School Development Plan
School Development Plan
The School Development Plan (SDP) is a comprehensive document written by the leaders of Waterside Academy which details our key objectives as well as the strategies and improvements that we will be making in the coming year.
The governors, the school leadership team and I work together to write and then update the document regularly.
The plan is a three year document, which commenced upon my arrival here in September 2019, but always with a specific 'one year' focus.
Please see our 'parent-friendly' versions below...
How do we know if our work is proving successful?
Senior leaders of the school regularly meet to discuss how well targets, outlined on the school development plan, are being achieved?
More formally, we assess the impact of our work at the half-way mark and again at the end of the school year. We do this using a RAYG rating (Red, Amber, Yellow, Green).
These are then used to inform our Self assessment framework (SEF) - which is written at the end of the school year but updated throughout.
A blank copy of the RAYG rating form can be found on the link below...
Progress Against Ofsted Areas for Development
During our predecessor school's inspection in 2016, Ofsted recognised and highlighted four key strengths of the school and seven key areas requiring further improvements. Those seven areas, and some of the actions taken to address them by the new leaders of the school, are detailed below:
1) The systems for checking pupil progress are not yet rigorous enough to establish an accurate picture of how well pupils are doing.
The school now uses an online tool to record and analyse both attainment and progress across all subjects. This tool is called Arbor and it’s the same data analysis tool we use to monitor attendance
We assess learning dynamically all the time, in lessons and teacher then make choices based on these very fluid and dynamic ‘micro assessments’ – teachers will change their line of questioning, offer further support and additional challenges and more, based on these assessments ‘for’ learning
More formally, we assess reading, writing and maths each and every term. We start off by looking at our planning, the teacher assessments frameworks for writing and the HfL Assessment steps before viewing pupils work, produced overtime. We then ask ourselves some key questions before assessing whether or not a pupil is working below, at or above the expected standard for a pupil their age at that stage in the teaching cycle. These assessments are always moderated and then mapped-out on Arbor – the leaders of the school then assess these results for trends and commonalities.
We do the exact same thing for foundation subjects at the end of the year, but once our curriculum in further embedded, the leaders of the school plan to enact a system whereby foundation subjects are assessed, formally, more frequently too – that’s the next step on our assessment journey.
For more information about assessments at Waterside, please speak to your child’s teacher.
2) Gaps in pupils’ basic knowledge, particularly in reading and mathematics, are slowing down the speed of progress that many pupils need to make to catch up.
We serve a very diverse and ‘ever changing’ community – many of our pupils have ‘high mobility’ and come to us part-way through their academic journey. Through the carefully planned and newly re-enforced curriculum offering, that the leaders of this school have pieced together, we plan for all children to learn key facts and key skills across all subjects – including within reading and maths.
Each afternoon our supportive group of teaching assistants deliver our interventions. These interventions are given to pupils, at the point in which the pupils need it and are designed to enable us to really think about ‘why’ we are choosing to intervene in a child’s education at a certain point.
Intervention aim to either pre-teach core vocabulary, go back and address a gap or misconception in learning or, more significantly, enable to a child to ‘keep up’ in class by ensure they fully understand one concept before another is taught.
Assessing learning dynamically, in lessons, and then making choices based on these very fluid and dynamic ‘micro assessments’ also enables our teachers to change their line of questioning, offer further support and additional challenges and more, based on the needs of the learners we have at Waterside.
3) The role of middle leaders is not yet developed well enough, especially linked to using monitoring, to inform their actions to rapidly improve standards.
At Waterside Academy we believe in the power of middle leadership. This is no more important than when our teachers lead subjects across the school. This structure enables us to ensure that we have clarity of intent, consistency of implementation and accountability of impact of our whole curriculum. Our subjects are led by the following teachers...
English - Mrs Geaves (Writing, Grammar) and Miss Ayres (Reading, Phonics)
Maths - Miss Honour (Arithmetic) and Mr Craig (Reasoning)
Science - Mrs Geaves
P.E - Miss Honour
Computing - Mr Craig
P.S.H.E - Mr Mills-Bishop
Creative Arts - Miss Lavos
Music - Miss Micheli
MfL - (Spanish in KS2) - Miss Micheli
Humanities - (History, Geography and R.E) - Mrs McConchie
Overall lead for all curriculum - Mrs McConchie
EYFS and KS1 (infants) leader - Mrs Geaves
KS2 (juniors) leader - Mrs McConchie
All subjects have their own subject-specific SEF, written in the summer term each year. This SEF is then used, by the subject leader, to formulate the subject-specific action plan. All subject-specific action plans then lead directly into the wider School Development Plan.
