This week, reporter Jessica Charles visited The De Montfort School in Evesham and was impressed by pupils with big ambitions and a family atmosphere among staff and students.

WHEN you visit The De Montfort School, one of the lasting impressions you come away with is how overwhelmingly positive pupils are about their education.

I spoke with head girl Arifah Begum, who has been attending the school in Evesham for six years, and the 17-year-old told me how confident she had become as she works towards studying dental hygiene therapy at university when she finishes sixth form.

Arifah said: “The support teachers give us is really good. They take their own time out to support us especially with GCSEs and A levels. The school is really welcoming and there is a great relationship between each year.”

“I used to be a really quiet, timid person, but they have really brought me out of my shell, leading to me being head girl and doing speeches.”

Arifah added: “The school has made a really good change and is heading in a positive direction.”

Headteacher Guy Nichols, who has been at the school just over four years, said pupils have big ambitions.

"I think there has been a big change in the last few years in how aspirational they are," he said. "The kids are determined to work hard and do well.

“We have a culture where our staff work hard with the students to build a really strong professional relationship, so the child feels recognised and valued.

"Every single day we meet and greet on the gate so every child gets a ‘hello.’ I think it makes a big difference, welcoming them into school and you can see if there is anything upsetting them. They also get welcomed into every lesson.”

Mr Nichols shakes the hand of every student as they walk into an exam as he believes this builds their self-belief.

“Another strength is our inclusivity," he said. "We have had students who have been potentially vulnerable and needed specialist support and we are really good at that. We have got some quiet areas where students can spend some time and we have a school counsellor as well.”

Walking around the school, I saw a sense of purpose in students and staff.

The classrooms have an open door policy so Mr Nichols can pop in to see how pupils are getting on, and he clearly knows each student's individual strengths. He summed up the school's ethos by saying “We are like a family.”