November 2016 Forum
Planners are sometimes not signed by Tutors
The use of student planners, including the quality of presentation and information they contain is monitored on a half termly basis. Monitoring has shown that in the vast majority of cases planners are being used extremely well to support learning; some in school variation remains, which is being addressed.
As a step towards reducing this variation, a more robust monitoring framework has been introduced and training has been given to Tutors.
Setting and marking of Homework
The school is in the process of reviewing its homework policy in light of parental and student feedback. We view homework as an essential tool in driving student progress. The revised policy will clearly indicate the frequency and length of homework by subject and year group and will clarify how homework should be recorded and communicated to parents.
The marking of homework will be addressed in a revised marking and feedback policy, which will be communicated to parents in the second half of the autumn term.
Has the behaviour process devalued the detention?
The school introduced a new behaviour ‘pathway’ in September 2016. The use of detentions is a deterrent to students who fail to meet expectations despite receiving verbal warnings. The behaviour pathway has brought about significant improvements in low level behaviour incidents at Ash Green School. In the first six weeks of the academic year, the number of students receiving a detention for Yellow Incidents has reduced by 40% and for Amber Incidents has reduced by 23%. Students have commented that the pathway is having a significant impact on their learning.
We are very grateful for parents in supporting this policy. If parents have any concerns about how the behaviour pathway is impacting on their child, please contact the school and we will happily discuss your concerns.
How is the school promoting itself locally?
The recent examination results place Ash Green School in the top 5 schools in Coventry and Warwickshire. The school is positively promoting itself through local press and social media.
We do believe that our strongest advocates are our fantastic students who through their actions and hard work help promote Ash Green School as an education provider of choice for the local community.
What is the school doing to enhance enrichment and extracurricular opportunities?
The school offers a range of after school clubs and activities. The focus of these activities is fairly narrow and favours sports.
As a result of parental feedback, we intend to review this provision and will launch a new range of enrichment and extracurricular activities early in 2017.
When is the next Ofsted inspection due?
The school is anticipating an Ofsted inspection in the 2016/17 academic year. Like all schools who are inspected by Ofsted under the Common Inspection Framework, parents will be made aware that an inspection is taking place and will be asked to provide comments and feedback about the school’s performance as part of the inspection.
How are you tackling staff absence and teacher recruitment?
Staff absence is carefully managed under a sickness and absence policy. Senior Leaders are empowered under this policy to intervene when staff absence is starting to cause concern and impacting on provision within the classroom.
Recruitment of high quality teaching staff, particularly in ‘core’ subjects is a continual challenge. As a school we have been working hard to improve the profile of the school so that we can recruit the best staff to teach your children. Alongside this work we have been placing an emphasis on retaining our best and most experienced teachers.
Are there plans to increase the number of sports teams at school?
The range of sports on offer at Ash Green School is under review. As a school we are continually developing links and partnerships with professional sporting organisations so that we can offer coaching and development opportunities to our students.
Do you get companies in to go through different job opportunities within their industry?
As a school we are prioritising the development of Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG). Our aim is to ensure that all of our students are able to access independent careers advice earlier in their school career and benefit from ‘influential experiences’ such as visiting universities, learning about apprenticeships or engaging with employers; this will include the introduction of work experience for all Year 10 students this academic year.
What is the school doing to challenge academically gifted children?
As a school we are working tirelessly to enhance, and in some cases improve, the quality of teaching that students experience in the classroom. We do this to ensure that all students, regardless of ability or need, are being appropriately stretched and challenged. Improving the quality of provision for gifted or high attaining students is a core improvement priority for the 2016/17 academic year.
If you are concerned about your child's progress, please contact the school and we will be happy to arrange a consultation meeting.
Do you have plans to allow further movement between academic sets e.g. could a child be in set 1 English but in set 4 Maths?
Students are ‘set’ in core subjects. This is a process that is heavily influenced by progress data. On occasion subject leaders may consider a set change as a suitable intervention in order to accelerate the progress that a child is making. If this is the case parents will be contacted and the set change will be discussed before it is made.
Is there a plan to broaden the curriculum e.g. Music?
As a school we are entrusted to offer a broad and balanced curriculum for all of our students. Students have access to music as part of the Key Stage 3 curriculum offer. As this subject develops and becomes more popular, the school intends to open appropriate pathways into Key Stage 4 and beyond.
Furthermore, the school is currently reviewing the possibility of re-introducing peripatetic music lessons for students who wish to continue learning the musical instrument they started to learn in primary school. An update will be provided to parents in the second half of the Autumn term.
Please can all year groups parents have an overview of what they will be studying?
A curriculum summary for each Key stage is available on the school’s website here. This area of the website is updated annually.
Have you any plans to help children become more confident?
Attitude to learning grades have been reviewed in the first half of the term. The revised approach allows students to progress from ‘Potential Learner’ to ‘Outstanding Learner’ with clear developmental steps identified in-between. We believe that this approach will support students to take a greater degree of ownership for their learning and with this become more confident.
In the Autumn term, Year 11,12 and 13 students have all taken part in study skills workshops. The workshops are designed to support revision techniques and help students manage stress as they move closer to their examinations. Student feedback from the sessions has been positive. We aim to deliver a second series of workshops closer to the examinations.
Due to building issues has the overall budget been affected?
The school has received significant support from our Trust (Creative Education Trust) who, working through key partners, have helped minimise the impact of our ongoing building issues. The Education Funding Agency is working closely with the Trust to develop and pay for a 14 classroom block that will be sited on the existing footprint of the condemned building.
As a result of the high levels of support received the school budget has not been significantly affected.
What is your long term commitment to the school?
I am committed to releasing the significant potential evident among the students and staff at Ash Green School. I relish the long term challenge and unique opportunity of developing an outstanding provision that we all can be proud of at Ash Green School.
Harry French, Principal