Impact since the Last Inspection 5-6th November 2019
Since our last inspection, our school has been working incredibly hard on developing our ethos, curriculum and leadership as well as on the learning behaviours of our children.
The curriculum is not well sequenced. Current plans need to be expanded upon so that they give more detail. They need to include the skills and knowledge that pupils need to gain in each year group. They need to show teachers what to teach and when to teach it. Plans need to ensure that pupils build knowledge sequentially in all subjects. (Ofsted 2019)
When Ofsted last visited, we had just begun formulating our knowledge-based curriculum. It was in its infancy and staff had just taken on new subject leadership roles across our federation. Now, our school has a sequenced, coherent curriculum for all subjects that develops and builds on knowledge. It is divided into Key Stages and operates on a two or four yearly rolling basis. Our Curriculum Overview document denotes what should be taught and when.
As a federation, it was very important to us that we created children who had a strong sense of belonging. That, at a young age, they were secure in the knowledge that they belonged to their family and what that meant to them. Then, as they grew, they understood about belonging to school, church, or groups such as Rainbows or a football club. We wanted them to have strong self-belief so that they were ready for their next stages of life, transitioned well, and became young adults with a community-minded spirit ready for the diverse world we lived in. With this in mind, we developed themes for our half terms (e.g. belonging, curiosity and excitement, heroes) and built our curriculum around these. History was also another focal point for our federation because we are in an area with such strong historical development.
This work is by no means finished. We are developing ‘knowledge organisers’ that will help the children and their families understand the knowledge we are delivering and they will have the quizzes we are intending to use to commit that knowledge to memory.
The role of the subject leader in some subjects is at an early stage of development. All subject leaders need to have opportunities to develop their subject knowledge and to keep up to date with new developments. They need to have regular opportunities to identify strengths and weaknesses in their subjects. They then need to use this knowledge to offer appropriate challenge and support to their colleagues so that academic standards continue to rise. (Ofsted 2019)
Our maths, reading and writing leads have all had the opportunity now to visit the federation schools and build their understanding of the strengths and developmental needs. They have led training and planning sessions within the federation and have conducted a basic audit or moderation too.
These subject leads, together with the lead for history and geography, are now working on a rigorous monitoring programme for subject leads to use to maintain a comprehensive knowledge of their subject(s).
Additionally, in this interim period, subject leaders have been provided with a summary document to aid them with the auditing of their subject(s).
There is further work and processes to be put in place as we develop our monitoring systems and subject leads will have further developmental opportunities.
Challenge and Resilience
Leaders need to make sure that more pupils reach and exceed the expected standards at key stage 2 in reading, writing and mathematics. Pupils are not always challenged well enough. Sometimes, their tasks are too easy. Leaders should support teachers to use information about what pupils already know and can do to plan activities. They should ensure that the curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to work on demanding tasks, so they are able to learn more. (Ofsted 2019)
Many pupils in key stage 2 do not try hard and do their best. They do not have positive attitudes to learning. They stop trying when tasks are hard. Teachers need to make sure that pupils know that only their best is good enough. They need to ensure that pupils engage well in their learning. (Ofsted 2019)
Challenge for pupils was being addressed at the point of Ofsted. Leaders hold half-termly progress meetings where each child is discussed, their progress and data are monitored and next steps developed. Teachers bring the children’s assessment data and books to these meetings so that all information is triangulated, so forming a clear picture of the pupils’ needs.
The maths subject lead was beginning to plan with staff members to develop their understanding of the planning and delivery process and to address the challenge for all children. This has been inhibited because of the pandemic situation.
Alongside this work, the school has had to develop the children’s resilience levels and learning behaviours. For too long the children have not only had a restricted curriculum but one that put few demands on their learning. When we began to look at raising the expectations of our learning behaviour, we found the children had nothing to draw from to help them work independently, solve problems, redraft their learning or be good learning partners.
To address this, sessions on Growth Mindset and Metacognition were held. The children established Co-operative Learning groups too. The children were in a strong place prior to lockdown one but when they returned, some of this learning required revisiting. Through this lockdown, the children have actively participated in the online learning sessions, completing the work to a better standard than last time.
This area is harder to show impact as the Year 6 SATs have been postponed. Our predicted results for last year would have shown 90% at expected level or above in reading, 82% in writing and 82% in mathematics (a cohort of 11). This year our December 2020 predictions were 89% at expected level or above in reading, 67% in writing and 78% in mathematics (cohort of 9). As we have entered another lockdown, these predictions remain unrevised for the time being.
Vision and Values
The vision and values that leaders and governors hold are not known by all stakeholders. Leaders need to share their vision and values with all stakeholders and why these have been chosen. They also need to make sure that all stakeholders understand the ethos they are intended to promote. (Ofsted 2019)
There are two aspects here: the Christian ethos and the school ethos.
The messages from both staff and children were very muddled regarding the school vision and this was not running through the school. Therefore, the Ripley STAR was formulated with staff, a governor working party and children. Share, Trust, Aspire and Respect became our vision that runs through school policies, Celebratory Worship and the home school agreement. Alongside this, we created the strapline ‘Aim for the Stars’.
‘We work together (share) with reliance and support (trust) so that we can all flourish (aspire) in a world where everyone's talents, skills and experiences are recognised (respect). This makes our Ripley Star: Share, Trust, Aspire, Respect, each point helping to form the star just as we help form our school.’ This statement reflects the journey our school is on and our vision, which is built around 1 Thessalonians 5:1: ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing'.
Work with the children to introduce and embed this has now been fulfilled and each Friday, children are picked to receive the Star of the Week award for something that they have done that reflects our vision. If children have had an altercation with another school member, the reflection is brought back to this, if someone needs support, Ripley Endowed uses this to help.
This work will continue to grow as we revisit our vision and values with each new intake of children.
There was also much work still to be done surrounding our Christian Values. Using the STAR, the Christian Values of Friendship, Trust, Hope and Reverence & Respect were chosen to underpin our vision. We have introduced these and now further work is planned to embed them throughout the school, governors, parents and staff.
With the formation of a Distinctiveness Committee (Foundation Governors, the Vicar and head teacher), our work within the community has strengthened and the children are forming strong ties with the local residents. We continue the amazing work we do as a school for charities but have selected two which reflect our vision and values to support specifically.
It has been a period of rapid development, but we are proud of our achievements and growth.
Please find below a link to the most recent Ofsted report.