Local Academy Board and staff at Park Community School will ensure that each aspect of school life enables outstanding teaching and learning for children, enriches the lives of local families and enhances community life in Merton and Kingston. The curriculum will focus on depth of learning in the core skills of English and maths, ensuring that children access further areas of learning through secondary school and beyond.
PCS will create a low-stress, high-challenge environment where our pupils learn in the most efficient ways to connect with their lives outside school. PCS will prioritise a larger than average proportion of lessons each week to English and maths, securing pupils’ core skills to enable them to access the rest of the curriculum. However, the ‘double lessons’ will be split into two parts: the first part of the block is focused on discrete literacy and numeracy skills with the second half focused on applying these discrete skills in the context of the other subjects. For example, the first half of a maths block might be focused on data analysis and continue into the second half in which pupils draw conclusions that are consistent with the evidence they have collected and explain them using mathematical knowledge and understanding.
Project Based Learning: Engaging children in learning through real-life activities and problems
At Park Community School, Project Based Learning (PBL) will form a core model by which to deliver the curriculum. Project-based learning provides pupils with engaging tasks, enabling them to explore specific real-life challenges, questions or problems. This approach has been proven to radically improve the pupils’ capacity for problem solving, decision-making, investigative skills, and reflection while equipping children to better direct their own learning. PBL enables pupils to encounter the central concepts, principles and content of curriculum through creative activities and investigations that foster new habits of learning and heighten creative thinking skills along the way. The Buck Institute for Education has collated over forty years of evidence on the effectiveness of this approach to learning (www.bie.org/research/does_pbl_work). Studies have shown that PBL:
- can increase achievement on state-administered tests
- can maximise learning in several areas including maths and science
- can increase long-term memory retention, skill development and enjoyment
- more effectively prepares pupils to integrate and explain concepts
- can be especially effective with lower-achieving pupils
The most important point to recognise in relation to PBL is how effectively it is used as a methodology. Working in partnership with the Innovation Unit, Chapel St is developing a model of Project Based Learning based on that is used by the High Tech High Through Schools in the USA. Over a decade, this approach has been proved to offer children all that they would receive from a traditional curriculum and more, with over 90% of pupils going on to University degrees following graduation. This dynamic approach to teaching in which pupils explore real-world problems and challenges, increases student engagement and inspires children to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying.
We will equip teachers to utilise Project Based Learning as a key element of our delivery of teaching and learning. By encouraging learning through a range of creative and community activity Park Community School will:
- Enable pupils to understand how learning works and to take charge of their own learning
- Empower pupils with the practical and interpersonal skills, confidence and eloquence that they need to become successful lifelong learners
- Equip pupils to make real connections between different areas of subject knowledge and consolidating and accelerating their growth and development
- Ensuring the highest levels of engagement and motivation to learn through involvement in real-life projects and activities that make a difference in the pupils’ lives and the community in which they live.
In addition to the individual benefits of learning through a project-based approach, the larger learning community is nurtured as children collaborate in various aspects to meet the project brief.
Project Based Learning: Developing Enterprising Learners
Learning is a life-long skill that relates to ‘real life’ and enables individuals to find and make meaning in the world. Through our Enterprise Learning programme, children at the school will learn lessons and develop skills that enable them to flourish.
Research demonstrates that learning accelerates when pupils connect the skills they are learning with contexts with which they are familiar. Financial literacy, innovation, team skills, entrepreneurship, global awareness and citizenship, to name but a few, will play a crucial and constant role at the school, being integrated into the curriculum, contextualised across disciplines and extended through co-curricular programmes and activities.
Enterprise learning will provide pupils with advantages that they can carry throughout their life and learning:
- Cognitive advantage. Pupils will develop problem solving skills, capacity for prediction and modelling and ability to synthesise and evaluate thought and ideas
- Personal advantage. Pupils develop resilience, capacity for independent thought and decision-making and ability to overcome challenge
- Economic advantage. Pupils develop transferable life-skills, capacity to manage money and ability to assert independence.
