Head's Message - Ethos and Values
As an ‘Outstanding’ comprehensive academy, our overriding aim is for all students to enjoy an exceptional, inclusive learning experience and for them to achieve everything that they are capable of – their ‘Personal Best’ - from year 7 right through to Post-16 and beyond.
We are very proud of our excellent reputation in the local community, as well as the wider Leeds and Bradford areas and pride ourselves on the quality of education we provide to our students. Our Ofsted inspection of March 2017 confirmed us as an ‘Outstanding’ school in all areas, where students “attain highly and make excellent progress”, where behaviour is “exemplary” and where “teachers go the extra mile to make sure students achieve, feel cared for and thrive within a supportive and productive learning environment”. (You can read the full report here). Our success was also recognised in The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2018 with Ilkley Grammar School (IGS) named as the top ranked comprehensive school in the north of England. As the founding school of Moorlands Learning Trust multi-academy trust, Ilkley Grammar School consistently achieves excellent examination results at both GCSE and A Level with student progress “well above average” and in the top 10% of all schools nationally. However, we are not complacent. Hard work is an expectation of all and we strive for continual improvements year on year by challenging our students and our staff to aim high and excel.
As well as achieving academic success, it is very important to us that students are also equipped with the confidence, skills and personal qualities to make a positive difference to their own lives and the lives of others, thus making a valuable contribution to society. We encourage them to get actively involved, both in terms of engagement with their learning and participation in lessons, as well as through trying new experiences and embracing the extensive wider opportunities which are available. IGS offers a vast range of extra-curricular clubs and activities, enrichment trips and visits, and leadership programmes from year 7 which not only develop skills and interests, but also help to encourage independence, build resilience and form lasting friendships.
Through inspirational teaching, a culture of high expectations and challenge for all, as well as positive encouragement and support, we believe all students are capable of developing their talents and aspirations and fulfilling their unique potential. Underpinning the culture of high expectations and philosophy of ‘Personal Best’ is a strong pastoral system. It is very important to us that students enjoy their time at IGS, and we have a safe, compassionate and supportive school environment in which our young people are treated with respect, care and consideration for their wellbeing. Whilst we are a large community, we really get to know all of our learners well, recognising every student as an individual, with different needs and talents. We encourage personal and social responsibility and work hard together to support and nurture successful, happy and confident learners who achieve in the widest sense of the word, and not just academically.
Dating back to 1607, Ilkley Grammar School has a long and distinguished history. However, whilst we are proud of our tradition, we also have a modern and global outlook, embracing technological advancement as shown through our iPads for learning initiative. We are very much aware that the next generation are growing up in a complex and changing world in which some will pursue careers which are as yet unimagined and will face unprecedented opportunities and challenges. We continually advance our curriculum to be responsive to student need and the skills for life and work in the twenty first century, and invest in the professional training of our staff to keep ourselves at the cutting edge of educational development.
We are a founding member of the Red Kite Teaching School Alliance, a partnership of schools across the Leeds, Harrogate and the North Yorkshire region, who come together to share skills, experience, talent and capacity to help improve the learning and achievement of young people across Yorkshire and the Humber. We are committed to working in partnership and collaboration, both in terms of school to school support and wider system leadership, but also in strengthening the critical relationship between school and home. By positively working together, we can most effectively support, challenge and encourage students to aim high and always do their very best.
As Headteacher of Ilkley Grammar School, I hope that all students will leave IGS not only with outstanding results of which they and their families can be proud, but also with values and personal qualities which will allow them to make a positive difference through the lives they lead in line with our school vision. These include the ability to form positive, respectful relationships, to be emotionally resilient and learn from failure and constructive criticism as well as success, to display sound judgment, to be independent and open-minded, and act with compassion, empathy, integrity and courage. If students are to be fully prepared to live and thrive, work and lead in tomorrow’s world then their academic success is of equal importance to their personal development and the shaping of their character so they can be the very best versions of themselves and achieve and demonstrate their Personal Best.
Carly Purnell | Headteacher