Message from Corina Foster

It has been an absolute privilege to be Headteacher at The Valley School and to be part of its rebirth into what it is today, a truly special school with a fantastic reputation, widely perceived as a centre of excellence and creative practice.  Being involved in the Learning journey of so many wonderful young people has been an absolute joy.  I have said, on many occasions, that I have the best job in the world and I have never changed my opinion.  I am also the luckiest.

At the age of 11, I was introduced to John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” and it had a profound impact on me.  The thought that there were people in the world who needed a very special level of understanding and compassion to be fulfilled and to be able to keep themselves and others safe made me determined to do something to make a difference.

Later, I learnt more about how learning happens and how much could be possible for me in my future if I became excellent at learning.  From that moment, the challenge became very clear.  Every child should leave school able to face new challenges, learn new things and enjoy the greatest level of independence & influence possible.

In order to achieve that, we should be prepared to embrace risk, develop curiosity & resilience, teach the practical & emotional skills necessary to access the world and build confidence & self-esteem in every pupil.

I also knew that, for some, this would take a very special environment and a huge commitment to what has become our by-line, at The Valley School, “Different 4 Different”.  We are all unique and, therefore, we all need an individual route through to adolescence and beyond.

I am deeply grateful to my amazing team of staff and Governors, who give more than anyone could expect and work tirelessly to provide the best for our pupils.  Every one of them could have chosen an easier route, but putting our pupils first is what matters to them.

As we look forward to finally having the buildings that our pupils and staff deserve and you look forward to welcoming a new Headteacher, I know that all that matters at The Valley School will be able to grow ever stronger and will adapt as new challenges come along.

Leaving just at the moment when the school celebrates 30 years and its “Pearl” anniversary seems strangely apt.  Every one of us has a beautiful and unique pearl inside, that can only grow and become visible through adversity and determination.  Each pearl is absolutely unique and its beauty needs both light and shade to be fully appreciated.

As I begin my retirement and my family get used to me finally being around for them, a big part of my heart will remain at The Valley School and I will always be intensely proud of what we have achieved together.

For now, I ask that you face new challenges, take on what the world gives you, never turn down exciting opportunities, never hide your differences and, always, “Be Amazing!”

I send you all massive Valley hugs and my love – I will miss you more than you know.

Unswerving vision to improve the lives of all your pupils…

Everyone plays a part in supporting the pupils as they learn to believe in themselves.

To see real transformation in our pupils is at the heart of the school’s approach.

Pupils are very proud of their school. They speak positively about their relationships with members of staff and with others.

Pupils’ conduct around the school is exemplary.

(Parents) … say how delighted they are that their children attend the school.

One parent expressed the views of many…”This school and everyone in it is giving my child a future”…

(Governors) … are knowledgeable, skilled and determined for the school to be the best it can be.

Safeguarding is given a very high priority…

Staff understand pupils’ vulnerabilities very well…they are vigilant to pupils’ needs and their well-being is considered in all aspects of school life.

You have high expectations of yourself, your staff and pupils which has created a positive environment in which to learn.

The school’s approach to transition is proactive and thorough…

The bespoke transition programme … helps pupils and their families to get to know their new school very well.

Staff make every effort to ensure that pupils will be successful when they start their new college and any anxieties are kept to a minimum.

Over time, staff are very successful at raising pupils’ attendance and in re-engaging them in learning.

The “different for different” ethos permeates the school…