School Strategy for Change
Deeplish Community Primary School – Strategy for Change
School vision and distinctive aims:
At Deeplish Community Primary School we aim to enable everyone to reach their potential, developing their individual gifts in a secure, stimulating environment which celebrates diversity.
Our distinctive aim is to enable learners to extend English language skills whilst experiencing a broad and rich curriculum that recognises pupils’ cultural backgrounds.
The school is committed to the principles of Every Child Matters - of improving the achievements, education, health and life chances of vulnerable families through multi-disciplinary working and extended provision. We are an inclusive school welcoming all pupils and responding to their diverse needs. Alongside the key skills in literacy and numeracy we want pupils to develop skills and attitudes that will be of huge benefit to them as they grow older: the ability to communicate orally at a high level, perseverance, cooperation, taking responsibility for their own learning, the ability to work independently, confidence to find solutions when faced with problems and creativity.
A Children’s Centre is attached to the School, our nursery is in this unit and both opened in January 2002. The Headteacher manages the buildings and leads education provision in the nursery class. Other provision is lead by the Children’s Centre Manager. The Headteacher and the Children’s Centre Manager work closely together to support positive outcomes for families. We are committed to signposting access to provision for parents. eg Citizens' advice, health, nutrition, dental health, parenting classes etc. We have 0.5 Family Support Worker working within school to provide family support in areas of language learning and strategies enabling parents to support their children’s learning. Family links are a very important feature of Deeplish work. Parents are welcome in school – we have regular parent sessions e.g. for ICT and reading to increase parental understanding of the skills pupils are developing. We continue to work on creating links with parents and hope to establish more ways in which we can enable parents to better support their children.
We believe that the majority of our children should achieve at expected levels as a matter of equal opportunities although attainment on entry is well below the national average. Strategies for teaching pupils with English as an Additional Language are integral across the curriculum
Delivering a rich curriculum and developing oral language skills across the school are ongoing school priorities.
The School Context and the Community it Serves:
The school has 361 learners. This includes 52 part-time nursery pupils.
There are significantly more boys on roll than girls. There are 199 boys (55.1%) on role and 162 girls (44.9%).
98% of pupils are of Muslim heritage, from mainly Pakistani roots.
Children from other backgrounds include English, Bengali, Kurdish, Afghani, Iranian and Polish pupils. There are 3 white pupils and 3 white/Asian pupils; Of these pupils 98.5% are Muslim, 0.5% have no faith 0.3% Christian, 0.3%Sikh and 0.3% Jehovah’s Witness.
The school has a Determination from the local SACRE so that collective worship does not have to be of a mainly Christian character. We are not a school with a religious character. The school is using this to cater to the needs of the children in enriching their knowledge of diversity in the wider world.
Pupils come to school with a wide variety of language skills. The majority are Punjabi speakers, some children have Urdu and Mirpuri as their first language. Other languages spoken are Arabic, Polish, Bengali, Pharsee, English, Kurdish, Swahili, Pashto.
There are 4 asylum seekers.
The Deeplish area of Rochdale scores highly on deprivation indices of unemployment, overcrowding and health issues. The IDACI indicates that 98% of the school’s population are within the 30% most deprived in the country. Criminal activity locally is linked to prostitution and drug taking.
There are 61 pupils on the special needs list; 44 at school action (12%) and 12 at school action plus (3%). Five pupils have statements of special educational needs (1.4%). This constitutes 17%of pupils. In addition - 5 Pupils have been accepted into nursery with challenging learning difficulties – 3 are in the process of receiving a statement of educational needs.
The majority of pupils are acquiring English as an additional language, with 183 deemed to be at the early stages as assessed using Rochdale fluency scales. They are mainly based in Foundation and Key Stage 1. 10 different languages are spoken as a first language in addition to English. Only 20 pupils list English as a first language. The language of the home is not English for the vast majority of the pupils; school is the primary place where English is learnt and practised. Home has limited ability to develop, build on and extend the work of the school. Children's out of school social experiences are often not in an English speaking context.
