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School Improvement

by Michael Ford last modified 11 Mar, 2021 01:57 PM
The SDBE school improvement model ensures the accelerated achievement of all pupils.

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The Improving Schools Programme (ISP) forms the basic model adopted across the diocese. Working in partnership with schools, it will be finely tuned to accelerate improvement and respond to the needs of the whole learning community, including the teachers. This is an effective model with a discernible impact on pupil achievement and sustainable, whole-school improvement.

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How does it work?

All school improvement work with schools across the diocese is based on recognising that:

  1. Schools, academies and multi-academy trusts are autonomous and responsible for their own improvement
  2. Close partnership working, including school-to-school collaboration, leads to effective improvement, demonstrating a collective responsibility for every child and young person
  3. The Christian ethos supports a moral imperative for good outcomes for all children and young people, transforming their lives

Accurate self-evaluation lies at the heart of the process, ensuring that leaders identify strengths and clear priorities for improvement that accurately reflect the position of the school. The programme ensures robust self-evaluation by using a wide range of evidence including regular reviews of each child's attainment and progress and the views of all stakeholders, especially learners, parents and carers. This process also includes a comparison with similar schools, both locally and nationally.

A twelve-weekly cycle in each school - analysis, action, evaluation and review - focuses on what needs improving. Each component within the programme is as important as the others, working together to support robust self-evaluation and ensure that each school becomes outstanding by securing 'beyond-expectation' outcomes for each child.

Searching analysis and effective use of data from accurate termly assessments informs a six-weekly, whole-school action plan to raise attainment and accelerate progress across the school. The ISP is particularly effective in schools where there are groups of children vulnerable to under-performance, such as SEN, FSM or EAL.

Raising Attainment Plans drive improvement by focusing on what needs to improve quickly and putting priorities into action. These priorities are informed by self-evaluation, and link to the strategic School Improvement Plan and Ofsted/HMI findings. Each plan includes key actions, monitoring arrangements and success criteria, with key milestones and unambiguous intended outcomes for children's learning and progress.

The ISP establishes a culture of accountability across each school by adopting consistent management systems and processes. These create an open culture, forging greater transparency across the whole school and fostering collective accountability and responsibility for improved outcomes for each child. This is further strengthened through the performance management processes, which focus on achieving outstanding teaching and learning.

Areas of weakness are identified using the six-weekly cycle of pupil tracking and priorities for whole-school and individual professional development are also identified. Teaching strategies are targeted, to ensure consistent practice across the school and that outstanding teaching is achieved. Teachers are expected to be leaders of learning in their own classrooms and across schools, demonstrating optimal pedagogic approaches which make a positive difference to children’s learning and achievement. As a result, in-school variation will be eliminated, the needs of groups and individual children will be met and gaps will be narrowed through continuous improvement.

All actions relating to the school’s improvement priorities are implemented rigorously, and impact on pupil outcomes is evaluated effectively. Senior leaders discuss and agree key outcomes emerging from termly monitoring and evaluation activities; outcomes and actions are then shared with all staff and stakeholders. Timetabled, six-weekly forums between the leadership and individual teachers - to discuss the progress of children - are a key component of this part of the cycle. These pupil progress meetings are based on a range of evidence, celebrating success and identifying actions to overcome the barriers to learning.

We will work with each school to drive school improvement against school priorities informed by self-evaluation. Effective practice will be applied consistently across the school and areas of weakness will be strengthened and resolved.

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