Similar to Horizon, the school’s new build will offer Initial Teacher Trainees excellent facilities for 21st Century teaching & learning. Kirk Balk is a fully comprehensive college with average ability. There is a wide range of ability from very weak to Gifted. Particular weaknesses are shown in proof-reading and literacy. Key Stage 2 results indicate an improving intake on average, rising to national average in Key Stage 3 intakes, particularly in current Year 9 which coincides with Teacher Assessment in Y6 being recorded by most feeder primaries. Free school meals currently stand at 16.8%. The level of special educational needs within the college is 30%, well above national average and above local average. Currently there are 25 students with a statement which have been mainly issued for SpLD, PD or BESD reasons.
A team has been built that focuses on Learning and Teaching Innovation, led by an Assistant Head teacher. Trainees would be invited to join this term as observers or as part of an action research project. Amongst the team are six ASTs and seven coaches. Two of the Senior Leadership also attained AST Accreditation. The team is supporting improvement and this has resulted in a significant increase in the percentage of Good or Outstanding lessons.
There are close relationships with feeder primaries that have included teaching master-classes in core subjects, languages and music. The local School Sports Coordinator is a member of staff who has worked alongside 7 local primaries. There is a joint Gifted and Talented project running currently as part of our Memorandum of Understanding. Through this partnership there has been the sharing of good practice and deeper understanding of prior learning. For example, the English department has worked cross-phase in the moderation of writing skills.