Many parents choose to take children out of school for extended visits usually to Pakistan. Many children will have made more than one visit during their primary school education missing significant blocks of education.
The number of new arrivals to England who join the school each year varies, 5 pupils in 2006/2007, 1 pupil 2007/2008 and 4 in 2008/2009 to date.
Now that the government has privatised the accommodation processes for asylum seekers it is possible that there will be more demand for places from asylum seeker families taking up private rented accommodation in the area.
Pupils / families on roll have largely been stable. Mobility in 2007/2008 - 20 children joined the school and 22 children left. Mobility in 2008/2009 - 22 children joined the school and 14 children left (to date).
26% of learners are entitled to free school meals. This does not reflect the number of families who could be eligible – as parents and extended family are often at home they may not apply and children do not always take up their entitlement.
School data shows that FSM pupils achieve better than non FSM pupils. We expect that with our new on-site kitchen facilities, pupils’ diet will improve and that more pupils will access school lunches. The cooking kitchen is scheduled to open in April 2009 and has been designed to cater for a 2 form entry intake. We will trial the new menus provided by the authority and adapt them according to pupil responses and dietary requirements.
Learners tend to live in a stable, well- established ethnic minority community, mostly in terraced housing in close proximity to the school. Around 10% of families are relatively affluent.
The proximity of the Children’s Centre and of the Deeplish Community Centre creates a campus environment for families with young children in the local community. The school works with the Community Centre and with the Children’s Centre to support family needs and to signpost them to different services.
We are linked with a local High School that has Sports Development status. We are affiliated to the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust via our curricular links with a second High School that has Specialist Technology Status and with whom we have regular contact around Science and Design Technology teaching for Y5/6. Pupils access High School teaching facilities such as laboratories.
The school links with the local college, Hopwood Hall, to give employment opportunities to childcare trainees and offers modern apprenticeships. Links are also established with Manchester University to place graduate teacher trainees.
The school has a busy road running along one side and narrow, heavily parked roads on two other sides. Security afforded by current perimeter fencing is limited and is part of our School Development Plan. Safety offered by adjacent roads with double parking and blocked pavements is compromised for the children and families.
There is limited green space provision in the Deeplish area and the school playing field and playground have traditionally been used by local people (mostly young men) for recreational activities such as football out of school hours. Families and young children also access the space as a local amenity out of school hours. There is a local desire and need for this facility to continue although there is an ongoing tension with regard to respect for neighbours and the school grounds generated by some misuse of the facilities which can link to criminal activities in the area. We have close relationships with our PCSOs and the local police.
After-school clubs are popular as are inter school tournaments but pupils consistently show evidence of limited stamina and inexperience.
Neither community facilities nor the school are providing enough opportunity for the pupils to develop their physical stamina and skill levels. It is very important for the pupils that we continue to develop different ways of enabling them to do so.
We have achieved the Healthy Schools Award and we intend to build the new kitchen facilities into our provision for children to experience cooking activities. However this will not be suitable for all age groups and younger children will also need access to kitchen facilities.
Extended provision in place in school includes a Breakfast Club, 15 hours Flexible Entitlement in nursery and a range of extra -curricular after school activities to develop pupils' width of skills. Few families access the Breakfast Club provision and very few parents request flexible nursery entitlement. Working parents can often access extended family members for childcare. Mothers often stay at home.
Approximately 60% of learners attend Mosque for two hours each evening to read the Quran in Arabic. 30 % 'read' at home. The Community Centre also runs Arabic teaching lessons. These sessions start from the age of 5 for some children and begin for many at 4.30pm lasting for up to 2 hours nightly. Hence, after school childcare is not a significant local need and after-school activities have to be timed to suit children’s other commitments.
