Our Self Evaluation
We are always looking for ways to improve. Part of this process requires us to take at look at where we currently are. Please scroll down and you will find our latest Self Evaluation Form (SEF).
In September 2017, we invited an external School Improvement Partner to carry out an audit right across school. The audit included, amongst other things, conversations with children, lesson observations, book scrutinies and an evaluation of safeguarding and behaviour. The key findings are summarised below:
ACOCKS GREEN PRIMARY SCHOOL
SIP MONITORING VISIT 15th SEPTEMBER 2017
Key Focus of the Visit
- Monitoring senior leaders’ self-evaluation of the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.
- Monitoring aspects of pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare.
The SIP spent the day visiting classrooms, including looking at books that were readily available, as well as talking with children at social times and in lessons, and with parents at the start of the school day.
1a) The culture for learning
- Leaders have created a culture that enables both pupils and staff to thrive and achieve their best. Relationships between staff at all levels and the children are highly positive and this creates a warm and vibrant atmosphere in lessons and during social times.
- High expectations permeate the school in terms of both learning and behaviour. Staff across the team take pride in the school and in their areas of responsibility e.g.
- the mid day cleaner who wanted the premises to be clean and sparkling as she knew the message it sent;
- the cooks who greet the children, staff and visitors like valued diners and know the children who would benefit from additional ‘feeding up’;
- dinner supervisors who section the playground so that they can vigilantly monitor the children’s play (which was overwhelmingly positive);
- the office personnel who provide such a positive ‘front-line’ greeting;
- the support staff who know and care about the children as individuals – taking time to enquire about their life outside school whilst constantly challenging the children to learn more.
- All of the above wider network of relationships and provision provides a fertile foundation on which the teaching staff can build. With the support and guidance of their leaders, teachers provide pleasant, well-organised, calm and purposeful classrooms in which children can enjoy their learning challenges.
- Many staff were observed dealing quietly and sensitively with children who have particular needs, refocussing energies without impinging on the flow of the lesson for the rest of the cohort.
- Underlying the positive and caring ethos is a relentless focus and ambition that all pupils can and will achieve well, regardless of their different starting points.
- The colourful and well-presented displays around school contribute strongly to the positive culture for learning and the expectation that pupils will play a constructive role as young citizens of the future (for more about this see under curriculum provision in section 1b below.
1b) Curriculum Provision
- The children at Acocks Green enjoy a broad, rich and varied curriculum which inspires them to work hard and achieve their best.
- Lesson activity on the day of the monitoring visit included English and mathematics, religious education, history, PE, art and design and food technology. Visits and visitors are carefully integrated into curriculum plans in order to provide information and stimulus e.g. a visiting teacher from King Edward’s Grammar School was supporting a history session on the Egyptians in Y3, whilst Y2 will shortly be visiting a Christian church in the locality to expand on their RE unit of work. The whole school has joined the National Trust for minimal expense and, with the operation of the school’s two mini buses, the school can take whole classes to local venues at very low cost. This seems to be great value for money!
- The school blog, together with displays around school provide strong evidence of broader curriculum coverage to underpin the National Curriculum. The evidence shows that the curriculum promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding and enhances their understanding of British values and what it means to contribute positively to life in modern Britain. Displays on democracy, road safety, equalities and gardening were all in evidence alongside routine celebrations of high quality writing across the curriculum. Many of these themes provide broader opportunities for the children to engage with and contribute positively to the local community, for instance, the garden club’s participation in the local Horticultural Show (congratulations on the winning peas!)
- The school’s approach to cursive handwriting is now well embedded across the school and this aspect of children’s work is very significantly improved. Children now begin to develop pleasing cursive styles in key stage 1 and older pupils write fluently and legibly using cursive script. Allied to clear and high expectations about lay-out and presentation, the children’s books are a pleasure to look at and examples of work from across the school are displayed with pride in the corridor by the office. This simple idea sets the expectation for learners and provides a great exemplification for visitors of the standards being achieved.
1c) Parental Engagement
- The head and other senior staff have been proactive in developing a broad repertoire of strategies to engage parents in the life and work of the school so that they are better able to support their children at home.
- Parents [and grandparents] were welcomed into the nursery setting on what, for some of these young learners, was their first day at school. Families had been clearly briefed about what to expect at the start of the school day: parents commented that they had chosen the school due to:-
- Its excellent reputation
- family connections at the school (in some cases, parents themselves had attended the school)
- proximity to home
- Key stage 1 parents were observed taking full advantage of the school’s open-door policy at the start of school. Many parents appreciate this opportunity to bring their child into school from 8.15 so they can get to work, whilst others enjoy the chance to chat to staff and/or fellow parents whilst their children enjoy a free breakfast. The organisation of this provision is highly efficient and creates a relaxed, welcoming and safe ambiance for the children – even the youngest of whom show they understand the routines as they move calmly and happily from a sociable breakfast into class.