Here at Waterside we give our teachers, who are also subject leaders, two additional lessons per week release time to fully plan for, implement and then evaluate the impact of their area of curriculum responsibility.
Being a subject leader is an incredible privilege but a big responsibility too. We recognise the increased workload that comes with leading a subject; curriculum mapping and planning, monitoring, feedback, research, measuring impact and so much more.
This is why every single one of our subject leaders gets two lessons, every single week, out of class, to fully lead their subject properly.
This is protected release time and enables our team to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. The children are then taught by Mrs McConchie, who is a very experienced and highly skilled teacher.
4) The behaviour of pupils requires improvement. Although pupils are polite and well-mannered around the school, during lessons they are not independently resilient and this stops them applying their learning effectively.
At Waterside Academy we all strive to follow our Golden Rules...
We let other children learn
We are kind
We look after property
We keep ourselves safe
We try our hardest
These ‘Golden Rules’ were written with the help of the children and are explicitly taught in class as well as in our Monday assembly each and every week.
Here at Waterside we take every possible action to make sure our behaviour leadership is robust and consistent.
In the autumn of 2019 we sat down with our leadership groups to work through our behaviour processes and then implemented a brand new behaviour policy. The absolute focus of the policy is consistency and restorative justice.
All staff have been given significant training and instruction on how to embed the policy fairly and consistently. We review this overtime and continuously provide staff with behaviour leadership guidance.
5) Although improving, the quality of teaching is too variable across a range of subjects. Consequently, achievement for pupils in all areas across the curriculum is not consistently good.
A very comprehensive program of CPD is offered and delivered to all staff. Our teaching team this year have benefited from CPD work looking at an array of different pedagogical skills including assessment for learning, differentiation, questioning, feedback, behaviour leadership, grammatical structures to both spoken and written English amongst other things.
In addition to the CPD we deliver here in school, our teachers also access a wide range of training courses from various supplies including, but not limited to, HfL.
We have also benefited from the support of teaching and learning providers who have worked with the school across English, maths and the early years. Feedback from visits is always given and actions are put in place to continuously improve the quality of what we do.
6) The newly implemented curriculum is not yet fully developed across all subjects. As a result, pupils are not receiving a broad and balanced curriculum.
Since the launch of our new academy, we at Waterside have worked tirelessly to design and deliver an engaging curriculum that ensures children leave our school with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful within the next phase of their learning and development.
We intend to, and indeed do, deliver a curriculum that helps children to understand the world around them, both here in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, but also within the wider world as a whole.
We are passionate about enhancing the future opportunities that our young learners will have in life and believe these all start with a world-class and personally designed curriculum.
Some of our young learners will eventually go on to study at world-leading universities, some will be skilled tradespeople, some will work wonderfully within the creative industries and others may be destined for careers in financial or legal services. Whatever our future leaders choose to pursue, we are driven by the knowledge that they leave us with the ability to 'do things' to a very good standard but also 'know things' that help with that journey.
In addition to the skills and knowledge our children gain from our carefully sequenced curriculum planning we are also very proud to consistently develop our learners' 'cultural capital' through the strategic implementation of enrichment opportunities such as day trips away from the main school site and facilitating visitors here as well, all of which start in the early years foundation stage of the school.
This way we know that today's learning really does prepare our children for, but also vastly improves, tomorrow's world!
7) Over time, while getting better, in key stage 2, too few pupils make enough rapid progress to ensure they attain the nationally expected standards. This results in Year 6 pupils not being sufficiently ready for the next stage of their education.
National league tables for schools across the UK were released in December 2019. By way of comparison, we have looked at where Waterside Academy ranks compared to the other primary schools across Hertfordshire, which is typically a high-achieving county.
There are 481 primary schools in Hertfordshire - Waterside Academy ranked...
Reading Progress = 159th out of 481
Writing Progress = 210th out of 481
Maths Progress = 77th out of 481
Last year 64% of our year six pupils left for secondary school having met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths - which is in-line with national figures.