In its citizenship classes, Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College prepares young people to become informed citizens, focusing particularly on making pupils care and making them capable of bringing about change on issues that affect them and others - especially those who are more vulnerable than themselves.
Citizenship is taught through a range of subjects, particularly personal, social and health education, English and the humanities.
Pupils are encouraged to tackle difficult topics - for example, the impact of the riots in Croydon in the summer of 2011. A presentation called "Why did the riots happen?" helps pupils understand the historical context of the destruction that took place in their area.
Another focus has been on domestic violence, which has led to a productive link with the Cassandra Learning Centre, a local charity.
Citizenship is taught under three main themes: participation and responsible action; critical thinking and enquiry; and advocacy and representation. Key stages 3 and 4 aim to provide a good platform for citizenship in the sixth form. In Year 9, citizenship is taught twice a week. In Years 10 and 11 it is offered as a full GCSE option, following the OCR course.
An "Interact" club - part of Rotary International - gives sixth-form students an opportunity to link their activities to the school's specialist business and enterprise status. Interact students also engage with social issues including violence, child abuse and neglect, through a link with the Wave Trust, an anti-violence charity. The Interact club meets twice a month. Students hold officer positions and an external Rotarian adviser offers guidance and support.
Interact recruits young volunteers from the college to help run summer play schemes. Many sixth-formers do voluntary community work with children, coach junior sports and fund-raise at local mosques for international crises.
Pupils are also encouraged to mix with people from different generations to help them think about image and stereotype. One example of this was a tea party, organised by pupils, for people of all ages. The event helped break down preconceptions and pupils kept in touch, via email, with some of the older people they had met.
An "assessment ladder" charts progress, with pupils moving up or down depending on their work. They also learn about citizenship in general studies and while studying for a certificate in financial studies, equivalent to an AS level.
Signs of success
In 2011, Ofsted described the citizenship curriculum as outstanding. The ethnic and religious diversity within the school helps staff to prepare pupils for a future in which they will not only tolerate but embrace the differences they encounter.
What the inspectors said
"Lesson observations and scrutiny of pupils' work show that pupils across the attainment range make outstanding progress and demonstrate particular strengths in the development of enquiry skills, advocacy, and representation and campaigning. Pupils enjoy citizenship because of the opportunities to debate topical issues of concern to them. Lessons demonstrate teachers' very good subject knowledge, for example in the quality of questioning, their handling of controversial issues and their knowledge of examination requirements."
Read the full Ofsted case study at bit.lyVCdcG7
Name: Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College
Location: Thornton Heath, Croydon
Age range: 11-18
Number of pupils: 1,200, all girls with a mixed sixth form
Intake: A diverse ethnic mix.