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Succeeding against the odds The Rise, Slip, and Rise again of Phoenix High School

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Phoenix High School is a neighbourhood school whose pupils come ... that this week Education Secretary John Patten will name it as one of the worst in Britain. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Succeeding against the odds The Rise, Slip, and Rise again of Phoenix High School


1
2nd National Alcohol Conference Safe, Social and
Sensible
Succeeding against the oddsThe Rise, Slip, and
Rise again of Phoenix High School
William Atkinson, MA FRSA Headteacher 27
November 2007
2
  • Phoenix High School is a neighbourhood school
    whose pupils come mainly from the housing estates
    of White City, East Acton and North Kensington in
    West London, an area which has considerable
    social and economic disadvantage.
  • The students represent around 50 different
    nationalities and speak 50 languages between
    them. Over 60 per cent (well above average) are
    entitled to a free school meal. Nearly 40 per
    cent have little English.

3
  • The students attainment at eleven is well below
    average with 60 per cent having special education
    needs.
  • There are refugees from war zones and departures
    abroad and to other parts of the British Isles.
    Many are in short-stay accommodation to be
    re-housed others are in care some have been
    excluded from other schools and a number,
    awaiting outcomes of custody judgements, live in
    extended families.

4
  • 1994 Hammersmith School is inspected by Ofsted
    and is placed in Special Measures
  • Between 1993 and March 1995 two substantive
    Headteachers and three acting headteacher teams
    attempt to stabilise and rescue the school

5

March 20,1994
  • This is a story of a school in despair, of a
    comprehensive so out of control that this week
    Education Secretary John Patten will name it as
    one of the worst in Britain.
  • It is so bad, so obviously failing its pupils,
    that it may become the first in this country to
    be taken from council control and handed to a
    team of experts to run under directions from
    Westminster.
  • Playground banter is not of the playful
    adolescent nature. Inspectors noted it is
    offensive, aggressive. Even in the classroom,
    physical violence is nothing unusual.
  • The report, which will arrive at the school this
    week, will show
  • HIGH levels of unruly behaviour and failure to
    discipline pupils
  • ABYSMAL educational standards and exam results
  • EXTRAORDINARILY poor attendance and high levels
    of truancy
  • HIGH rates of pupil expulsion
  • LACK of spiritual direction and no daily act of
    worship
  • APPALLING financial management and lack of
    leadership, direction and staff morale.

6
October 11, 1994
  • Its the school lunch break and for some pupils,
    the chance to make money from drugs.
  • I went to one comprehensive and found how easy it
    is to do business with young pushers. It took
    just five minutes to obtain cannabis, with a
    promise of LSD and Ecstasy to follow. The school
    I checked out amid mounting concern about the
    drugs problem in Britains classrooms was
    Hammersmith School in West London.
  • At lunchtime, dealers from the school gather in a
    park opposite to sell cannabis and other
    substances to classmates.
  • When I arrived, three boys were plying their
    dangerous trade from a bench while four others in
    uniform waited to buy.

7
Times Educational Supplement,1997
  • Day one set the tone I was left in the gym with
    nothing but a tennis ball and instructed to magic
    a PE lesson out of thin air. As I faltered, a
    hand emerged from the cyclone of pupils and
    whipped the ball away. Thus the initiative was
    snatched from me and thus I became acquainted
    with life at the school dubbed by the Daily Mail
    the worst in Britain.
  • In 1993 bedlam passed for normality at
    Hammersmith School in west London. Pupils had to
    be physically restrained from leaving classrooms.
    Sixteen youth workers patrolled the corridors
    trying to coax them back. Truancy and staff
    absenteeism were rife. On a day of nine false
    fire alarms classrooms could have been rented out
    as vacant office space.
  • Nobody seemed to know where the school was going.
    The teachers knew where they were going
    crackers. The pupils knew where they were heading
    too out of the gates.

8
  • Staffing
  • Students

9
Phoenix High School NFER 1994/5
10
Phoenix High School NFER 1994/5
11
Phoenix High School NFER 1994/5
12
  • Staffing
  • Students
  • Parental Support
  • Behaviour
  • Standards
  • Environment

13
Lessons Learnt
  • Environment for LEARNING
  • High and Challenging Expectations
    (culture change)
  • Relentless emphasis on Teaching and Learning
    (code of expectation)
  • Student/Parent Handbook
    (rules, regulations and expectations)

14
Significant Interventions
  • Teaching
  • OCTET
  • Phoenix Neighbourhood Regeneration Project

15
Phoenix where are we today?
  • January 2007 Phoenix High School identified as
    the most improved school in the country between
    2003 and 2006
  • January 2007 Phoenix High School is identified as
    having the second highest contextual value-added
    score of any secondary school in the country

16
Key Factors contributing to Student Success
  • High Expectation for all
  • Teamwork
  • Emphasis that the school is a place of learning
  • Good or better teaching
  • Careful monitoring of student progress
  • Clear, achievable targets
  • A transparent system for rewards and sanctions
  • Strong pupil voice
  • Strong parental involvement
  • All aspects characterised by Fairness and Justice

17
  • Upon the education of the people of this
    country,
  • the fate of this country depends.
  • - Benjamin Disraeli

18
  • A poor surgeon hurts 1 person at a time. A poor
    teacher hurts 130.
  • (and a poor school, 800)
  • - Ernest Leroy Boyer

19
  • If we did all the things we were capable of
    doing, we would literally astound ourselves.
  • - Thomas Edison

20
Leeds 2nd National Alcohol Conference Safe,
Social and Sensible
Succeeding against the oddsThe Rise, Slip, and
Rise again of Phoenix High School
William Atkinson, MA FRSA Headteacher 27
November 2007
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