One of the features of Blackminster Middle School, which is often commented on by visitors and parents ,is the friendly, calm and purposeful atmosphere. This has been developed through our House and Vertical Tutoring system. Students from years six, seven and eight are in the same tutor group. This engenders a family atmosphere and helps students in Year 6 better
understand what is to come in years 7 and 8. Students in Year 8 support new students in Year 6 and help them settle into the school through our PAL (Pupils Always Listening) scheme and our peer mentoring system. Students stay with the same tutor for three years. This allows students, parents and tutors to establish a good working relationship and to develop a constructive dialogue about attainment, achievement and progress in a continuous process over the three years.
Tutor groups are in one of four Houses: Air, Earth, Fire or Water, each being led by a Head of House. The House system is designed to encourage good citizenship, team work and social responsibility. It also provides a vehicle for healthy competition. Each House
is linked with a Charity and during the year Heads of House organise charity events to raise money for their chosen group.
Tutors and Heads of House are also responsible for tracking and monitoring academic, personal and social progress of students in close liaison with subject teachers, heads of department and where appropriate the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. Tutors should be the ‘first port of call’ if parents have questions or concerns about their child. Siblings are, where possible, placed in the same House.
In addition we have a Family Liaison Officer who provides a valuable link between home and school, supporting our students when they have a particular problem or just need that extra bit of TLC. Our teaching assistants are also highly valued by our students as someone they can talk to if they need advice or practical help.