We will use a thematic approach to education, grounded in a skills and knowledge based curriculum to maximise and deepen learning while building their capacity to apply learning to the world in which they live. For example, we will use the International Primary Curriculum as a model framework to inform our strategy for Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum mapping and develop a shared project with a local secondary school to support transition. However, learning will be planned to provide comprehensive curriculum coverage and to ensure attainment and progression for further achievement at Key Stage 3 and 4 to provide access to specific areas for GCSEs and A-Levels where a child has a certain “expertise” or interest. Being “expert learners”, we will talk about how experts studying for qualifications as well as those learning through research and practice as engineers (DT), economists (maths), doctors (science), psychologists (PSHE/SEAL), journalists (English).
Assessment rubrics will have National Curriculum criteria at each level in the age range for each subject area (e.g. L2 – 4 for a Year 3 class) as well as personal, social and/or emotional criteria drawn from the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL). This focus on securing high levels of evidence-based attainment across the curriculum will provide the children with tools to understand how they are learning and making progress both academically and personally. This type of assessment in a rich ‘Growth Mindset’ culture provides a framework for children to meet with cognitive and emotional challenge that is a life-long learning skill. As a result, children in upper Key Stage 2 will have the experience in understanding and evaluating their own learning to be able to carry this into the secondary school experience and continue the momentum they began at Park.
The model below outlines the amount of time devoted to each subject. These sessions will integrate skills as appropriate, ensuring proportional coverage in each area over the week. In order to enable application of key literacy and numeracy skills integrated with other areas of learning, double sessions of English and maths are planned four mornings a week. This strategy strengthens our focus on core skills, enables an additional hour of learning each week over the statutory requirement and provides opportunities to apply learning to life.
Park Community School will aim for the highest possible achievement in literacy and numeracy. We will prioritise this learning in the morning sessions when children are fresh and able to focus. In Key Stage 1 this will link in more clearly with integrated topics and themes and will be carried forward as good practice in Key Stage 2 where integration will affect efficiency and ensure deeper conceptual understanding.
Core areas – provision for English/Literacy, maths and science
Park Community School will plan the English curriculum to exceed the local averages for Reading attainment at the end of Key Stage 1 and Writing attainment at Key Stage 2. Commencing with the exploration of communication, the curriculum will utilise synthetic phonics to build decoding and spelling skills. Children will enjoy Guided Reading sessions each week working in a small group with their teacher. These sessions will be informed and assessed using criteria for National Curriculum levels to ensure learning is outcome-based and progressive.
We will build strong foundations in Reception with developing phonic knowledge and understanding alongside communication whereas in Y1 the focus sharpens on securing phonic knowledge, decoding and foundational skills of writing such as spelling, grammar and punctuation. By the end of Key Stage 1, English learning will secure decoding while increasingly focusing on content and organisational features of texts. This shift is strategic and aligned with assessment practices such as limiting judgements which are dictated by current understanding of overall English development. As children transition into Key Stage 2, focus is primarily on increasingly higher levels of interpretation of texts and more explicit analysis of features of various genres as frameworks to broaden children’s reading and writing.
The English curriculum at PCS will begin with the communication and language development alongside the teaching of synthetic phonics. Children will enjoy Guided Reading sessions each week working in a small group with their teacher all the way through Y6. These sessions will be informed and assessed using criteria for National Curriculum levels to ensure learning is outcome-based and progressive.
Reading for pleasure to and with children will embed these mechanical skills in context with increasingly advanced skills of inference, textual analysis etc as they progress through each phase of learning. Teaching and learning of outstanding English writing skills will be grounded in reading, analysing and employing techniques of classic and popular texts and expert writers which will be the starting point for all learning of writing skills, while developing a love for reading.
