The College System
Coundon Court is a forward looking and innovative school. Whilst thrilled with the rapid progress the school has made recently we have reviewed our strengths and noted areas for further development and are looking for constant improvement.
Having evaluated the strategies we put in place to bring about the excellent improvements in our external examination results, we have found that one of the major contributing factors was the 1-1 mentoring that we offered a selected group of Year 11 students.
At Coundon Court all our students are important and we examined the ways of ensuring that this mentoring could be extended to the majority of year 11 students. Their feedback has been very positive and we are again anticipating a further improvement on their examination performance this summer.
We consider that throughout the school year all Coundon Court students will benefit from the opportunity that 1-1 mentoring can achieve; not only be around the critical examination times. This challenged our thinking on how we organise our students’ time outside of their timetabled lessons.
The major asset any school can harness is the skills, experience and energy of all staff and students. We have therefore carefully considered what adjustments we can make to the system of student welfare and support to maximise the potential of all our students. As part of this process we have looked at the systems used in other schools both inside the authority and across the Country. We have brought in a National Expert in Academic Mentoring to explore the opportunities such a system could create and the benefits it could have in developing academic and leadership skills in all students. Coundon’s Student Leadership team and Coundon’s Student Coaching team were both fully involved in the discussions.
Fundamental to the system is the feedback we have received from parents about the termly parents’ evenings with form tutors. These have been met with mixed feelings and we would like to try to combine both the present style meeting with one critical member of staff – the tutor/ mentor as well as have an opportunity for some parents to meet with some subject teachers in addition to the electronic communication that presently exists.
As a result of the various discussions and feedback we created 84 Mentor Groups commencing in September 2009 and all staff including the Senior leadership team will mentor a mixed age group of students each day. These groups will be 18 to 20 in size and therefore give each student greater daily contact with a mentor than presently as the member of a tutor group of 30 students.
A typical mentor group would have 3 or 4 each Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10, Year 11 and Post-16 students, all of whom will also have a range of skills to support and mentor each other too. These groups were created using friendship groupings, interests and talents, as well as a spread of abilities. The groups will be split into six colleges which are used as a basis for inter-college activities and for parental contact. This aids communication between students of different ages and ease communication from parents with specific staff in the school.
Mentors meet with their mentees at the beginning of each school day. The timing of every day being:-
|Mentor Period||08.30 - 08.50|
|Lesson 1||08.50 - 09.50|
|Lesson 2||09.50 - 10.50|
|Break||10.50 - 11.10|
|Period 3||11.10 - 12.10|
|Lunch||12-10 - 12.50|
|Period 4||13.10 - 13.50|
|Period 5||13.50 - 14.50|
We look forward to seeing even greater progress made by our students in the future.
Debbie Morrison OBE