How We Evaluate our Performance
We were delighted that Ofsted judged our school to be ‘Outstanding’ in October 2008 but that was just the beginning of our journey. Since that moment in time we have continued to look for ways to improve our performance and ensure that we continue to meet the high standards that enabled us to gain our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgment and therefore provide our children with the best education possible. Every year Ofsted undertake a risk review of the school to ensure that children's outcomes remain high, the leadership continues to be strong, there are no safeguarding issues and no complaints.
Internal Monitoring of Performance
During the school year we are continually monitoring children’s progress and attainment to ensure that planning and interventions enable all children to make good progress. The Senior Leadership team and Subject leaders are observing and monitoring teaching and learning to ensure that the education provided to the children is of a high standard. There are regular discussions with children about their learning and the children’s books are scrutinized to ensure that a high standard is achieved. The school governors receive regular reports from the school team and visit the school regularly to validate reports. We listen to parents, children and staff through our questionnaires and are always looking for ways to improve our service.
We also look for outside validation of our performance therefore we take part in a number of external inspections.
Each term we employ an Educational Consultant to undertake a rigorous review of all aspects of teaching and learning across the school. We are members of the SWAN Trust which is made up of five local schools and each term all of the Headteachers spend a day in school comparing our performance with the Ofsted criteria. During both visits a number of activities are undertaken to ensure that our School Self Evaluation and School Development Plan are fit for purpose and will result in improvement across the school. The activities undertaken will include; learning walks to observe teaching and learning, attainment and progress data discussions with members of the Senior Leadership Team, looking for evidence of children’s learning in books and discussions with children and teachers. At the end of each visit strengths and areas for development are agreed.
The Primary Quality Mark Award
We also pay to take part in the national Primary Quality Mark Award Scheme. The Primary Quality Mark complements and supports the principles underpinning national education strategies, inspection frameworks and the drive to improve standards in literacy and mathematics. This is an award that celebrates and supports continuous improvement in literacy and numeracy in good schools. It is awarded to a school as recognition of their provision, practice and performance in literacy and numeracy, and is valid for three years. At each assessment we have demonstrated a whole school approach to improving standards in literacy and numeracy, with evidence of the impact our approaches have made on children’s learning. We undertake the required framework for self-evaluation and continuous improvement of the basic skills for all children in the school, including those who under-achieve and those who under-attain.
We are delighted that after our recent inspection by the Primary Quality Mark Basic Skills assessor we have once again be awarded the Basic Skills Quality Mark for the 6th time. Mrs Karen Simpson the assessor undertook our renewal assessment on the 21st May 2018. She met with parents, governors, children and staff as well as our Maths, English, Well-being and SEND leaders. She undertook a learning walk during the day to observe teaching and learning and discussed data with the Senior Leadership team. We were pleased that Mrs Simpson agreed with our self-assessment points. We were particularly pleased with the comments from the parents interviewed, which make up element 9 of the report.
‘Good practice’ identified in relation to the 10 Elements of the Quality Mark
- Element 1: The whole school development strategy is focused on developing the core skills of English and Maths. The whole school community is involved in planning, assessing & evaluating the impact of the school development plan, which is regularly RAG rated and links directly to the schools SEF. The development plan is based on robust self-evaluation. The evidence base is collated and also shared externally with the SWAN Trust (a trust of 5 primary schools working in close partnership) enabling external review on which to base the next phase of school improvement. The school’s development plan is dovetailed into the previous year; providing clarity and continuity of development, ensuring the ongoing evaluation, the setting of relevant targets and clarity of focus.
- Elements 2, 3 & 4: A full range of useful data (summative and formative) is collated and analysed by the school. Those under attaining and under achieving are identified and this informs the planning process. Clear targets are set for the school and they track their progress and attainment against the national average and their Trust colleague schools throughout the year. Data is colour coded so all staff can evaluate impact rapidly and ensure pupils remain on target or rapid interventions can be actioned accordingly. Specific planning for the identified groups and individuals under attaining are in place and regularly reviewed. Detailed improvement plans are written for individual pupils and the school is keen to ensure all teaching staff are robust in this target setting and individualised planning. Governors are involved in tracking and evaluating impact – including of those pupils within the most vulnerable groups. Individual plans and next steps in learning are shared with parents for those underachieving/ under attaining. The school is fully inclusive in its approach and all interventions are impact driven.
