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Headteacher’s Guide: How to find the best secondary school

PUBLISHED: 14:15 07 September 2020

Each child is different. It is about finding the best school for them, not just which is the best scoring school. Picture: City Academy Norwich

Each child is different. It is about finding the best school for them, not just which is the best scoring school. Picture: City Academy Norwich

Archant

Headteacher at City Academy Norwich, Paul Collin, explains what to look for when considering a secondary school and why attending ‘as many open days as possible’ is a must.

Paul Collin, headteacher at City Academy Norwich. Picture: City Academy NorwichPaul Collin, headteacher at City Academy Norwich. Picture: City Academy Norwich

Q: What things should I look for when researching secondary school options?

A: It is important to remember that each child is different – it’s about finding the best school for your child, not just which is the best scoring or most prestigious school.

Attend as many open days, and welcome evenings, as possible.

Our open day on October 1 will run from 3.30pm until 8pm. It’s a great opportunity for families of year 5 and 6 students to see the school in action, and get a glimpse of what life is like at City Academy Norwich.

' Our UCAN programme gives students the chance to learn valuable life skills, express themselves creatively and grow as individuals.' Picture: City Academy Norwich' Our UCAN programme gives students the chance to learn valuable life skills, express themselves creatively and grow as individuals.' Picture: City Academy Norwich

It’s a good idea to review a school’s most recent OFSTED report, look into past GCSE results and academic achievements, and speak to families in your local area.

Q: Should I bring my child along to open days?

A: Absolutely – it gives them the unique chance to speak to other pupils. Encourage them to have fun, get involved in activities and ask lots of questions. It’s important that they feel comfortable, and that you get a sense of what they think of each school too.

Students collecting their honours certificates at the last UCAN graduation ceremony, held at the UEA. Picture: City Academy NorwichStudents collecting their honours certificates at the last UCAN graduation ceremony, held at the UEA. Picture: City Academy Norwich

Q: What are the best questions to ask at an open day?

A: There’s no such thing as a bad question – speak to as many teachers, parents and carers as possible to gather all the information you need.

At our open day there will be live events, subject demonstrations, live science experiments and a chance for you to speak to our teachers and students to explore the curriculum we offer.

We also run Headteacher’s talks on the day at 4.30pm and 6.30pm. This is your chance to learn more about the school’s mission, vision and values.

Q: What events will be running at the open day?

A: We will have a range of exotic animals, meerkats, snakes and more - for pupils to meet up close. We will be hosting a treasure hunt where you can learn more about what we do at the school, have some fun and possibly win a prize.

Q: Is it important to explore what extra-curricular activities a school offers?

A: We believe that every child should have the same chance to succeed. Our ‘UCAN’ programme – supported by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and local businesses - gives students the chance to learn valuable life skills, express themselves creatively and grow as individuals.

Pupils can learn to ski, horse ride, join a debating club or a creative writing class. They can also take part in our allotment project ‘Canalot,’ helping to care for the environment and its animals.

At the end of the year, pupils will receive an honours certificate for all their hard work. The ceremony is held at the UEA campus – parents can watch students stand up on stage in a cap and gown to collect their certificate.

Q: How has the school changed in the last two years and how can I find out more?

A: Over the past two years, we have been dedicated to improving our pupil, parent and carers’ engagement.

Our results are improving every year, allowing students to access a wide range of college and University courses. Our PE department is busily working towards the ‘Association of Physical Education Gold Quality Mark’, and all our students now work toward the ‘Arts Marks’.

Student wellbeing is very important to us as an Academy, and we have developed our UCAN programme which gives students the ability to try a wide range of activities and develops a holistic education of the whole child.

But don’t just take my word for it. Come visit us at our open day and see the changes for yourself.

Physical distancing measures will be in place at our open day event and we’re following all government guidelines to ensure parents, carers, students and teachers’ safety. Facemasks will be required for all attendees.

City Academy Norwich open day is on October 1, from 3.30pm until 8pm.

Visit cityacademynorwich.org for more information.

Call 01603 452 628 or email us on office@cityacademynorwich.org.

Find us at 299 Bluebell Road, Norwich, NR4 7LP.

You can also find us on Facebook (@CANAcademynorwich); Twitter (@CAN_Academy) and Instagram (cannoracademy).


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