We have received tremendous interest in the University School, with many questions being raised. We welcome this discussion, as we proceed with our plans in as open a manner as possible. You will find some of the most frequently asked questions answered below, as fully as we currently can, but if your question does not appear please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We aim to respond to all emails within 7 days but due to high levels of interest, this is not always possible.
Please note that we will be running a public consultation programme on plans for the School, including admissions policy, from 9 June to 2 August 2013. This will include drop-in events and an online survey. To learn more please see ‘Your Views’ page.
When will the University of Birmingham School and Sixth Form open?
The University of Birmingham School will take in pupils to years 7 and 12 in September 2015, growing to full capacity of 1150 over 5 years.
Where will the school be located?
The University of Birmingham School and Sixth Form will be opening in a new building in 2015. The purpose-built school will be on the University’s Selly Oak site, close to the main Edgbaston campus and a wide range of University facilities. Developed in partnership between the Department for Education and the University, the building will help to deliver the School’s vision of creating a learning community that will maximise the personal and academic achievement of all of its pupils.
Why is there a need for this school?
More - and a wider choice of - secondary school places are needed in Birmingham for the future and the School is particularly targeting areas of under-supply of places. It will be free to attend and the admissions policy aims to provide opportunities for pupils from a number of different areas across Birmingham to enrol.
Teaching staff will be fully qualified and of the highest quality. They will be supported by trainee teachers in order to increase the ratio of staff to pupils.
As well as offering an excellent academic curriculum, the School will support the personal development of pupils by providing the necessary opportunities for them to develop as well rounded individuals with strong character.
What is a University Training School?
The School will be one of the country’s first University Training Schools. It will be a centre for initial teacher training, ongoing teacher education and research into improving educational practice. The curriculum will be informed by the latest research on education, character development and school improvement, plus the School itself will be a site for cutting-edge educational research. The School will be an active member of the community of schools in Birmingham and the region, sharing with and learning from these organisations.
What are the aims of the school?
Its key aim is to transform lives by creating a learning community equipped to maximise the personal and academic achievement of all its pupils. It is setting out to bring together pupils from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, with differing abilities, to create an environment that reflects the diversity of Birmingham – providing opportunities for everyone to excel.
Is a detailed curriculum for the school available?
No, the curriculum has not yet been finalised because the Principal has yet to be appointed and that individual will work with the University and other stakeholders to shape and influence the exact curriculum. It is intended that the Principal be appointed by Easter 2014.
An outline of the intended programme has been produced, setting out a broad curriculum, including Sciences, Technology, English, Maths, Humanities (including History and Geography), Creative and Performing Arts, Sport and Foreign Languages. The majority of pupils will take three science subjects and a foreign language at GCSE.
At Sixth Form, the emphasis will be on academic achievement at a high level, targeted towards university entry. The Sixth Form will offer a broad but focused range of A-levels, emphasising the core disciplines preferred by selective universities. Subjects may include Maths, Further Maths, English, Languages, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, History, Geography, Computer Science, Art and Design, Psychology, Law and Drama/Theatre Studies.
Academic excellence will be complemented by personal development and will support pupils to develop the characteristics they need to succeed in all walks of adult life. These include a sense of identity and purpose, responsibility, honesty, self-reliance and self-discipline.
Will there be extra-curricular opportunities?
Yes, extracurricular opportunities (e.g. sports, creative and performing arts, community activities) will be integral to the pupil experience, complementing the curriculum. The School will have an extended school day (to 4.30pm) to allow students to engage in extracurricular activities and to participate in supervised study time.
What is the admissions policy?
At this stage, the Admissions Policy in is draft form, pending consultation and final approval. The full draft policy will be available on the University School website for consultation from 9 June to 2 August.
School places will be allocated across four or nodes in the city based on distance between the applicant’s home address to the main entrance of the node (see below).
Year 7 admissions
Admission into Year 7 will be comprehensive and academically non-selective. The School will admit up to 150 year 7 pupils, starting in September 2015. Birmingham City Council will coordinate the admissions process according to their Schools’ admissions timetable and provide the Application Form.
Sixth Form admissions
Sixth Form will be selective based on GCSE results to ensure that pupils are capable of studying in an academically-focused environment. For 2015/16, the University of Birmingham Sixth Form can admit up to 140 pupils into year1 of the Sixth Form (year 12). For later years, the Sixth Form has an agreed admissions number for entry into year 12 of 200 pupils, minus those eligible to transfer from Year 11.
What does 'node' mean?
The node is the central point of the catchment area – defined by a specific postcode (the selected postcodes are as detailed below). School places will be allocated according to the distance between the applicant’s home address and the main entrance of the node.
Other than for the area immediately surrounding the School site itself, train stations have been chosen as the nodal points, as they are easily identifiable and stable.
Where are the nodes and how many pupils will come from each of these?
The selected points and proportion of places allocated to each node are set out below:
The University School site itself (B29 6QW) 50.0%
Hall Green Rail Station (B28 8AA) 16.7%
Small Heath Station (B10 0DP) 16.7%
Jewellery Quarter Station (B18 6LE) 16.7%
The nodes have been carefully selected to help ensure that pupil intake is representative of the city and that the opportunity to attend is open to a large number of pupils across Birmingham, whilst recognising that the School should also benefit the community in which it is located. The nodes also target those areas where there is a need for secondary school places over the next 10 years.
Who will run the University of Birmingham School and Sixth Form?
The School will be set up and run by the University of Birmingham School and Sixth Form Trust which is a charitable company limited by guarantee. The Directors of the Trust are responsible for day to day management and administration, and over time will become the Governors of the School.
The arrangements for the University of Birmingham School, as a University Training School, will be slightly different from the Mainstream Free School model. To ensure that there will always be a close and strong relationship between the University and the School, it is proposed that the University will maintain the ability to appoint the majority of the School’s Board of Governors.
What transport arrangements will there be for my child?
The School is aware of the need for pupils to have easy access to safe and affordable travel. A number of options are currently being considered and will be discussed with prospective parents at our consultation events. Once these views have been assimilated, we will advise all parents of the intended arrangements.
Flexible travel arrangements will be in place for those pupils who are involved in extracurricular activities as described above.
What is the proposed construction programme for the school?
Before any construction can begin, detailed planning and consultation will be undertaken (please see next section for public consultation details).
The intention is that construction will take place through 2014, finishing in Spring 2015. More detailed construction plans will be available in due course.
When will you begin recruiting staff to the school?
We will recruit a Principal first, and then that person will be involved with recruiting for other positions. The aim is to have a Principal appointed by Easter 2014. We will seek to recruit nationally to secure the very best candidates to an exciting and dynamic working environment. Except for the Principal, most positions will begin from the opening of the school in September 2015, and the number of teaching and administrative staff will climb annually until the school reaches its full complement of students, probably in 2019/20.
How can I have my say?
Public consultation on the plans for the School, including the draft admissions policy, proposed curriculum and the building and site, will be launched at the University’s Community Day on the 9 June. The proposed admissions policy for the School will be available for consultation on the website from 9 June to 2 August 2013. Drop-in sessions for the parents and guardians of prospective pupils and other interested parties will take place in June and July. These sessions will be an opportunity to learn about different aspects of the planned school, including admissions and curriculum and to express views on the plans. There will also be drop-in sessions looking at plans for the School’s building and site.
Details of the drop-in sessions and the draft admissions policy will be announced on the website. Those who have already registered their interest in the School and Sixth Form will also be advised direct. Those wishing to register interest can do so on the Your Views page of the website or by emailing email@example.com
If you have any queries at present, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org