- Element 5: The fifteen/fifteen split learning pattern ensures pupils work in smaller groups and all staff understand the child’s needs and next steps. These are shared with parents and regular data drops ensure pupils are not falling behind
- Element 6; The school is focused on high expectations “Learning Together to Achieve Excellence” with children very aware that they need to “Be the best they can be”. This is also reflected in the school’s approach to staff development – with staff seeing themselves as life-long learners. There is a robust CPD package across the school that includes the Teaching Assistants. CPD is based in the ongoing analysis of individual members of staff and the aspects identified within the school improvement plan.
- Element 7: Teachers use a range of approaches within their classrooms. The school has focused on developing pupil resilience and engagement through their approach to developing the pupils’ full range of learning behaviours and mindfulness. Teachers are aware of the individual’s learning styles. Pupils are fully involved with their planning and learning. Next steps are highlighted with and for the pupils with full pupil participation from EYFS to year 2. The children are involved in marking their own work, peer to peer marking and regularly review their progress against the targets set. This results in pupils being very aware of the school’s expectations and the links to progress as well as the celebration processes within the school – i.e. the school regularly celebrates the learning of each pupil through the assembly process.
- Element 8: The school has focused on developing its external environment which is Eco focused and provides a range of learning approaches for all age groups. A full range of ICT equipment is available to extend the learning and provide opportunities for pupils to use and apply their core subject skills. Classrooms and other learning spaces are bright, engaging and active. Learning walls lead the children to consider both what they want to learn in their approach to the current topic and reinforces their current learning and teacher expectations. Teachers are exploring how to effectively display the pupils learning journey.
- Element 9: Parents and Carers are actively involved in the life of the school. Parents believe that the school does everything it can to include them and that they are kept fully informed in the progress of their children. Communication with parents is good and an effective range of approaches are used to include as many parents as possible. The school shares the range of teaching strategies with parents and the transition of new pupils (EYFS on entry) movement within the school and into the Junior School is strong for the individual pupil. Parents appreciate the work of the staff at the school “The school does so much, so well” and link this, not just to the emotional and developmental aspects of the child but also the hard work and dedication of staff towards their child’s academic development. The parents recognise the inclusive nature of the school and how it works hard to make all parents feel involved and “Part of the life of your child’ whilst they are at school. Parents have an opportunity, through the website to also be more actively involved in the school’s homework system – with a full range of extension activities.
- Element 10; Monitoring of the school is detailed and rigorous. The school uses a range of internal systems and external agencies to evaluate the school, its work and its impact on the pupils. The school works closely with others across the Swan Partnership and with other local schools to ensure they are not complacent in their approach and to maintain their high expectations. Governors are actively involved in the school and its progress. The governors are well aware of their role and the need to understand briefly the operational working of the school in order to retain their focus on the strategic impact and direction. The Headteacher’s reports are informative and provide opportunities for governors to ask “why and how’ as well as asking for evidence to enable clarification and full triangulation. The Governors undertake a full range of audits, using link governors to feedback through reports to the full governing body.
Suggested areas for development in preparation for the next Quality Mark visit and links to the 10 Elements of the Quality Mark:
- Aspects of Element 6; To continue to embed the approaches to teaching including ‘Maths Mastery’, non-fiction texts and continue the school’s work on developing the pupils’ spelling skills and the application of known spelling rules.
- Aspects of Element 7; The school is aware of the range of gender attainment differences across the school that is cohort specific. The school may wish to explore (through their on-going gap analysis on entry to EYFS) whether this is based in the provision of any specific nursery provider; enabling the school to target support for the group of pupils prior to entry, linking CPD with specific nurseries etc. and/or consider the school’s own provision.
- Aspects of Element 8; The school has been exploring the different ways of engaging pupils and developing further the ‘mindfulness’ approach in all classes. The school may wish to embed this further through ‘best practice’ observations by teaching staff, where the strongest work can be seen and evidenced in pupil progress ensuring engagement versus passivity.