We are currently (2023) ranked as the number 1 school in MK and Buckinghamshire according to Snobe so no pressure there then!
I think that at TPA we understand, more than most, that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that upward trajectory is the most important indicator when looking for improvement, which is why we are always striving to be better.
The past is the past and unless you are completely inert, there really is no such thing as the present so the only thing that any of us really has any control over is the future, and the future workforce of this country blissfully mills around our corridors on a daily basis unaware that there are over a hundred onsite adults, plotting and planning about how to shape and maximise the potential of all their futures.
It would be arrogant of any of us to think that we know it all, which is why we regularly consult with others, including our parent and carer body, to make sure that we are all travelling in the same direction.
In a recent survey we asked parents and carers, teachers and support staff to prioritise what they believed were the most important areas of the curriculum after maths and English. All three control groups identified Computing and Programming as a priority and as a consequence, programming is now being rolled out further down the school – prior to this it was only being taught in Year 6.
The main priority for all of us in school is to make sure that your children are safe and happy. Once those two boxes are ticked, everything else comes so much easier and children thrive. This is part of the reason why we offer such an enriched curriculum.
I expect, when I walk around our fully air-conditioned site, to be greeted with a smile and a good morning, unless of course it’s the afternoon. I expect doors to be held open for me, just as I hold doors open for others and I expect everyone in the building to be polite. These small courtesies (which those of us in the trade refer to as part of the hidden curriculum) * are instilled into the children from day one at TPA. Our children know that we treat everyone equally and our staff know that they are all empowered and responsible for upholding the school’s ethos.
In return for abiding by the rules and being respectful, our children get spoilt rotten.
For starters they all get a fabulous hot school dinner every day from our 5-star kitchen. They also get a mid-morning snack, which they need to get them through TPA’s extended day. Since returning from the pandemic we have added 45 minutes of contact time to the school day.
All children are taught by a combination of class teachers and specialist teachers including specialists in ICT, PE, Music, Dance and Spanish and if that isn’t excelente enough, all our children also learn keyboards and guitar as part of the standard curriculum. After all, the next Ed Sheeran or Dua Lipa could be one of those blissfully milling about the corridors and it is our job to identify them.
These added extras are only possible due to our relentless obsession at being ‘better than the best’. We have a state-of-the-art IT suite complemented by three IT bays and Chromebooks in the classrooms. We have a 700-seater hall with a theatre type stage at one end which doubles up as a wedding venue at the weekends. Part of our curriculum is to ensure that all children perform at least once per year on that stage.
Since 2014 we have represented Great Britain annually in a globally televised science-based Opera which is when the hall looks its best. However, having a three-badminton court hall also means that our children never miss out on PE due to inclement weather.
We have a dedicated, mirrored dance studio, with ballet bars and dance is taught to the younger children in Spanish.
We have a policy of a minimum of three educational visits a year for each class in addition to the residentials offered in Key Stage 2.
And to top it all, we also have another site which we take the children to. We call this Premierville but this is all about awe and wonder, so I’m going to let the children tell you about it.
Phew, with such an enriched curriculum going on I almost forgot to mention our academic results!
During the last three years of published results TPA has been in the top 4% of all schools nationally which has triggered congratulatory letters from MPs and ministers alike but, as anyone who knows us will testify, we don’t do it for them. There are some other, smaller people, who are infinitely more important to us!