We just wanted to say a huge thank you and well done to Sarah in Year 11 who bravely volunteered to speak about her experience at Millthorpe School at last week’s Open Evening. Please have a read of Sarah’s speech to see why this was such a HUGE achievement for her and why we’ve had so many lovely comments about her from our visitors.
We are all so proud of you Sarah. Well done for putting yourself out there!
I joined Millthorpe just under five years ago. Upon reflection I can say these past few years have definitely been some to remember. Within these years, being a student here at Millthorpe has not only broadened my perspective of the future and provided me with long-lasting friendships which I will cherish for years to come, but most importantly built my confidence to a point where I now feel prepared to pursue my aspirations when I leave next year.
When I first stepped foot into Millthorpe School, on Open Day 2019, I felt an overwhelming sense of excitement, yet also a great amount of fear. The idea of starting at a school so much larger than my primary school was daunting. I was certainly afraid of the unknown, however one thing that makes me thankful to be a student here at Millthorpe is how it differs in support and encouragement from any other school. Within Millthorpe, I felt a sense of a welcoming community, right from the very start. Here at Millthorpe we are lucky enough to have the most reliable support system and friendliest safeguarding team, who I am eternally grateful for. They ensured I had a safe and comfortable start to Year 7 and maintained their support throughout my time at school.
In my opinion what really defines Millthorpe as a school is the understanding relationship between students and staff, who are not only there to help, but are happy to do so, and they certainly make the years at secondary school a lot more endurable.
As a Year 11 and having already studied a year of GCSEs in Year 10, one of the most important things for me is maintaining a consistent work ethic, to give me the best chance I have of getting the grades I want to achieve next year. At Millthorpe we have a teaching system in place called ‘listen to learn’ which I have found especially useful as I’ve worked up the school. It has made asking questions for students like me, who are anxious about asking questions out loud, that little bit easier which makes a huge difference to some.
Personally, what I love about Millthorpe School is its emphasis on the student voice, which means students have more input on the way the school operates, and it makes for a friendly, equal environment for both students and staff. Unlike other schools, I feel that here we are not just fed rules and instructions and expected to follow them without an explanation, but instead we as students have the opportunity to contribute to the expectations of us in school, so that we feel safe but not undermined.
An example of the student voice we have here in school is student leaders. As student leaders, a group of us are able to influence decisions made by the school and give our opinions on how well rules and systems would work for us. One example of something that is developed quite regularly is the behaviour system of points and rewards. We as students believed that points as negative feedback would not work for us, school listened to our suggestion and put an improved behavioural system in place. They also ensured more staff were around at break and lunch to keep us as safe as possible but also to make it more accessible to ask any questions we need to, and for new students, easier to ask questions or for directions where to go.
Another role we have as part of student leaders, is taking on real-life tasks, which help to prepare us for the future and develop our leadership skills. For example, organising charity work in school such as non-uniform days and fundraisers. We’re also given weekly placements in Year 7 forms as an attempt to demonstrate to new students that older students aren’t at all something to be afraid of, and are in fact an opportunity to gain new insight and advice. Most of us are always around to help 😊
But most importantly, Millthorpe showed me that it is OK for me to speak out and ask for help when things get hard, For me, growing up from a Year 7 with next to no confidence, with a support system in place that meant I never had to answer the register in my younger years here, because of my severe phobia of speaking in front of more than a couple of people, Millthorpe has given me that opportunity to grow and develop my skills to heights I never thought I’d reach. And becoming a student leader especially has been one of my greatest achievements. Year 7 me would have never believed she would be speaking in front of her class or more than three people she knew, let alone at least a couple of hundred people I don’t know at all – not to think about it too much 😊
Thank you for listening.”
Sarah S, Year 11 student
3 October 2023