- On the day of the SIPs monitoring visit, many KS1 parents stayed to enjoy the awards assembly to celebrate the achievements (learning and personal/social) of this week’s ‘super stars’. The reception pupils – new to these assembly routines were settled and eager to share the experience with their parents.
1d) The quality of teaching, learning and assessment
- Teachers and support staff are well-prepared for their lessons and learning challenges are consistent across year groups, indicating collaborative work on planning.
- Time was used very effectively, for example, with learning challenges available as soon as the children entered class in the mornings and lessons almost always starting very promptly after any sort of break. Immediately prior to dinner time, dinner supervisors are recruited to provide additional reading opportunities for children who benefit from 1:1 reads. This not only supports learning but strengthens relationships.
- Teachers and support staff demonstrated strong subject knowledge and questions were usually very well pitched to the understanding of different learners in the classes/groups.
- Learning objectives are routinely displayed in classrooms and are usually supported with accompanying success criteria (TBS or to be successful ….. i.e. pupils need to include these elements). Most staff had pitched the TBS well with a progression of criteria appropriate to the year group. Well done to those teachers who constantly wove these criteria into their lessons and reminded the children about checking their work against the TBS.
- Good quality resources are readily available and the SIP was pleased to see dictionaries and thesauri routinely available. Some practical equipment was in evidence for mathematics sessions, but this was particularly for children working with support staff who found the subject more difficult. How are you using practical equipment to support your implementation of Singapore Maths?
- Teachers checked pupils’ understanding through questioning, through pupil self-assessment (thumbs up/down) and through monitoring learning challenges. In the best examples seen, where misconceptions arose, teachers quickly identified this and used the errors to reshape the learning. Sometimes this involved further modelling by the teacher.
- When given the opportunity, pupils discuss issues in a thoughtful manner, showing respect for one another’s views and patience when dealing with peers who may find it particularly difficult to articulate their ideas or those for whom specific concepts are new. This was seen in one of the Y2 classes where the teacher thoughtfully led her diverse class of young learners through a discussion about Christian symbols in stained glass windows as part of the RE unit of work.
- Pupils are keen to talk to visitors and will explain their learning challenges – although sometimes they lack the vocabulary, deeper thinking and/or reasoning skills to fully expand on their knowledge and skills. This is particularly evident when asked to justify their mathematical reasoning.
- There is a good range and volume of work in books two weeks into the start of term = including work across the whole curriculum. Presentation of work is excellent: as noted previously, this is substantially enhanced by the high standards of cursive handwriting but also by adherence to a clear ‘house style’ across the school.
- The books clearly show how a sequence or unit of work is developing for example, the work on Charlotte’s Web in Y6 which was enthusing the children over the course of the week (the SIP had seen the beginning of this on the previous Wednesday when she had been in school) …. By the subsequent Friday, Wilbur the pig had been ‘pignapped’ which was generating some some high quality newspaper reports!
- Cross curricular work is often of a high standard.
1e) Personal development, behaviour and welfare (PDBW)
- Pupils demonstrate excellent attitudes to learning and even when they find aspects of it difficult they show persistence and strive to do their best. This makes a strong and positive impact on the progress they make in their lessons.
- The children are proud of their achievements and of their school and are eager to talk to visitors.
- Pupils’ behaviour at breakfast club, in lessons, and in public areas such as the dining hall, and on the playground is impeccable. Children are self-disciplined and able to regulate their own relationships and conduct – as shown by the very light touch need for adult supervision in the dining hall and breakfast clubs. Pupils’ conduct demonstrates very effective impact from the well-considered strategies to promote high standards of behaviour.
- A number of individual pupils have more challenging emotional and behavioural needs. Provision for these pupils is comprehensive and well-tailored to meet the requirements of individual children e.g. nurture groups, new multi-sensory room in nursery, lunch-time activities to structure this period for children who need it and constant verbal ‘checking in’ with adults from all sectors of the school staff. The children are known by all as individuals, and this ethos of knowing and valuing every child, permeates the school. The SIP spent time with a number of individual children with more complex behavioural needs who have grown in confidence and maturity since her last evaluative review due to the effective provision from teaching and support staff. These pupils are showing great improvement in their ability to manage their own impulses and energies; in consequence, they are applying themselves much more consistently to their learning.
- All 60 reception children gathered in the hall for birthday celebrations at ‘drinks time’. This was then followed with an enthusiastic bout of musical statues to the accompaniment of Stevie Wonder’s rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’. Two weeks into term, the children showed impressive listening skills, good spatial awareness, and super gross motor skills. This was a lovely example of kinaesthetic learning that the children greatly enjoyed; this positive engagement contributed really well to pupils’ excellent behaviour.