Hinde House Secondary in Shiregreen was recently rated 'good' by education watchdog Ofsted for a third consecutive inspection, indicating that the school has the potential to achieve even higher standards.
And the teaching team is working tirelessly to make the dreams a reality, as staff realise they need to work even harder to make the school a better place for the students and the best in the city, if not the country.
Vicky Simcock, the school's executive principal since December 2018, said Ofsted inspectors complimented the school for its culture of care, not just among pupils but also in the wider community.
She said: "The feedback was incredibly positive… in fact they've asked us to push for outstanding at our next inspection, which of course means the challenge is on so that's what we are going to do next time around."
She stated that the school's goal is to provide children with a more balanced education by extending the school day to provide for recreation and recovery time for all children in year nine and higher.
She said: "My plans are for us to have an outstanding first-wave teaching and learning curriculum that is engaging and exciting, that restores and revitalises our mental health and that promotes kindness, love, compassion, and understanding.
"Our curriculum, whilst it's ambitious for our learning, it's about academic challenges and it's about academic resources. It's based upon nurturing and support and being truly inclusive.
"Ofsted has challenged me to drive the academic side now, so it is good to be three times on the balance, as it is brilliant to move to outstanding instead of moving the goal post, so it's even harder to get outstanding than it has been historically.
"So we have to focus on absolutely excellent teaching and learning in every lesson, all of the time, every day and to support staff and students that need the additionality to be the very best that they can be."
‘A great team’
The school's principal, Munif Zia, who took up the post in September 2019, said he took 'a lot of pride' in the recent 'good' judgement as it reflected the strategic leadership from him, Ms Simcock and the rest of the staff.
He said: "We have got a great team here and I'm a big believer that one person can't change a school to the extent that we have, which is very much all staff members, all support staff coming together, believing in the vision, believing in the ethos and very much within the parameters of the trust as well, which is something that we are rolling out across our schools.
"The 'good' tells us that the foundation is there if the direction you want to take is definitely towards 'outstanding'.
"I think our cultures and climate for learning, as we call it, are embedded. I think we've got to do a bit more work on that.
"So little things like uniforms and I think these small little steps that we take, especially in the classroom, when it comes to teaching and learning, are headed toward 'outstanding'.
"I think we've just got to do better work with the behaviours and the procedures. I think once that comes together, our children are already outstanding when it comes to the classroom.
"I think our staff are outstanding when you see what they're delivering every day."
Diversity is key
Ms Simcock said one of the things that sets Hinde House Academy apart from other schools is the diversity of its students, which she said is reflected in its members of staff as well.
She said: “We have so many cultures and so many ethnicities and faiths in this academy, and since I arrived, one of the things that I have really tried to do is to make sure that my staff body reflects the body too, so it is really important that I might have white British male members of staff, but I also need my Somalian girls, my Black African-Caribbean boys, and I need my Muslim children to understand that they can go and be astronauts and physicists in their own right.
"I am extremely proud of the fact that I have a staff body that reflects that; we have 20 per cent diversity in terms of leadership and throughout the teaching team, but that is significantly better than we were three years ago when you consider that 60 per cent of my children are not white British, so it is critical that we reflect that.”
For Mr Zia, learning or educating doesn’t stop at the gates of the school. It is also the school’s responsibility to make sure they are great citizens beyond the classrooms.
He said: "I think we are just going to display that outstanding behaviour once they are out in the community as well. For me, it's not just learning or educating that ends at the school's gates; we have to make sure they're great citizens, so for me, that's where we want to make outstanding citizens, so that's going to start within the school environment, and it's very much working in partnership with the parents and carers.”
Having previously overseen three other schools, he said Hinde House Academy is unique.
“There’s something about the staff here that I have not witnessed at any other school. It got the kind of cohesiveness that the team works above and beyond. We have got great ambassadors here. We have got children here who will go to Oxford or Cambridge,” he said.
“I can promise now, hand on heart, that what we do in this school environment is above and beyond any other school, in my opinion, I've ever worked in or visited, and this is something I take pride in.”