars, the youngest qualified pilot in the country, Jordan North, Radio 1 DJ, Jamie Edwards, the youngest fusioneer in the world…all past pupils of this school...all individuals with their own unique skills and talents who have been supported here at Priory and done exceptionally well, allowing them to go on from Priory, into our local community and beyond, and do what they want to do. And that’s another thing that makes Priory great, we make decisions based on the individual. Priory is a school where individuals matter and so we nurture our pupils as individuals.
Of course, there will always be a great deal of interest in pupils who have achieved the very top grades of 7 - 9s on GCSE results day. These young people have done exceptionally well. And yes, here at Priory, we are always very pleased for those pupils of ours that achieve such grades…barristers, solicitors, doctors, scientists, PHD graduates…all past pupils of our school. If your daughter or son is academic, they will achieve here at Priory. They will fulfil their potential. Priory is an academic school.
We have a strong, effective and responsive pastoral team comprising heads of year, form tutors, pastoral managers, student services, SENCO and learning support. They work collaboratively to ensure your child’s personal needs are met and you and your child have consistent ports of call whatever you may need.
Pastoral Care at Priory:
- Monitors pupil progress and supports children in achieving by addressing any arising needs that may prove a barrier to learning
- Provides guidance and advice for pupils and parents and is a link with outside agencies where necessary.
- Provides a link between home and school.
Character, LORIC and Skills for Life
At Priory we run, ‘The Edge’ programme with all our pupils, a nationally recognised accreditation, that allows us to credit our pupils not only with their academic success, but for those personal skills and qualities that are essential to evidence for employability and life beyond Priory - Leadership, Communication, Resilience, Organisation and Initiative. Our pupils leave having worked towards an Edge award at Apprentice, Graduate or Masters levels in these key areas and will have something to show for it.
We believe it’s our job, to excite, engage, challenge and support our pupils so that once they leave Priory, we have shaped young people that are resilient, independent and successful learners who can move on from Priory and go on to do what they want to do. We focus much attention on preparing our pupils for the next stage of their lives and giving them impartial information, advice and guidance to shape their career paths. We prepare them for the world of work and adult responsibility. We instil in them the strength of character to withstand life’s adversities and treat other humans with courtesy and dignity.
So, it’s this combined focus, on Currency and on Character, that I believe gives Priory our unique Culture and why I believe Priory continues to be a great school for the pupils that learn with us and for the staff that work with us.
My vision has always been for sustainable change. None of us at Priory therefore are here for short term goals; we’re here to influence for the better the lives of our young people and to have a sustained, positive impact on the local community we serve.