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How Good is Our School?

How Good is Our School?

Every year the governors and school leaders spend time monitoring the quality of all the work we do in school, and evaluating what has improved, and where the school needs to focus its work to make our provision even better for our children. We always want to do more to help our children be the very best that they can be!

In 2014 the OfSTED inspectors who visited our school said that our school Required Improvement. The school leaders agreed that even though some positive changes had been made to the school, there was more that needed to be done and that some things that had already changed needed more time to have full impact.

What OFSTED said we needed to improve in 2014:

Improve the quality of teaching to at least good in order to accelerate the progress for all pupils, but especially the most able, so that more pupils attain the higher levels by ensuring that teachers:

  • set work and activities that make pupils think hard and make the progress of which they are capable
  • have consistently high expectations of the quality and quantity of work that pupils are required to produce
  • check on pupils’ understanding throughout the lesson so that those who are stuck can be helped and those who understand do not waste time going over what they already know
  • use the new marking policy consistently to indicate clearly in their marking of all subjects what the pupils need to do to improve and check that pupils do it.

 

Raise standards, particularly in writing at Key Stage 1 and in mathematics across the school by:

  • ensuring that pupils have more opportunities to apply their English skills to other subjects and that these are marked in line with school policy
  • provide more opportunities for pupils to apply their skills in mathematics to real life, problem solving activities
  • ensure that pupils are always focused on their learning by providing activities which are sufficiently challenging. 

 

Increase the effectiveness of leadership and management to speed up the pace of school improvement by:

  • consolidating the recent improvements made by leaders so that teaching, achievement and
  • behaviour for learning improve across the school
  • providing more opportunities for subject leaders to develop their skills of leadership so that they lead improvements in their areas more effectively
  • ensuring that all governors have the necessary skills to hold the leadership to account for the progress of the pupils within the school.
  • An external review of governance should be undertaken in order to assess how this aspect of leadership and management may be improved.

 

Things that have changed since 2014:

 

In the last two years many, many different changes have been made to the school to address the key issues that OFSTED highlighted. There are far too many to write here, however here are some headlines!

 

§  Outcomes for pupils in all subjects has improved, but particularly the more able:

 

In 2013 the percentage of children achieving L4 and L5 in key subjects was:

2013 Attainment

School L4+

School L5+

 

School L6+

National L4+

National L5+

 

National

L6+

Mathematics

100

44

0

85

41

7

Reading

88

38

0

86

44

0

Writing

88

44

0

83

30

2

Grammar

81

50

0

74

47

2

§  In 2015 the percentage of children achieving L4 and L5 in key subjects was

2015 Attainment

School L4+

School L5+

 

School L6+

National L4+

National L5+

National

L6+

Mathematics

100

82

27

87

41

6

Reading

100

64

9

89

48

0

Writing

100

45

18

87

40

2

Grammar

91

73

27

80

55

2

 

§  Progress has improved

In 2013 the percentage of children achieving good or better progress in key subjects was:

2013 Progress

School 2 levels

School 3 levels

National 2 levels

National 3 levels

Mathematics

93

21

88

31

Reading

93

21

88

30

Writing

100

43

91

30

In 2015 the percentage of children achieving good or better progress in key subjects was:

2015 Progress

School 2 levels

School 3 levels

National 2 levels

National 3 levels

Mathematics

100

73

90

34

Reading

100

36

91

33

Writing

100

64

94

36

 

 

§  Teachers’ questioning has improved

All our teachers use active questioning to support the children in responding more fully to questions.

All our teachers use Bloom’s Taxonomy to plan lessons and to ask higher order questions which deepen children’s thinking.

§  The governors have improved the monitoring of their impact

The minutes taken at meetings show governor challenge and questions now.

The governors were scrutinised in an external review. Using the feedback from this review, they compiled an improvement plan and they have now completed all actions.

Actions resulting from governor questions and involvement are tracked closely by the Chair of Governors, Headteacher and Clerk to the Governing Body.

Named governors are responsible for monitoring each action on our School Improvement and Development Plan.

 

How we evaluate our work as a school:

 

We check our work in so many different ways, but these are some of the main ways we check whether the school is doing well and providing the best possible education for all our children:

 

§  We check that we keep all our children safe by monitoring our safeguarding practices.

§  Senior leaders monitor teaching and learning by observing and working alongside teachers and support staff.

§  We check how much progress our children are making, and whether they are achieving the learning they should for their year group.

§  We look at how well our children are achieving compared to other children in the country.

§  We check whether all groups of children are doing as well as each other in school, and whether children have the right support.