The school admission number for each age group is 45. There are 4 mixed age classes in Key Stage 2. The school budget has been used to reduce the number of mixed age classes so that Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 are taught in teaching groups of 22/23. Y5 and Y6 are taught separately for core subjects – again in groups of 22/23. This is key to enabling pupils good access to the primary role of adults in the classroom modelling English. Should the school expand to an admission number of 60 – this would have serious implications on the size of teaching groups. Larger teaching groups detract from each pupil’s ability to access adults individually.
The school often has waiting lists for different year groups – the policy for the school has been to adhere to the admission number to maintain quality of provision and a high teacher/adult to pupil ratio.
First languages are spoken at home in most families and on entry to nursery, fluency levels in English language are very low but around 40% of children have developing repertoires and are using short sentences. 60% have small repertoires and of these around 15 % are more comfortable using their home language to communicate. The impact of the playgroup based in the Children’s Centre is improving this situation for small numbers of children entering nursery and our nursery is improving this situation for the majority of pupils who stay on into Reception.
Ability on entry to Reception is below expected levels in basic skills.
The development of the full range of skills in English is a key learning focus for teaching across the curriculum and throughout all year groups. School judges that pupils make very good progress. Ofsted (March ’08) judges that ‘Strategies to support pupils who are learning to speak English are a particular strength.’ To do that effectively our approaches include language development through play-based learning, a focus on speaking and listening with correct use of specific vocabulary, drama, reading and working with parents and link agencies. Enabling these things to happen is frustrated by current disposition of space.
How well are we doing compared with our past performance and with other schools?
OFSTED (March ’08) judged that ‘This is a good and improving school. Effective leadership by a new headteacher with a clear vision focused on raising achievement has impacted positively on raising standards.’ ‘By Year 6 standards remain below the national average, but the achievement gap between the school and the national test and assessment results has narrowed very considerably.’
Staff have high expectations of children and confidence in intervening on the basis of their assessments and tracking. OFSTED (March ’08) judged that ’In most lessons the teaching is challenging and a particular strength is the emphasis on developing pupils’ use of English, particularly subject-specific language.’ ‘The personal development of pupils is outstanding.’ ‘The quality of teaching and learning is good.’ ‘The capacity for further improvement and the value for money the school provides are good.’
Governors and the LA judge that standards of achievement are improving overall and that predictions for the future, from available data, indicate further improvements in core subjects.
The school does not do as well as other schools in the authority and does not reach the national averages. The leadership team has developed and continues to refine effective strategies to improve self-evaluation.
See Appendix 1 (Autumn 2008 Analysis of School Data)
Raisonline shows overall value added to be uneven over the last few years, 2006 CVA 100.4, 2007 CVA 98.2, 2008 CVA 99.2. It is important for school to stabilise an upward trend for CVA. Overall, children make very good progress from low starting points. The current Y5s are our first cohort to have had a full year’s access to nursery provision.
Learning is good in most subjects with nothing that is unsatisfactory. Ofsted judged school to be Good in all areas barring Pupils’ Wellbeing which was judged to be outstanding and attendance which was judged to be Satisfactory along with the rider that school was doing everything possible to improve it. Over time trends have been that our results in KS2 were below national and local trends but that progress was faster than national trends. The gap was being closed up to 2007. Following the 2007 dip, that gap continues to narrow.
Intervention strategies in KS1 and 2 for Special Needs, EAL and for underachieving groups work well, particularly in Literacy and are key to ensuring pupils achieve expected levels.
Attainment in KS1 in English remains behind local and national scores for both genders with understanding of English, shown from analysis of work and tests, to be the issue. Vocabulary, formal language use, tense agreement show up in pupils' current work as needing attention. Girls usually out perform boys in all core subjects at KS1.
Enhanced staffing in KS1 allows small classes of 22 to operate with additional support from EAL and SEN specialist teacher support. Use of students and Teaching Assistants provides a good range of language role models for the children to access.
Learners with EAL needs are well supported and achieve good standards.
