An Education in High Standards and Ambition; YOUR HONOUR Avtar Singh Manget MBE Believes in Inspiring His Pupils to Aim for the Top - and His Philosophy Is Working
Mbe, Avtar Singh Manget, The Birmingham Post (England)
It's 3.20 pm, school is over for today, and the 360 pupils of Wilkes Green Junior School flock to the school gates to meet their parents.
Amidst the happy reunions of parents and children stands headteacher Avtar Singh Mangat as he does this time every day. One minute he gently inquires as to the well-being of a housewife, the next minute a bright-eyed boy offers him a sweet.
This sunny afternoon Wilkes Green Junior School is the essence of a well-run and inviting school, but when Avtar Singh Mangat came here 11 years ago the picture was quite different.
Then it was an old-fashioned school with grotty corridors, teachers tucked away in separate classrooms and very little overall planning.
Mr. Mangat's accomplishment? He simply organised his way to a better school.
From refurbished classrooms and a well-equipped computer-suite to the statistically proven excellent results of the pupils - the evidence that he has succeeded is obvious.
And, as of June this year, his recognition was taken to an even higher level: since then Avtar Singh Mangat has been allowed to add the three little letters MBE to the sign on his door.
His approach to changing the school was straightforward - he merely asked himself, the parents and the teachers exactly what they wanted from the school. The answer was, of course, children achieving, and so Avtar Singh Mangat worked to reach that goal.
One approach was improving the general school atmosphere, thus creating an effective learning environment; another approach was ensuring proper teaching through effective learning programmes and good facilities.
"It has been hard work," Mr Mangat admits. "And over a period of time we have come a long way. But you never achieve everything - the goal-posts are moving all the time, so we evolve constantly."
However, Avtar Singh Mangat's vision is about more than just providing his pupils with the academic education they are entitled to. An important part of his success is that he considers the teaching environment just as vital as the learning environment, so naturally at this school the staffroom was refurbished along with the classrooms.
"It takes everyone - the children, their parents and the staff - to achieve a caring school community," Avtar Singh Mangat emphasizes.
His vision of a better school sounds hard to obtain and ambitious, but Avtar Singh Mangat does not see it as such. …