Response to Ofsted Inspection

2nd June 2015

Dear Parents and Carers,

Following on from our Ofsted inspection, I am writing to outline how we are beginning to meet the action points identified within the report.  As was mentioned in the letter that accompanied the report, we were pleased that these action points did not come as a surprise to us as we were already working towards these areas.

Action point 1:
Marking does not always give pupils sufficient guidance in how to improve their work.

What does this mean?
The report stated that, “There are some good examples of teachers’ marking; however, on occasions pupils are not given sufficient guidance on how to improve their work.” When a pupil is working independently (i.e. not in a teacher or teaching assistant focus group), their English and Maths work is marked in more detail, with successes and development points recorded. These comments relate back to the original learning objective. Feedback marking is vital in supporting children to improve their learning.  This feedback needs to be more focused and importantly, dedicated time needs to be set aside each day for the pupils to respond to the feedback marking.

What are we already doing about it?
A feedback and marking policy was introduced in October 2014, following consultation with the staff and pupils. All teachers and teaching assistants have had training in effective feedback marking. The Governors and Senior Leadership Team have been monitoring the implementation of the feedback and marking policy, which included speaking with the pupils about it.

What will we be doing?
We are now discussing the best way to ‘ring-fence’ time each day for pupils to respond to the feedback they receive in their books. We are looking at how other schools plan their timetable and considering what would work best at St Peter’s. 

Action point 2:
The most able pupils are not always sufficiently challenged to complete more demanding work, to make more rapid progress.

What does this mean?
This is primarily aimed at the progress children were making between statutory assessments. Certain groups of pupils were not making rapid progress between their Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 SATs.  The report states:
“Occasionally, expectations for the most able pupils are not high enough. As a result, the progress made by these pupils remains good rather than outstanding.”

What are we already doing about it?
Since September 2013, a number of systems have been put in place to challenge pupils more, and move away from the experiences of a significant amount of worksheet-based learning that was evident in September 2013.

The report stated:
"The headteacher has provided a clear vision for the future of the school. He has made sure that the school has a much higher expectation of its pupils and teachers. There is a strong culture for learning and a desire to be successful."

[Teachers] "skillfully question pupils to check their understanding and to extend their thinking."

Since September 2013, there are more rigorous and robust monitoring and tracking systems in place to track all groups of pupils.

"Rigorous tracking helps leaders and teachers identify any pupils at risk of falling behind and they are given additional support to catch up."

The creation of an Inclusion Leader role (rather than just special needs co-ordinator) ensures that there is a senior member of staff who is responsible and accountable for all groups of pupils, rather than just the select few groups that a SENCo is responsible for. 

What will we be doing?

We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the new systems and learning experiences that are in place.
We will be working with other schools in our collaboration on developing challenging experiences for more able pupils within the confines of the new National Curriculum.
We will be increasing the number of teachers for some year groups, during some key learning times, to increase the amount of times a child works with an adult each week.

Action point 3:
Some middle leaders do not have the experience to be fully effective in improving the quality of teaching.

What does this mean?
Due to some subject leaders and middle leaders being relatively new to their role, they are still developing their skills in these areas. As a small school, all teaching staff who are not in their first year of teaching take on a leadership role of some description. Due to the size of the school, many of these roles are offered to staff who have not had experience of this type of leadership before, and are therefore growing into these roles, with the support of the senior leaders in the school.

What are we doing about it?
Leaders at all levels meet throughout the year with colleagues from the EduCant collaboration (other schools in the Canterbury area). Core subject leaders and Key Stage leaders receive additional mentoring and coaching from senior leaders in the school and from the Local Authority. All subject leaders receive additional release time from class to support them with their leadership responsibilities. Through the appraisal process, all staff with a leadership responsibility identify their professional development needs and this is planned into the school continuous professional development programme.

What will we be doing?
Key stage leaders will be undertaking a national professional qualification from the National College for Teaching and Leadership.  All staff with a leadership responsibility will be provided with training and support focused around rigorous monitoring processes.

We are about to begin writing our school improvement plan for the 2015 – 2016 academic year and these development areas will obviously feature highly within it.

As part of this process, I would like to invite you to share any areas that you feel we need to include within our school improvement plan under the following headings:
• Achievement and Attainment
• Teaching and Learning
• Behaviour and Safety
• Leadership and Management
• Early Years
• Buildings and Learning Environments
Please either email me or send them into the school office by 3rd July.
We will also be discussing priorities for these areas with the pupils, staff and governors.
Thank you for your ongoing support,
Yours sincerely,

Mr R. Garratt