Teaching and learning of outstanding English writing skills will be grounded in reading, analysing and employing techniques of beloved texts and expert writers. This will provide a starting point for all learning of writing skills, while developing a love for reading. We are exploring the benefits of teaching the writing process using the Writer’s Workshop model and we are exploring a range of programmes and strategies for teaching initial reading including Ruth Miskin from which we will select the best aspects. Working with others, Park will draw on expertise developed in schools working with Pie Corbett, an author and former Headteacher, to raise attainment in Writing.
A typical creative writing lesson might start with a brain game to consolidate previous learning and continue with children reading a piece of high-quality, child relevant, classic or popular literature. The class would then analyse the specific text to identify key features of that genre and discover how words, phrases and punctuation are used to create the effect. Children will then work independently, with a partner or a group to help them achieve the specific lesson objective with activities differentiated to challenge each child according to his or her needs and abilities.
We are exploring the benefits of teaching the writing process using the Writer’s Workshop model and we are also exploring a range of programmes and strategies for teaching all levels of reading drawing on a range of resources from Ruth Miskin to Letters and Sounds from which we will select the best aspects.
Learning support will be differentiated according to need, though strategically allocated to ensure that children work as appropriate with the teacher or teaching assistant, especially for children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities SEN(D). However, we will ensure that children of all abilities have teacher and teaching assistant support on a rotational basis to give opportunities for children with SEN(D) to work independently when possible. The plenary session at the end of the lesson will provide time for children to assess their learning against success criteria, clarify misconceptions, consolidate learning, identify next steps and anticipate the next lesson or unit. Teacher assessment will then inform planning of future lessons.
In addition to learning discrete reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, children will have a skills application lesson every day. These sessions will form part of the integrated curriculum and build context for learning along with demonstrating explicitly how these skills are used in enterprising activities. For example, children will write product descriptions applying their learning in non-chronological reports. Progress in these sessions will be captured and reviewed by subject teachers informally on a lesson by lesson basis and more formally weekly to inform planning.
Park Community School will be specialists and local leaders in maths. Given the underachievement of many local children in maths, Park Community School will become educational leaders and specialists in maths. The school will invest in developing gifted mathematicians. Staff will ensure that children develop an awareness of numbers and mathematical structure; can perceive and generalise patterns; comfortably reverse calculations; demonstrate a flexible range of calculation methods and strategies and demonstrate the energy and persistence to deal with challenging problems. The school will ensure that teachers understand the progression of skills from Problem Solving, Reasoning and Number in early years through to early stages of GCSE maths. The maths leader will be responsible for leadership throughout Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 including the monitoring of teaching, learning and assessment.
Maths will play a prominent role in the delivery of the curriculum in which children will learn all aspects in addition to daily sessions on applying learning in each strand through the integrated curriculum. In lessons, children might apply shape, space and measure skills on designing sections of our allotment or design graphs to scale to record findings from science investigations. The school will ensure that teachers understand the progression of skills from Problem Solving Reasoning and Number in Early Years through to early stages of GCSE Maths. The maths leader will be responsible for the leadership including monitoring of teaching, learning and assessment through each phase. We will use the Primary frameworks for maths as the foundation of the curriculum but we are also exploring innovative, practical learning systems such as Maths Made Easy to adopt best practice in teaching and learning.
We will seek high standards and attainment in this area. Lessons will focus on broadening and deepening understanding using applied learning and problem solving from resources such as Nrich (University of Cambridge Centre for Mathematical Sciences ) before accelerating to higher levels of the curriculum. This type of exemplary practice (as used in Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea) has proved successful at engaging learners in critical thinking, mathematical agility and problem solving. We will use the CAME (Cognitive Acceleration in Mathematics Education) training and materials to create fun, contextualised and challenging activities, stretching higher ability learners and allowing less able pupils to access higher order mathematical thinking with the arithmetic skills they already have. Financial literacy will form a key part of the maths curriculum, consolidating learning through recognisable scenarios. Children will learn all aspects of maths and daily apply these lessons and learning through an integrated curriculum.
Park Community School will enable higher achievement and increased numbers of pupils studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and maths) related subjects and careers as they progress through education. Strengthening our specialism in maths will enable the school to work towards the highest standards in Science as an additional broadening and enriching quantitative and investigative learning. We will ensure that children build deep knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts through hands on learning activities which build scientific thinking and investigation and analytic skills.
