Homewood celebrates ranking rise and praise for overall approach to learning
Homewood School’s Sixth Form has moved up the rankings for progress scores for both academic and applied courses in the latest official Department for Education 16-19 performance tables, which include independent schools. Homewood achieved an overall progress score of +0.24 places based on 2019 A level results, taking it to 8th place in Kent and the 4th placed state school.
The news comes just days after the school and the Tenterden Schools Trust were singled out as shining examples of how real and sustained school improvement has to be closely linked to community engagement, in a landmark new book.
In ‘Flipping Schools’ (published by John Catt), highly regarded education leaders and writers John West-Burnham and Malcolm Groves call for a re-examination and re-orientation of a school’s relationship with its communities and explore the renewed importance of a school becoming a builder of social capital.
Homewood is one of just four schools used as case studies in the book. The student-centred approach to learning, as developed at Homewood’s innovative I-College, is a particular area of focus and is highlighted in a central chapter on person-centred learning.
The development of the Tenterden Schools Trust is also flagged as an example of what the authors describe as “connected leadership”, building schools based on community, emerging from strong relationships and links with the wider community.
The book’s authors describe CEO Sally Lees’ leadership of the Trust as it developed as “boundary-spanning” which requires acute emotional intelligence, combined with a thick skin and genuine humility in an environment where there is no place for rigid hierarchies or “hero” leaders.
The book has received the endorsement from Brian Lightman, Education Consultant and a previous General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.
In his review Mr Lightman said: “The case for a fundamental re-think of the prevailing models of accountability and leadership and the social factors that are holding it back is compelling. I cannot recommend it strongly enough to every senior leadership team and policymaker.”
Commenting on Homewood’s latest successes, Trust CEO Mrs Lees said: “We are delighted with our place in the latest sixth form rankings and our dedicated staff as well as our students are to be warmly congratulated. We have always strongly believed that our approach was the right one to make educational progress throughout the school. Both these pieces of news are confirmation that we chose correctly and need to stick to that path to make sustained improvement for the benefit of both our students and the community we serve.”