Senior Leadership Team Report: March – April 2014
Recruitment as always is an interesting process and in particular recruitment to core subjects. We have ensured that we have gone out to advert as early as possible to get good fields. This was particularly successful for English and we were fortunate to recruit two strong candidates. Maths has been slightly more problematic and whilst we have been fortunate to recruit a very competent NQT we are still looking for an additional Maths teacher. This is to provide “over-staffing”, which is a model we are keen to have in place for our core subjects to ensure that we always have a well-qualified staff in place. Our first round of interviews for science appointments was disappointing but after liaison with agencies and personal contacts we have made two strong appointments.
Internally Clare Hargarves has joined the senior team as Assistant Head for the Maths and Computing Faculty, as we feel it is important that our two key subjects are represented on the senior team and she will also line manage Andy Cornick’s work on whole school data.
A number of existing posts are being incorporated into an Extended SLT structure which will meet on a half-termly basis. This will include: Pete Watts as Senior Head of House; Richard Kirkby as Director of E-learning; Lynsey Rooker as SENCO; Andy Cornick as Progress Manager and a Director of CPD. This allows for more staff to experience the whole school aspects of the SLT and for their roles to influence whole school decision making.
We have also looked at the staffing structure in science and with little additional cost have been able to rework the TLR structure so that we will be able to have individual heads of separate sciences co-ordinated by the Head of Faculty. This has been enabled by the stepping down of the current Head of Chemistry and we feel it will provide a strong structure for the further development of science at Chesterton.
We have purchased software which allows us to film lessons to use for the coaching of teachers. We are very excited by this as it will be instrumental in developing our coaching programme for teaching staff. It will allow teachers to watch themselves teaching and for line managers and coaches to watch with the member of staff so that they can have a genuine real-time discussion about the lesson and how to improve it. Schools that have used this have found it to be incredibly effective in developing the quality of teaching. The Director of CPD will be leading on the implementation of this software, so that it is used by all staff effectively.
Update on new meeting structure
We are now well into the cycle of new Monday meetings. I have been able to go round to all the meetings in different departments and have been continually impressed with what I have observed. The quality of discussion amongst the teachers about learning and teaching has been excellent. Faculties are making good progress with developing their new schemes of learning and moderating assessments.
As you will be aware we have decided after our detailed evaluation process to continue with, and extend, our i-pad scheme as we have a firm belief that it is developing the quality of experience for students.
We have continued through the course of the year to develop our internal training for leaders in the school, with development days for both Heads of Faculty and Heads of House. We also ran a training day for TLR post holders who hold responsibility as seconds in faculty to help them consider their roles and how they can develop what they do even further to support the developments in school. The day was very successful and gave these members of staff opportunity to reflect on their roles and their contributions to the school improvement plan.
We have been in the process of advertising for volunteer mentors to work in school from September and have been really pleased with the varied applications we have received. We have advertised very widely and that seems to have been successful in supporting our recruitment process. It is our intention to begin a mentoring programme for some of our more vulnerable Y7 students when they first arrive in school to assist the transition process; we would hope in many cases the mentoring relationship would endure during all their time in school.
The mentors will be trained in June and start officially in September.
There has been significant exam preparation for our Y11 students with revision sessions running over Easter; a new revision website, a timetabled programme to run during study leave and lunchtime / after school revision sessions. We are reviewing the provision that we ran this year to see if there is anything we can improve and we will be surveying students shortly to get a sense of their experience and if there is anything additional that we could add.
We are also looking at how to support students earlier than Year 11 and have sought to extend our provision for Years 9 and 10. For our Y10 students we are going to have more structured revision prior to the mocks in the summer term; some revision assemblies and we are also running more intervention for those students who are currently underperforming which includes individual discussions with Heads of Faculty. Students who do not do as well as they might in the mocks will also have the summer to do additional revision and will be asked to re-do their mocks when they return in the new academic year. We will also be setting holiday homework for all subjects; will be starting Period 7 intervention in the summer term and holding sessions for parents about how to support their child in the summer terms for Y10 and Y9. The aim is to start everything earlier and provide even more time for supportive preparation.
We are also going to be holding a GCSE launch day for Y9 students in June. This will be a day considering how best to prepare for the transition to GCSE and will look at motivation, resilience and study skills. Again we are considering the best ways to support students as they participate in the GCSE process.
Realising Potential Cohort
We are continuing with our plans for our new Y7 cohort. This year we have worked with the primary schools to obtain more detailed information about students earlier and we will also be doing CAT tests with all students before they begin at Chesterton. We are keen to have all the information in place before September so we can plan our curriculum and interventions accordingly.
For our weaker students we are looking at having a more co-ordinated approach to their curriculum. All the teachers who will be teaching these students will have the opportunity to jointly plan the curriculum for these students and so will be able to focus on developing literacy and other essential skills. We have already purchased a reading support programme which we have just started using with our Y7 students and will use from September with our new intake.
We have an innovative spaces’ working group which are looking at how we can make our existing site and classrooms as engaging as possible for students to ensure that they are inspired. The group proposed that along with working on all classrooms we should endeavour to create a space that could be used as a lecture space; for breakout groups and for truly creative thinking. The working group proposed the staff room as the most logical space. We consulted with staff and we have agreed that we could create this space and work will begin over the summer.
We are currently trying to create records of our alumni, as we would like to begin to engage them more with school. We are currently working on a postcard campaign (with some great designs from students) where a group of existing students will write to former students to encourage them to get re-involved with the school. The hope is that this will prove to be useful in the future for encouraging successful alumni to provide inspiration for current students and also support fundraising initiatives.
Reading for pleasure
The school is continuing with its work on promoting reading for pleasure. This is building on previous literacy across the curriculum work and focusing more on creating a love of reading. There have been various events such as a balloon launch; a Manga illustration workshop and an evening of readings for World Book night. Similar events will be continuing throughout the term with some author visits and a Readathon challenge. We will also be looking at the library space and considering how best to make it as inviting as possible.
The work on the corridors is now complete and this has had a significant impact on the feel of the building. The work has continued over the Easter holiday, consisting of a re-vamp of reception with new lighting, paintwork and some professionally printed student digital artwork. The work on painting and lighting is continuing; it is helping to achieve a much more modern and appealing feel around the site.
We will also know at the end of April if we have been successful with two capital bids.