Science learning will constantly be related to real life experience with lessons planned to include as much cognitive conflict as possible. We will draw from the principles that Let’s Think Science materials based on CASE (Cognitive Acceleration in Science Education). The Let’s Think resource packs for primary schools developed by King’s College London aim to encourage young children to understand their own learning and thinking strategies through practical investigative activities which focus on aspect of thinking such as ordering, classification and causation. Both the Let’s Think Science and Let’s Think Maths programmes have been proven in improving pupils’ ability to think mathematically and scientifically, enabling increased capacity for problem-solving and higher levels of attainment.
Other subject areas
In Key Stage 2 the curriculum will be broadened with more clearly defined subject areas enabling children to begin to understand how different disciplines are distinguished and relate to each other. In the afternoons, projects integrating the Humanities (including RE), Science, PE & Games, Music, Spanish and ICT will all be covered, though not every week. Following the key principles stated in our school vision, we will contextualise learning as much as possible and utilise discrete sessions to teach knowledge and skills as appropriate. Projects integrating these subjects will be presented to the pupils with clearly levelled outcomes for success criteria. Blocks of work will be planned so these subject areas can be covered appropriately.
In Key Stage 1 there will be a creative curriculum on a two-year themed cycle, reviewed annually for effectiveness. In Key Stage 2 there will be a two-year cycle of projects for Science, Humanities and Music. The school will operate a one-year cycle for ICT, PE & Games and Spanish.
We will regularly timetable Creative Days that enable emphasis on particular areas of the curriculum – e.g. whole school creative writing days. As a means to engage certain pupils, build skills and address different pupils’ learning needs multi-sensory approaches will be used where appropriate.
Spanish will be offered from Year 3 through to Year 6 as a regular part of the weekly timetable. This will be enriched with learning activities through the engagement of gifted volunteers both in and out of the school day. Given the anticipated number of EAL learners, we will not start MFL until Year 3 although we intend to run a Key Stage 1 Spanish club as part of the extended day.
As children move through each stage of learning, the curriculum framework will provide for assessments to measure progress against national standards. As we discuss in detail in section on assessment below, we are aware of our statutory obligations regarding assessment at the end of each Key Stage as well as the new phonics test.
Physical Education and Sport
Park Community School is working with Fulham Football Club and Kick UK to deliver a creative values-based and community supported approach to physical education. Kick UK will work with school staff and staff seconded from Fulham FC to design and deliver the PE curriculum. Once again, all classes will be integrated with other areas of learning and development. For example, a lesson on passing skills within a ballgame will be the practical activity in a PSHE lesson on communication, collaboration and teamwork. In addition, Kick UK will also train parents and community members to run co-curricular sports programmes such as school teams, Saturday sports events, little leagues, etc.
Partnerships to support learning
Park Community School will partner with local independent schools in order to provide pupils with access to increased support and educational experiences. Working with outreach programmes from King’s College School, one of the UK’s leading independent schools, Park Community School will benefit from 6th Form Pupils providing a range of study support and opportunities for music, drama and the creative arts. In addition, gifted and talented pupils will have opportunities to take part in gifted and talented summer schools at these institutions and staff will have regular opportunities to share advice, practice and collaboration between the schools.
Chapel St has worked with Raynes Park Community Church and other local groups and organisations to build a bank of volunteers with substantial expertise in education. These volunteers include local church and community members working at the City’s universities, volunteers from local mosques with experience working with children from ethnic minorities who are underperforming, artists working with children and parents on visual and performance arts programmes. These volunteers will provide support for curricular and co-curricular activities and be managed by members of staff at the school.