Oracy skills are developed well through use of talk partners. School is keen to improve provision for the development of Speaking and Listening skills and has participated in a Maths research project led by Rochdale's Ethnic Minority Achievement Team. School has also invested in a Drama specialist 1 day a week; this is developing individual confidence in self expression and providing kinaesthetic contexts for language development.
Now that all classrooms have access to an interactive whiteboard, facilities for pupils to enhance their understanding and teachers to extend their teaching via ICT are improved. A recently redesigned ICT suite also provides each class access to hands-on facilities for developing ICT skills.
Whole school targets are set upon the basis of attainment at Key Stage 1 and ongoing school assessments and tracking. Fisher Family Trust and LA data are also used. Targets are challenging and are set using FFT D as a marker.
Into the Future- Transforming Learning & Extended Services”-
Our Stakeholder Group has met regularly; membership has reflected the different focii of discussions for particular meetings. The contributions made at the different meetings have been drawn together by the Headteacher creating a coherent overview of the range of aspirations expressed by the stakeholders. The refurbishment of the school should be led by the stakeholders’ view of the transformation of the curriculum at Deeplish as expressed in this overview. We want to transform learning via the opportunities offered within the Primary Capital Project so that achievement and attainment is speeded up and raised, so that the educational experience of pupils and their families at Deeplish is an even happier and more successful one.
The Stakeholder Group and the Governing Body’s Resources Sub-Committee have discussed the School’s Strategy for Change which is a fluid document.
Our key values are as stated in our mission statement – to enable each individual to achieve their best, in a supportive and rich provision that recognises the full range of pupil backgrounds within the school community and within the wider communities.
School involves itself in highly aspirational projects that enable pupils to consider how the skills they are developing at primary school fit into their longer term development in relation to further study and career opportunities. It is of prime importance that pupils are prepared for their futures – and that they experience links with the wider world beyond Deeplish and feel confident to operate within it. We want pupils to have high aspirations.
Thorough school self-evaluation is key to school’s continuing improvement. High expectations from both staff and pupils is generated by a clear understanding of individual progress over time and of the next steps that need to be made to ensure learning is embedded and built on.
We work hard to enable SEN pupils to access the school however building features do not encourage this and with or without PCP, building priorities would have included improved provision for disabled access.
Supporting the Development of English Language Skills
The development of English language skills is an ongoing priority. Language teaching takes place across the curriculum. Speaking and listening skills are promoted through our integration of Assessment for Learning techniques, drama activities and modern foreign languages. We have been asked by the Local Authority to be a Lead Learner School supporting other local schools with their AfL development.
Parental links are important to school. Parents are welcome in school and we will continue to work to involve them in areas which will support them to support their children’s own learning. Many parents struggle to know how best to help their children and find the education system confusing. Developing parent links is a continuing priority for school development and one we wish to further improve alongside the use of our links with Deeplish Community Centre and the Children’s Centre.
Children in the community have limited access to play facilities in the area. Small playgrounds have recently been opened locally however green space and safe areas to play e.g. football are very limited. Children on arrival in school often have to be taught how to play generally and in particular how to play outside. With our recently enhanced playground for Foundation Stage, pupils’ learning through experiences outdoors is an important area of continuing development for all year groups in school.
A book rich curriculum: SCHOOL LIBRARY.
The school focus on the learning of English must be supported by reading materials in book form. A centralised library will use existing reading resources efficiently by drawing them together and enabling pupils to borrow the books they are interested in. This should be a flexible area that can also be used for IT and class activities with different spaces available within it for individual or small group activities. The development of literacy skills is essential for our families and pupils. School would like parents to be able to use the library.
Support of raising standards and the Development of Personalised Learning
School’s clear expectation is that quality first teaching provides the core of our pupils’ learning experience. Assessment for Learning, targeted intervention – both group and individual - are largely embedded into school practice and provide increasingly personalised learning. Numbers of support staff have increased over the last 2 years and a high proportion of teaching staff necessitates the provision of a range of teaching spaces to enable group and individual support work to take place. SEN pupils and EAL pupils require a high degree of personalisation in terms of adult input and space requirements. Organisational approaches such as self-initiated learning and continuous provision which are now extending beyond Foundation Stage into Y1 and more recently Y6, require spaces that facilitate them as does individual study. Lack of sound insulation means group sessions disturb each other and surrounding classes.
