Setting out educational ideas for high achieving girls
Teaching and Learning Update
End of Term Report
This has been a term of enormous successes, and while the teaching staff, the girls, and the parents all feel as if they are about to collapse with exhaustion, it does us well to reflect on what we have achieved this term. Let’s start with a quick video
School Development Plan
Our School Development Plan focuses on two teaching areas.
1) We have been developing a new system to track and help our girls to do well. This system is called SISRA. It has become an increasingly rich way of helping the girls, comparing their progress against their targets, against how they did in the last assessment(s) and how they’re doing across their subjects. It is not a faultless system and our use of SIMS to track effort has become more refined, and we would like to commend the work of Mr McSweeney, who came new to the school in September and who has been developing this area.
2) The second area has been to develop ways of stretching the most able, and supporting those who find it harder to do as well as they could. We call this differentiation. Mrs Taylor has been leading a team developing independent learning to support this and the comments from staff and parents have helped to support this process. Our lesson planning sheets (have a look at one here) reflect the need to target different levels of learners in one’s class. One of our HMI consultants commended these planning sheets as excellent examples of outstanding practice.
Sixth Form Inspection
In November we asked a team of HMIs to come in and look at the Sixth Form. Their report was a positive analysis of our post 16 work, giving us useful ideas about how to develop (track them in this column in the weeks ahead!) and reminding us of what we are doing well. The ability of the school community to critically look at its own work is vital, especially as we cannot expect Ofsted to visit the school as a matter of course because of our Outstanding status.
We also got our Raise On Line as November moved into December. This shows the official record of how the school is doing up to Year 11. We were hugely gratified by the many fine results in it, ones where the departments have achieved massively successful GCSE results, but the headline figure will always be the Value Added. How have our girls achieved in terms of how they might be, statistically, expected to achieve?
The bench mark is (oddly) 1000 – this is the national mark that we aspire to achieve. In 2011 our girls achieved 1009.1. In 2012 they achieved 1024.6. This year we found that our girls achieved 1027.2 – an excellent statement of outstanding progress.
Other areas of importance
We also found that we needed to revisit three old favourites that have again come onto the radar of the School Inspectorate and our own school self evaluation.
Literacy is a massive area for this school, with a great track record. Miss McGarrigle has been driving this through with new teams and new ideas. GCSEs in key “writing” subjects (History, RS, Geography, MFL as well as English) now carry SPaG marks – spelling, punctuation and grammar. We need consistency with using literacy in our marking, using the punctuation policy in planners and incorporating ideas into lessons.
Numeracy is also key, and new A Levels reflect this with focussed marks for Maths, Chemistry and Physics, but also in Geography, Business Studies, Economics, Computer Studies, Psychology and Biology. Miss Buchanan has been working to develop ideas in this area – we will be meeting after Christmas to plan how to achieve a common school approach.
The third area, Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) will be the next area for us to tackle.
Finally, a massive end of term well done for English, For every year since 2007 we have been designated the top school nationally for A level English Language. This year is no exception. Well done to the English Department – and excellent end to an outstanding term’s work from all departments.
Can I also remind staff and parents that the school website and an increasing plethora of Twitter Feeds allow all to access what is going on in the vibrant and dynamic world of learning in our school. Please follow these to keep informed, and encourage the girls to do so as well.