Long school days and small class sizes introduced at failing Birmingham school

The Birmingham Mail is reporting that longer school days and small class sizes have been introduced by a failing Birmingham school at the heart of the Trojan Horse scandal in a bid to turn it around.

…In April 2014, Ofsted inspectors descended on Golden Hillock School, in Sparkhill, and branded it “inadequate” – criticising it for doing “too little to keep students safe from the risks associated with extremist views”…

Almost two years on from Ofsted’s snap inspection, Golden Hillock is beyond recognition…

Outside stands a new sign, proudly announcing it as the newly named Ark Boulton Academy after it was taken over by the respected Ark academy chain in September.

Pupils stride quietly, yet purposefully, around the school corridors in their crisp new uniforms – including blazers they hand-picked themselves.

The uniform, says new headteacher Herminder Channa, is a powerful symbol of pupils’ pride – a virtue children have struggled to show since their school was flung into the glare of the media spotlight after Trojan Horse emerged…

Now, the school is strongly focussed on changing its academic fortunes, breaking the mould by introducing some radical new initiatives – including small class sizes made up by as few as 16 pupils.

It also has longer days, with school starting at 8.20am and finishing at 3.35pm – with popular optional after school clubs running until 5pm…

“We have ten form classes to each year group and each child will keep the same form tutor throughout their whole time at the school,” said Mrs Channa.

“It’s not just about academic achievement, it means form tutors can develop strong relationships with pupils and will be able to spot if there are any issues.”..

More at Long school days and small class sizes introduced at failing Birmingham school


Sounds like things are on the up at the school – any insights into the smaller class sizes? How are they managing to sustain that or is it just in a few less popular subjects?

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  1. MikesuziNZ

    MaryMyatt Not sure about this, longer school days ok but small classes not all schools have luxury to do this.

  2. Nor_edu

    SchoolsImprove are the classes of 16 form groups? Anyone know how many classes it is? Might be streamed low sets in which case still big

  3. live4literacy

    SchoolsImprove because long school days just teaches children to have grit and be ready to work long shift hours.

  4. GleesonJudo

    SchoolsImprove seems a solid if not obvious idea! Thought that’s what ed. was meant to do? Saves parents on after school child minding 2!

  5. Mktadvice4schls

    SchoolsImprove love way that ‘crisp new uniforms’ are assumed to bring success – how do schools in Europe and the USA achieve anything!

  6. andylutwyche

    Mktadvice4schls SchoolsImprove Would it be mischievous of me to suggest someone important in education part owns a blazer manufacturer?

  7. jeografy

    These are kids, not factory workers on overtime.
    The much lauded Finland doesn’t have this regime…

  8. Aveda

    I love the certainty in the statement that the same tutor will remain with child throughout their school life.  We were told same at start of son’s schooling.  He is now in Year 13, and on his seventh form tutor….  You simply cannot make such assurances in today’s education climate.  Young teachers leave for new jobs (in or out of education), older teachers retire, etc, plus this school will undoubtedly have to be “Ofsted-ready” continually, which affects staff turnover too.  Stability in a school’s staffing, even a good one, seems a distant memory.

  9. nmgilbride

    Mktadvice4schls Nor_edu SchoolsImprove yeah…new crisp uniforms…with sch logo on everything, that you can only buy from the school.

  10. pompeyanne

    SchoolsImprove and how are they magically going to retain the teachers for the whole time their tutor are at the school in current climate?

  11. BradyKelly63

    SchoolsImprove webbles it had small class sizes and sports clubs till after 5 in the 90’s and up to 2004. Bad governance ruined the school

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