School currently has a range of children with specific learning difficulties including sight, hearing and balance, rooms need to be accoustically appropriate with accessibility taken into account. We often have pupils who enter school with incontinence issues and an appropriate changing area is of prime importance to enable these (usually younger) pupils to participate fully in school life.
The greater curriculum choice that we have developed and will continue to develop - Drama, singing, MFL – all demand access to a range of spaces differing in shape and size.
SMOOTH TRANSITION FOR PUPILS
The nursery building is an add-on to the main block of school and has to be reached by going out of school. This inhibits the development of an integrated Foundation Stage. It is only the shared Foundation Stage playground, which has been recently developed, that promotes joint activities and effective transition between the two year groups. School would want easy access between Reception classes and Nursery classes to integrate provision and make maximum use of resources whilst improving learning opportunities. The Foundation Stage curriculum necessitates continuous outdoor provision however the current lay out makes this hard to manage. Fire doors block the route.
The proximity of the Children’s Centre means that at times the privately run Sunshine Playgroup (managed by the Community Centre) uses school’s Foundation Stage playground, in the spirit of mutual benefit it is appropriate to extend the Children’s Centre playground along with the school’s, to incorporate more of the field and particularly that part which has a tarmac cycle track and raised flower beds, by moving the fencing back.
Similarly, the Children’s Centre need for a pram store could be jointly planned to enable parents bringing pupils to nursery to make use of it as well as visitors to the Children’s Centre.
From September 2009, school is intending to re-organise Y1 pupils so that school has an early years ‘block’ which allows pupils and staff to work in areas that are jointly accessed by Reception and Year 1. This will allow controlled progression for Y1 pupils from self-initiated play to more formal learning. There is evidence to show that with access to continuous provision behaviour is improved. Therefore free flow between Reception classes and Year 1 classes needs to be possible. Year 1 pupils will also need to be able to access an element of continuous outdoor provision.
Parents of younger pupils will find an early years block easier to relate to; it will support parents’ ability to support their children’s learning and to make connections with staff.
As topic focii change, Early Years staff change equipment in the learning environment. Adequate storage is of prime importance in the early years for co-ordinated Year 1 and Reception resources as large and small equipment is rotated throughout the year.
Play-based learning encourages language acquisition in a hands-on practical learning environment which is very supportive towards pupils with English as an Additional Language. This will help redress the English language disadvantage that most peoples have on entry to the school.
An ICT rich curriculum:
ICT provision has changed dramatically over the last two years in school and that is a continuing process. School has invested heavily in ICT. Teachers’ planning now includes the Interactive Whiteboard as an integral part of lessons – each classroom including the nursery has one. The IT suite with 18 PCs is timetabled for community use and for all classes except Foundation Stage pupils.. There is a continued need to update equipment to enable speedier network connections that support good lesson pace and investment will need to continue. Modernisation and expansion of provision is crucial to the school’s continued development of a strong ICT infrastructure.
Pupils will have anytime / anywhere access to learning activities that they can self-select. Virtual learning spaces will match the learning needs of pupils and give pupils control over pace and content. Content will provide opportunities for eg writing that will specifically stimulate boys’ interests. Activities provided will reflect the level of IT skills that pupils often display ie one often significantly more developed than that of their teachers. These are skills that school must nurture. Via the Learning Platform, parents and carers will be able to involve themselves more readily with their children’s studies and familiarise themselves with the technology their children are using. Communication between home and school would be improved.
Staff are given the opportunities to try out and evaluate new technologies via the City Learning Centres and the Rochdale Football Club Study Support Centre and attend CPD.
The Learning Platform and improved staff access to data offer increased support for personalised learning.
Pupils, parents, staff and the community will benefit from ICT rich provision.