Specialism – Enterprise Learning
Chapel St believes learning is a life-long skill, which always relates to ‘real life’ and meaningful education is the key to building a better future for individuals and communities. Enterprise learning/financial literacy is a crucial area which is rarely developed for children and young people in their formal education, but which has the most immediate impact on their lives beyond school. Children, themselves, are often aware of this fact, frequently engaging more in activities when money is involved because they see its role in everyday life. Our vision is to bring together the concept of economic wellbeing with financial literacy and capability, enterprise learning and global awareness and ethical responses to that.
While aspects of the core curriculum are crucially important for cognitive and personal development, children’s learning accelerates when there is context for the skills being learnt. Specifically, when a learner sees how s/he will use knowledge and skills outside of formal education, they have the intrinsic motivation to focus their efforts. For this reason, Chapel St will incorporate enterprise learning/financial literacy in the core curriculum to integrate and contextualise learning across the disciplines.
Enterprise learning is not about training children to make money. It is about learning skills. David Butler, former HMI responsible for business and enterprise education for Ofsted, clarifies that “while a relatively small proportion of young people will become entrepreneurs, all young people need to be enterprising.” Pupils will have the opportunity to be organised into enterprise teams that will meet on a regular basis led by one or two pupils in Year 10 and 11 learning a range of overall project management skills and advanced business development strategies. Our aim will be to prepare many of our pupils for setting up their own businesses and becoming proactive, productive and ethical employers.
We believe that the skills developed through our competency, enterprise and skills-based approach to subject learning will develop the following advantages for pupils.
Personal, Social, Emotional and Spiritual Development
We will model a Family style lunch break and eating arrangements that fosters a sense of collaboration and social responsibility. To this end we have programmed a lunch break of around 45 minutes and we have planned a dining space that can accommodate as many of our pupils dining together as possible. We will use Family style lunch to help build a close-knit family atmosphere of togetherness, collaboration and social responsibility. Children will serve each other before themselves, passing around plates of food. There will be a main course (one meat and one vegetarian) and side dishes. Staff and visitors will eat with the children which offers opportunity for everyone get to know each other as people. Parents and carers are invited to volunteer their time to help during lunches as well as on the playground. They will be invited to eat with us during those times. As the school grows, children will sit with others from different year groups in their houses.
School dinners cost £2.10 per day. We will have a full catering kitchen and food will be healthy and tasty. We are strongly encouraging all families to have hot lunches (where costs are the issue, we would figure something out for that family) but we’re not going to force anyone. If a parent wants to send their child with a packed lunch, s/he will still be included at the table eating their own lunch with everyone else.
All teachers will have responsibility for student welfare with the accountability to a Assistant Principal. Pastoral staff will receive training on support for pupils’ emotional well being, in line with our Christian ethos. We will also have trained and identified first aid and medical support staff for those pupils who may have particular medical requirements e.g. epilepsy or diabetes.
PCS seeks to create an environment that supports all children proactively, instead of responding too late to those with acute learning, social or emotional issues. We believe that the use of coaching will raise achievement and energise learning. In the inclusive environment in which we will be working will be children with a broad spectrum of needs. We will deliver strategies for each aspect of development, with strategic integration of working between teachers and mentors to ensure seamless provision.
Personalised coaching moves beyond an older more experienced person sharing wisdom (particularly where there has been a pattern of multigenerational unemployment). Our approach is research based and rigorously tied closely with strategic intent. This type of coaching is based on a No-Excuses model which supports children to process and engage with any areas that are limiting learning and aspiration such as motivation, self-limiting beliefs, self esteem and a variety of pastoral issues responding to external factors. It also seeks to remedy specific learning deficit. The aim is always to develop and support resilient lifelong learners. The Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI) provides a framework based on research at the University of Bristol. ELLI identifies seven dimensions of learning power (see below) which are the underlying factors in learning and achievement. Using an online survey tool, pupils will self-assess their strengths of each dimension at the beginning and end of each year in school. Measurement of the dimensions outlined below provides insight both for pupils and PCS staff to identify potential factors of underachievement and areas for development for their personal coaching sessions:
- Changing and learning Resilience Critical curiosity
- Creativity Strategic Awareness Meaning making
- Learning relationships
All PCS pupils will benefit from a personal coach providing consistent support and training throughout their school career. This member of staff or volunteer will be a key and consistent facilitator of the pupils’ development, working with the pupil, parent and/or carer to co-construct and manage a pupil development plan throughout their time at the school. The pupil development plan will take into account the all-round development that the school envisages for the life and learning of each child.
