• Open Evening
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  • Open Evening
  • Open Evening
  • Open Evening
  • Open Evening
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  • Open Evening

Open Evening

OPEN EVENING SPEECH

MR V ASHDOWN • Executive Headteacher, Valley Park School

“Good evening and welcome. My name is Vic Ashdown and I’m Executive Headteacher here at Valley Park School. I’d also like to introduce Margaret Hutchinson, our Head of School.  

We’re going to share with you tonight some of the reasons we believe Valley Park is - as OFSTED said  - a “truly outstanding school”, but before I do that I’d like to offer some advice.

In my opinion this is the only high school in Maidstone that truly delivers the outstanding all round education to which we all aspire for our children.

However, you will want to form your own opinion before making what is one of the most important decisions of your lives. After all, from next September, you will be handing over the most precious thing in your life to a school for the next seven years. 

So please come to an open morning and see it as it really is. Colleagues will be available in the Taylor Building tonight to help you with booking a tour.

Valley Park became an independent state funded school in April 2011. 

  • A school that is passionate about the promotion of traditional family values. 
  • A school where discipline and mutual respect are the foundations on which our success is built. 
  • A school where uniform is worn immaculately and with pride. 
  • A school where relationships between students and teachers are extremely positive with a mutual understanding of each other’s role.
  • A school with outstanding behaviour both in and out of lessons. 
  • A school with a mission to ensure that every child achieves their full academic potential.

If these values are your values, then this may be the school for you. Mrs Hutchinson...”

MRS M HUTCHINSON • Head of School

“Thank you, Mr Ashdown. I am delighted, as Head of School, to welcome you to Valley Park School this evening, and I very much hope that you enjoy your time with us tonight.

Our students take an immense pride in our school and you will see their enthusiasm as they tour you around this evening – I am sure you will appreciate that this is quite an achievement for Year sevens who joined us only a matter of a few short weeks ago.

My task this evening is to talk to you about our curriculum, both in the formal and less formal sense of the word.  The word “education” encompasses so much more than timetabled lessons – and you will find this reflected in the curriculum here at Valley Park School.

Those timetabled lessons are, of course, very important.  Every student joining us in September will have the opportunity to study for the English Baccalaureate – a combination of subjects encompassing English, Mathematics, at least two Sciences, Geography, History and a Modern Foreign Language.  We understand that “one size most certainly does not fit all,” and therefore have worked hard to achieve pathways through to GCSE and beyond that suit our students and maximise their potential.

Our lessons and classrooms are traditional and we offer a full range of subjects to our students.  We ensure that students all have access to iPad facilities throughout the school day.

But, as I said before, Valley Park School is about so much more than our timetabled lessons. We are Maidstone’s only specialist school for the Arts – you will see so many examples of our students’ magnificent art and performance skills here this evening.

Studying the Arts develops students’ confidence; it builds their creativity, independence and entrepreneurial spirit.  At Valley Park you will see the Arts represented both inside and beyond the classroom – it does not dominate, yet it defines our ethos.

As you have heard already, we offer a unique scholarship programme to students who are gifted in the Arts and we are fortunate that our scholars truly enrich the life of our school. Our European partner schools offer students the opportunity to access exchange programmes with schools in Germany, The Netherlands, France and Finland, both as visitors abroad and hosts when their counterparts visit Maidstone.

Our timetabled lessons end at 3.05pm each day but our students do not see the day as ending at this point.  Rather this is the start of something else.  Our students understand that their effort pays dividends so, whether their focus lies in gaining some additional support for their studies, or whether they are a young farmer, a keen sports person, a musician, explorer or future leader, our extracurricular programme provides a degree of enrichment and experience that is difficult to rival.

So, to summarise before I hand back over to Mr Ashdown, we offer a traditional curriculum in traditional classrooms, with access to the full complement of traditional subjects.  This is enhanced by creativity inspired by the Arts and supported by highly motivated and qualified teachers. 

Mr Ashdown...”

MR ASHDOWN • Executive Headteacher, Valley Park School

“We have made significant financial investment in the fabric of our buildings and the resources we make available to our students. We have created industry standard facilities including the Arts Centre, IT suites and our new Science laboratories.

Our school library is the largest of any school in Kent and was recognised by the School Librarians’ Association as the best in England.

We have a rapidly developing sports complex including a new 3G sports pitch, tennis and netball courts on our extensive playing fields adjacent to the New Cut Road. Funding for our new campus sports hall has now been secured and will be built over the next 12 months.

I’m sure that as you walk around the school tonight, you’ll appreciate that students treat their environment with the highest respect.

Let me now tell you about our students and their successes. We’ve mentioned their commitment to study both during and after school hours, their engagement with our enrichment programmes both at home and abroad and the fact that this all takes place in a safe and immaculately well maintained learning environment.

But what do our students achieve?

The highlights of my year are the two Thursdays in August when our students come into this hall to collect their examination results.

Examination results have risen year on year at both GCSE and A-level.

At GCSE this year, 65 % of all grades awarded were at grade 4 (previously a grade C) or above, marking another outstanding and indeed record set of results for the school. 

At A level 80% of grades were awarded at grade at C or above- another record set of results for the school.

However, beyond these figures there is one statistic of which we are particularly proud.

We add value.

In reality this means that our students perform beyond what would have been expected from them when they joined the school. 

And because of our track record we can guarantee your child’s success.  

Ladies and gentlemen, in a moment you’ll be leaving with your guides to tour the school, but before that a few final questions for you to consider.

  • Is our traditional family ethos based on strong discipline and mutual respect one that appeals to you?
  • Do you want the traditional English Baccalaureate at the core of your child’s learning?
  • Will your child make the most of the tremendous opportunities on offer at Valley Park?
  • Is the learning environment of small classes here right for your child?

But also as importantly, if we are to guarantee your child’s success-

  • Will you fully support our ethos of tradition and discipline?
  • Will you ensure your child has excellent attendance with no holidays in term time and no days off?
  • Will you work with me and my colleagues in the Valley Park way to enable your child to fulfil their potential?

If the answer to all these questions is yes, then we look forward to receiving your application.

My colleagues and I will answer any questions you may have but perhaps the most important people to speak to this evening are our greatest ambassadors, the young men and women of Valley Park, our students.

Thank you and enjoy the rest of your evening.”