Headteacher’s Welcome

Highfields College HeadteacherHello and welcome to Highfields College, where our mission is to provide new opportunities for growth and success to all students regardless of ability, background or circumstance.

Ever since coming to work at Highfields College on a secondment in Autumn 2018, I have considered working here to be a gift and a privilege – and for that reason I was very happy to be asked by the governing body and Local Authority to continue my work as Headteacher, alongside Deputy Headteacher Mr Howard, over the longer-term.

As OFSTED noted in January 2020, Highfields is an impressive school, both in terms of its staff and students. We are all committed to what Japanese people call ‘kaizen’– meaning a never-ending pursuit of change for the better.

On the one hand this is ensuring we, as a Pupil Referral Unit, offer varied and constructive ways forward to young people and their families following the experience of permanent exclusion. On the other hand, it is about continuing to grow the college as an Alternative Education Provider that will serve those young people who seek a different educational experience to mainstream school, more often than not with the aspiration of being successful in the workplace at the forefront of their ambitions. As our numbers have grown this past 3 years from an average of 100 students in attendance to figures nearing 200, we are in an exciting phase with new provisions and pathways for our young people coming to fruition.

Everyone at Highfields College believes in the fundamental worth of each student. At Highfields College every single student is provided with a wide variety of opportunities to develop academically – whilst being nurtured in terms of their personal development (self-awareness & social skills, citizenship & character). This takes place in a safe, serious yet upbeat environment involving small groups and well-trained, experienced staff. With our approach to behaviour, we don’t shy away from upholding clear rules and expectations at Highfields College but we also look to ensure each person is known, understood and worked with according to their needs, trigger points and coping strategies. Through our Family and Student Support Team (FASST), we also offer a high level of support to parents and carers with the many issues that often come with raising teenagers and getting them into school.

We are child-centred in our approaches and passionate advocates of neurodiversity. We work hard to assess each student in terms of their individual strengths, difficulties, differences and preferences – the plans and decisions that we then make are based on these assessments, carried out in conversation with the student, their family and any other involved parties (such as our partner schools). We encourage students to actively move on from the past, to focus on the future and the opportunities that lie ahead. We do this through a patient step-by-step approach rather than expecting change overnight. We are always hear to listen and to try understand the past struggles of our children and their parents/carers – but we ultimately seek to focus on where each child is at developmentally and the steps they need to take to move forward rather than what might be more negatively framed as disadvantage, deficit and difficulty.

It is a testament to the hard work of staff and students that we have recently received recognition from the ADHD Foundation, UNICEF, Survivor’s Trust, NSPCC and the Association of Character Education – you can read here what they say about us. We also regularly receive positive comments from parents and carers, some of which you can view here.

I hope that you enjoy exploring our website – please contact us if you require any further information.

Best wishes,
Mr Grant, Headteacher

  • Frequently Asked Questions:
  • How can my child be referred for a place at Highfields? Click here for our Admissions page.
  • What subjects are taught at Highfields? Click here for our Curriculum pages.
  • How can I find out how well my child is doing at Highfields? Click here for information on reports, parents evenings etc.
  • How does Highfields help support the emotional and social needs of my child? We do this in a holistic way, which means we provide a variety of support for our students. This includes SEMH Interventions (mentoring), ‘Character Education’ built into all subjects and staff with specialist training in relationship-building.