Every Millais girl is supported throughout their time at the school to ensure that they succeed in their Pursuit of Excellence.
Within curriculum teams and subject areas, ambitious targets are set for every student. Achievement data is closely tracked to ensure that students meet or exceed targets. They are regularly assessed to verify progress and commitment to learning. Regular reviews are sent home to parents to keep them informed and teachers analyse class data and intervene to support those who are not making at least expected progress.
In our 2014 OFSTED report there was confirmation that “Teachers are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, plan their lessons well and set clear targets so that students know what they need to do to improve their work”.
At Millais we pride ourselves on supporting students and providing them with “regular, helpful and detailed comments on their work so that they have a clear awareness of what it is they need to do to improve. Students are given time to reflect on these targets and set themselves goals for their achievement.” OFSTED 2014.
In addition to in class support, each curriculum area runs after school sessions called SPAs (Supporting Pupil Achievement). Attendance at these is voluntary. The sessions are designed for pupils to meet with a member of staff (usually their teacher) to work on specific aspects of their work that they are having difficulty with. The sessions normally run from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. but the pupils do not need to attend for the full hour. They are free to leave once they have worked on what they have chosen to work on.
Alongside and working with curriculum teams, Millais has a strong Pastoral Support Team of teachers and support staff. The Pastoral Support team are available when needed to answer parents’ questions via phone or email and oversee support and progress for the girls. They also engage with external agencies when appropriate. The first point of contact in most cases however is the form tutor.
At Millais, each year group has 12 tutor groups with around 25 students from the same year group in them. Wherever possible tutors stay with their groups throughout their five years at Millais and have the privilege of guiding them in moving from small girls on entry into young women leaving for college. Initially tutor groups have lessons together, tutor time together and have their Personal Development classes together. Setting is phased in over time.
On induction in Year 7, each tutor group is also supported by four Year 11 prefects who “show them the ropes”. This includes how to use their Extended Learning Records to record homework, ensuring that they get to lessons without getting lost, answering any questions that may arise and helping to settle them into life at Millais generally. The pride that prefects take in providing this support is immense and makes a huge difference to girls starting out at Millais. Becoming a prefect is also very competitive and despite over 140 applications from Year 11 students only around 50 are selected.