Does your child receive the support they need to really thrive at school? Sue Baillie, Head of Queen Margaret’s School for Girls in Escrick, York, gives parents valuable advice on how a school can support pupils’ individual needs and get them ready for life, whatever their calling may be.
When choosing a school perhaps the question to ask the Head is “How will you bring the best out of my child?” listen carefully to the answer, it should include structures for emotional and academic support, people to turn to without fear of stigma or ridicule and a sense that the teachers really know and care about their pupils.
One of the aspects of Queen Margaret’s School for Girls of which I am most proud is the personal attention every girl gets, not just when, but before she needs it. Our staff know the value of listening to girls, of offering support, encouraging the less confident and advising the ambitious, we know how girls tick, that’s the magic of an all girls’ school, we are girl specialists.
No two QM girls are the same; every girl is different and we celebrate that. All girls approach their learning in their own way and the key to their academic success is for their teachers to support their learning through an individual, holistic and tailored approach. We place support for learning at the heart of our school. Every girl has the opportunity to receive support they need, including the targeted support of our in-house specialists trained in assessing and delivering programmes for girls with a variety of learning needs. There are no thresholds to meet here, if a girl needs support she gets it and does so without fear of stigma or feeling somehow second rate. We don’t believe parents should be made to pay extra for it either. Girls here talk proudly of the help they receive for dyslexia, poor working memory and other learning needs and in the same breath explain how this support helped them to achieve their dreams of Oxbridge, medicine and dental courses. We believe that girls can succeed, but more importantly our girls are given the confidence to believe that too.
Most schools describe their learning support departments as the SEND (Special Educational Needs Department), but at Queen Margaret’s our PASS (Progress Achievement and Student Support) Department is deliberately named to reflect the long-held belief that every girl is special and support is a natural part of learning. Schools shouldn’t be places which categorise young people into the “cans and the can’ts” and QM is a place which inspires girls to forge their own future and be their brilliant selves.
To celebrate its 120th anniversary, Queen Margaret’s is offering Head’s Awards with fee assistance. Find out more at Open Day on Saturday 12 June.