Ysgol Friars is a co-educational comprehensive school with pupils aged between 11 and 18. There has been a school bearing the name of Friars in the City of Bangor since 1557. We are proud of our tradition, as we are equally proud of our more recent achievements. The school was recently recognised by ACCAC, the Government body responsible in Wales for the school curriculum and assessment, as the most improved school in North West Wales and one of the five most improved schools in the Principality. Our examination results are regularly above local and national averages at 16 and 18, and the majority of our sixth form go on to university, including Oxford and Cambridge. Many of our pupils do extremely well. It is not uncommon for pupils to achieve a mixture of 10 A* or A grades at GCSE and straight A grades at A level. We value the achievements of all our pupils, however, and believe that our goal should be to help pupils reach their potential whatever their level of ability.
We want pupils to enjoy their time at Friars but we believe it is important that pupils use their time with us purposefully and constructively. We expect pupils to do their best. We expect them to take a pride in their work and achievements, pride in their appearance and pride in themselves. We regularly monitor pupils’ progress and the Year Team Leaders have time set aside to help pupils with problems and to deal with any pupil who causes problems to others. The school issues homework timetables and diaries to all pupils in years 7-11. A coursework planner is provided in the Year 10 and Year 11 Homework Diaries. These diaries are checked regularly.
The school takes a firm line on pupil behaviour and discipline but also takes steps to reward achievement and effort. I will tell you more about this later in the handbook. We do not believe that the school day is only the time between the ringing of the school bell first thing in the morning and the end of last lesson at 3.15. When pupils travel to and from school wearing their uniform they are ambassadors for the school. We do not hesitate to deal with any problems during this time and support our pupils in exactly the same way as we do when they are on school premises.
The school takes bullying very seriously. We do not try to pretend that it does not exist. Indeed, as the public view of what can be described as bullying grows wider, it would be dishonest for any schools to say that they have none. We believe that schools should be judged by the action that they take to deal with it when it occurs. We encourage pupils to be open and to tell, we try to make children aware of its effects and ultimately we deal promptly and firmly with those who make life difficult for others. The support and co-operation of parents and all in the school in bringing problems to our attention is much appreciated.
The school has invested heavily in books and resources. We currently have more than 300 computers. The science and technology building is purpose built and contains a large amount of computer, engineering, workshop and scientific equipment. Classes are kept to manageable sizes. The pupil teacher ratio (the number of children divided by the number of staff) is 1:17 and the average class size is 24 in years 7 – 9 and 22 in years 10 and 11 at the time of writing. You will seldom find a class over thirty and workshop classes are restricted to an average of twenty two or below.
Neil Foden Headteacher