§  We look at children’s work, and talk to them about it.

 

But don’t just take our word for it!

§  The work of the school, including that of senior leaders such as the Head Teacher, is monitored by the governors to check that the school is putting in place the right things to make improvements quickly.

§  We use National and Local Authority data, such as RAISE and the Termly Report Card to check our children’s achievements and progress and identify areas where we need to change things to help our children achieve even more.

§  Advisors from the Local Authority come into school to evaluate our teaching and to give us ideas about what to do next to improve.

§  We make visits to other school to get new ideas and to check that what we are doing is at least as good as in other schools.

§  We have regular visits from educational consultants such as the Education Challenge Partner and school improvement advisors who check that our work is at least as good as other schools in the country.

As a result of evaluating the quality of all aspects of our provision the school has identified some priorities for 2015-2016 to improve what we do for the children even further. The priorities were decided on by the governors and senior staff by this process of self-evaluation and by listening to school staff, the children in school and parents through the survey and by talking to parents at events such as Parents’ Forum meetings held throughout the year.

Our main focus for improving outcomes for children this year is writing in Key Stage One, as not so many children reached a level 2B (the nationally expected standard) in writing in Key Stage 1 in 2015 as they did in Maths and Reading.

 

There are however several main areas for development, which reflect different aspects of the school’s work:

Leadership and Management

  • To make sure that teachers are given high quality training
  • To make sure that subject leaders are also well trained so that they can make improvements to their subjects
  • To make sure that governors have the skills and training to judge whether or not the school and the teachers are doing a good job
  • To introduce a new system of Homework Menus so that children have more choice about their learning and they are able to share this with their parents.
  • Implement the Herts for Learning system for assessment across the school to fit with the new curriculum
  • To introduce a new topic-based ‘Challenge Curriculum’ to make learning as fun and interesting as possible for the children

Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment

  • To allow the children to choose the right level of  challenge in each lesson using a traffic light system of red, amber and green tasks
  • To train teachers to question children more deeply to encourage them to think more carefully about their learning
  • To change our timetables around so that children have more opportunities to write in lessons other than English and to apply their maths skills in other subjects like Science
  • To make sure that marking is helpful to the children and helps them to understand how to make their work better
  • To get children to improve their handwriting

Personal Development Behaviour and Welfare

·      Work with parents and children to agree a healthy packed snack and packed lunch policy

·      Make sure children know how to stay healthy

·      Make sure all our children know how to stay safe online

-To get our Silver School Games Mark

-To get our Eco Schools Green Flag Award

-To carry on helping children to explain their feelings by teaching the PATHS curriculum which helps to raise their self-esteem through Pupil of the Day

Outcomes for Pupils in Writing, Maths and Reading

·      Use our class blogs to make sure children can write well for their age

·      Inspire children to write by inviting authors into school and organising more trips

·    Hold enrichment weeks which inspire children to write

-Hold Family Cafes so that parents understand what is being taught and can get involved in their child’s learning

Early Years Foundation Stage

(Reception)

·     Make sure that the teacher can go on high quality training

-Introduce a new assessment system to find out how much children know when they start in Reception

-Make sure that the behaviour in Reception is as good as the rest of the school and that the staff working in that class have high expectations of the children

-Make sure that children form their letters and numbers correctly in their handwriting so that they can get quicker at it and they will be more ready to write in Key Stage 1

-Make sure that the outdoor area is used well to help children to learn

Each of these actions has been split into smaller tasks, so that progress can be monitored throughout the school year. The governors make regular visits to school to check the plan is being put into place effectively, and most importantly that it is having a positive effect on the quality of provision for our children. Governors meet with senior staff and teachers six times a term in committees and receive reports about how well the children are doing as a result of the changes being made, and to find out whether the plan needs changing as a result.

 

CHANGES TO ASSESSMENT

As you know, a new national curriculum was introduced in 2014. As a result, the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) is changing the tests which children sit in Year 2 and Year 6 next year, so that they assess the new curriculum. Pupils will take the new tests for the first time in May 2016.

As part of the national curriculum review, levels have been abolished. As a result, this will be the last year in which we report levels to you. Next year our school reports will highlight whether your child is below, at or above age-related expectations in each subject. We will of course continue to monitor and track each child’s progress carefully every half term.

 

The DfE is also changing the way the tests are reported. From 2016, they will use scaled scores to report national curriculum test outcomes, with 100 being the standard score. Parents will simply be told whether or not their child has met the expected standards but there will be no extension papers (in the form of level 3 and 6 papers currently). 

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