Houstone School puts The Sophie Test at its core
Stuart Lock, Chief Executive of Advantage Schools, sets out his promise for Houstone School - the new secondary school in Houghton Regis.
I want to send my children to a school that provides these three things: excellent behaviour, strong teaching, and great extra-curricular experiences.
I want my children to go to a school where leaders take responsibility in ensuring all pupils receive these things as their entitlement.
In my School Trust, Advantage Schools, we all believe this: If it is not good enough for our own children, it is not good enough for anyone’s children.
All of the staff we employ in our schools share this belief. We call it The Sophie Test, named after the daughter of one of our founders. It means we check every decision against this standard: would this be good enough for my own child?
We are delighted to have been selected by the local authority to open this new school. It is a privilege to be able to serve the community, and we are committed to doing so. At Advantage Schools, we have experience of successfully establishing great secondary schools. In 2012, we opened Bedford Free School, which is now graded as outstanding by Ofsted, and its attainment measures are comfortably in the top 150 schools in the country. This is because of our approach, including the Sophie Test.
In opening Houstone School, we will apply what we do so well in our existing schools. We have named it Houstone, pronounced “How-Stone”, after consulting with the local community. Nearly 400 responses showed this to be the most popular name, and it is the historic name for Houghton Regis, as referenced in the Domesday Book nearly 1000 years ago.
We will have very high expectations of pupils, and expect families to be heavily involved, playing their part. Pupils will work very hard, because we know that there are no shortcuts to success. We will employ some of the best teachers in the country, and we will train them exceptionally well. We will deliver a highly academic curriculum with an entitlement to enrichment – all pupils will do extracurricular activities as a part of our longer school day.
In a few years, our school will grow to hold 900 pupils plus a sixth form, and because we have already achieved this with our school in Bedford, these are not empty promises, but ones that we will deliver on. As chief executive, I take personal responsibility for this. I also have a personal interest – for the Sophie Test is not hypothetical – as my own three children (aged 5, 8, and 11) all attend schools run by our Trust.
I really believe in our approach to running schools.
We would particularly encourage interested families, colleagues and prospective governors to register for updates by emailing [email protected] Applications for admissions open this September for pupils who will be moving into Years 7, 8, 9 or 10 in September 2022.
We will also shortly be looking for local governing body members who have exceptional skills to volunteer to help us run the new school and ensure it is one of the very best in the country. We also have regular opportunities to meet with the Houstone School team, which you can find via any of these channels.
I look forward to meeting you soon.
Stuart Lock - CEO
Sophie Heron – Executive Assistant