This is a strength of the current staff and building organisation. As classrooms are organised in units it is possible for the staff in those units to form area teams. This facilitates the implementation of good practice across classes and is a key feature in school development. It is very important to retain the team –based style of working.
Staff wellbeing and work efficiency is compromised by the lack of an adequate, comfortable staffroom. The current space is too far from many parts of the building. A future staffroom should be more centrally positioned and be of an adequate size to accommodate staffing for a 2 form-entry school and to accommodate space for staff to eat at tables. We currently have a teaching and support staff of 40+ people. There should be natural daylight eg via a glass wall.
A separate reprographics room is needed.
Toilet facilities for staff are inadequate both in space and design.
Office staff need improved facilities to enhance communication with parents. The office is small for the 3 staff in situ and ventilation needs improving.
The school’s new leadership staffing structure includes a Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and Assistant Headteacher. The Headteacher’s office is small, and badly ventilated – this needs enlarging so that the Headteacher has adequate space to meet with groups of people eg for interviewing staff for appointments. A discrete joint office is needed for the Deputy Headteacher and Assistant Headteacher to promote team working and to allow privacy for confidential meetings.
The current PPA room is of an adequate size but with increased staffing will need to be enlarged. A key priority when organising PPA time for staff is to enable parallel teachers to have the same PPA time to promote team work and shared planning.
Ventilation throughout school is a cause for concern with obvious links to negative effects on the quality of teaching and learning. Fresh air and daylight are very important for both staff and pupil wellbeing.
A range of ceiling designs to bring natural light into school emphasises its presence.
Improved wellbeing for staff will lead to better productivity.
Supporting the Development of a safe and stimulating environment
Health and wellbeing:
The lack of light, ventilation and appropriate sound insulation in school inhibit good quality teaching and learning.
External lighting during the winter months is needed for the safety of parents, pupils and staff.
Appropriate disabled access must be developed for the main entrance doorways building onto recent developments providing ramps to the school.
Visitors first contact in school needs to be smoother via a proper reception and a comfortable seating area.
Parents have requested a sheltered area for waiting under when collecting children.
Children within the community, particularly girls, do not spend a lot of time outdoors beyond the school day and are not familiar with outdoor playing. On entry to school, pupils need to be taught how to play outside eg with puddles or digging. School is very keen to develop an outdoor area such as an inner / courtyard / outdoor classroom area in which planting can take place and where we can use the environment as an integral part of school life and lessons. External doors to classrooms provide teachers and pupils with immediate access to the outside world. We want to bring the outside world inside so that pupils know how to relate to it and become confident within it.
The school has achieved the Bronze Eco-Schools Award and has an active Eco-squad we are keen to develop our Eco credentials further via reductions in energy consumption and recycling of waste for eg compost and to build this learning into the curriculum.
The refurbishment must support pupil learning around sustainability to enable their understanding of sustainability issues to develop.
Outdoor play for KS2 and KS1:
Having developed the Foundation Stage playground, it was envisaged that the KS1 and 2 playground would be similarly developed. Zoning of spaces will enable pupils to be more selective in their choice of activities and create more secure places. Some play activities are restricted by the boisterous play of others and a lot of training has been given to upskill lunchtime supervisors and the pupils themselves. Development of the large playground would help to increase pupils’ understanding of how to enjoy outdoor spaces in different ways.
The current drainage of this playground is inadequate and needs improvement
The school provides the core offer. However the first point of entry to the school for most parents is not satisfactory. It is cramped with no space for a comfortable seating area and no convenient way of approaching office staff to discuss family matters. This is a key area of concern.
One afternoon weekly the ICT suite is accessed by parents/adults from the community for IT lessons delivered by WEA and organised as a joint school / Surestart venture.
Resiting of facilities that cater to parents would improve uptake and enhance parents’ ability to support pupils’ learning.
- Appropriate lighting , ventilation and sound insulation will contribute to improved health and wellbeing and therefore improved quality of teaching and learning