Hatchell Wood Primary School – Headteacher Jeremy Harris
We decided to work with Partners in Learning when it was set up as an opportunity to network and develop good practice with other schools. We have accessed various levels of support and professional development over the last three years. It has become a key part of school development and support in Doncaster.
When we first joined Partners in Learning, our school had a ‘requires improvement’ judgement therefore we welcomed the opportunity to work with a local leader, to access various training and development courses such as improving and outstanding teacher programmes as well as curriculum courses.
Partners in Learning was a key part of our successful journey from requires improvement to good in October 2014. We had £6,000 of funding allocated which was used for local leader support. This was focussed on checking school judgements of teaching and learning with the Local Leader. We then worked with them to identify areas of school improvement, targeted and supported identified groups through the Achievement for All initiative and developed two members of staff through the outstanding teachers programme. The results of the school were on a continuous rising trend for four consecutive years, particularly in pupil progress, up to 2016. This was particularly encouraging as the school has gone from 246 children to 401 with a large percentage increase in pupil premium children over the same time period. We are now looking to continue that upward trend in the new testing era.
In November 2014, after we had successfully gained a good grade from Ofsted, we looked at how our school could support the work of Partners in Learning and further develop the talent of our staff. This is crucial to the success of the alliance as it is through supporting each other that it has become so successful. We have benefitted but also wanted to support. I successfully applied for the Local Leaders in Education accreditation and have supported other schools in Local Leader work, New headteacher support and safeguarding audits. Three members of the staff have taken part in the middle leader courses offered through Partners in Learning and have subsequently contributed significantly to key areas of our school development. We are now looking at how they could become specialist leaders in education. We also offer facilities for Partners in Learning meetings.
Copley Junior School – Headteacher Liz Crayton
I joined Copley Junior as Headteacher in September 2013. Initial school self-evaluation identified a number of school improvement priorities. When the school was inspected after one term, in January 2014, the school was graded as ‘requiring improvement’, with behaviour and safety of pupils judged as ‘good’. The report recognised that, ‘the Headteacher has taken decisive action to improve pupils’ progress and the quality of teaching. She has developed a strong sense of purpose among all staff and there are signs that the school is beginning to improve.’ The report recognised the quick action taken to form a link with a good school in the locality to support our drive for school improvement.
I have really valued the support from Partners in Learning. Our journey of school improvement saw the appointment of new teachers and senior leaders, implementation of a new curriculum model, formulation of new assessment procedures and fundamental change to our approach to teaching and learning. Through Partners in Learning, we greatly valued working with both a good and an outstanding school in our locality. Our allocated support budget was targeted at enabling subject leaders from our link school to meet our subject leaders to discuss and review school improvement priorities and curriculum development. Paired lesson observations, book scrutiny and moderation of assessment, and participation in teaching and learning reviews all supported our drive for rapid school improvement. Throughout this time our partnership with Kathy Wild and our StEP, Julie Sandham, provided high quality rigour, challenge and support.
In April 2016 Copley Junior was judged as a good school. Leadership and management and personal development, behaviour and welfare were judged as outstanding. Our school now has an incredibly strong and talented staffing team and we are able to offer support to other schools. Our 2016 Ofsted recognised that we ‘are helping other schools to: moderate pupils’ English work; develop assessment systems; improve the leadership of special educational needs, as well as develop innovative ways to support pupils’ personal and social development.’ The courses and conferences offered by Partners in Learning provide high quality training to support our continued drive for improvement.
Tickhill St Mary’s C of E Primary School – Headteacher Janet Sanderson
Being a member of Partners in Learning has benefitted our school as they provide high quality CPD events and training enabling a positive impact in the classroom or in a leadership capacity. Bespoke training is available to specifically meet the needs of each school and indeed each individual. Professional dialogue and challenge is valued by leaders.
The areas in need of development had been identified by the school (further development of FS, whole school questioning and ensuring greater consistency in the quality of teaching between key stages). Working together with the LLE, who suggested different approaches and gave us practical help, we were able to improve outcomes. Our membership fees were allocated by having 1:1 sessions in classrooms with specific staff together with whole school training at staff meetings.
The Partners in Learning courses and support helped the development of professional practice, support and confidence to less experienced staff, development of leadership potential in more experienced staff. We initially began with an Ofsted judgement of Requires Improvement and are now Good.