Coaching is a pedagogical tool recognising the central importance of well-being to effective learning:
- All members of staff will be trained and supported as coaches to pupils
- Coaches will support pupils and families in the design and implementation of personal development plans
- Coaches will support their pupils in the transition to secondary school by supporting the student to settle in their secondary setting with their key-worker in Year 7
Enrichment and extracurricular opportunities will be a range of activities during lunch times, after school and in the holidays that will reinforce a love for sport, learning and give time to engage the learners while pursuing common talents and interests. The activities offer will evolve as the school grows and could include Fantasy Football Club, Maths Challenge, Running Club with sports teams, Team and Trust building events (e.g. building a raft in a set period of time), Enterprise Club, Debate Club, Cooking Club, Aspiring Artists, Dance Studio, Young Citizens. Enterprising pupils will be encouraged to initiate new clubs supported by a staff sponsor. We will develop a programme of activities staffed by volunteers who may be paid teaching staff. Some activities may be run by King’s College School Sixth Form pupils with adult support as part of their work placements where appropriate.
Additional learning enrichment opportunities will include Saturday or holiday Advanced Skills Centres (modelled on the Excellence in Cities model) for Able, Gifted and Talented children and Reading Club and Games Groups for children needing to develop reading and number skills but in fun, less formal settings. All activities will be run in full accordance with our Inclusion and Safeguarding Policies.
Learning and Activities in the holidays
It is our intention to fully maximise the opportunities to deliver learning, enrichment and extracurricular provision during holiday periods including core skills clubs (e.g. reading and calculating). We will also create opportunities for family learning out of term time such as hosting Games Days when pupils bring a parent or carer to teach and learn new skills or games to play at home, which support learning.
ICT vision and implementation
There is a clear linkage between the school development plan and budget. Park Community School will implement an appropriate finance package to allow robust planning for what will be a small school with little room for contingency in our annual grant. The school will distinguish between ICT as a resource to facilitate learning and ICT as an area of knowledge and skills to learn itself. The school will equip all children to become autonomous users of ICT across the curriculum and train children through specific ICT sessions, providing access on demand and secure ICT facilities. Our teaching spaces will be a mixture of small and large group spaces for interventions and whole class learning, respectively.
ICT learning at the school will relate to real life application focusing on high order technological skills informing the schemes of work for our own ICT curriculum:
- Communicating Ideas by managing multimedia including digital imagery and sound
- Finding Things Out through efficient researching, organising and classifying data and data logging
- Developing Ideas through modelling to explore real and simulated situations and using this to change things and solve problems
- Making Things Happen through control and programming such as creating and recording sets of instructions to control devices to achieve specific outcomes
The school plans to optimise value for money with a mobile ICT suite on a wireless network that integrates learning in the classroom with laptops. For example, children will use laptops in a Science/ICT lesson using data loggers in an investigation. In the earlier year groups, children will be introduced to programming with floor turtles and other robotic toys whereas older children will progress to write their own programmes for robots that they make as part of an integrated learning project. For instance, this could be connected to an English project on The Iron Man.
ICT will be a key tool in strategic management, administration and support for learning. We will use SIMS to manage pupil records, staffing, attendance, provision mapping, behaviour and achievement. We will personalise and design templates in each area to ensure that information about our children is effectively documented and triangulated to understand each child’s needs and achievements for future action planning. We are currently working in partnership with the Viglen to implement our ICT solution.
Provision for Individual needs
Inclusion in Park Community School means that we recognise a range of student needs across abilities, culture and language as well as social, emotional and financial resources. For each of these needs, we have developed a strategy for ensuring that each child is able to make outstanding progress in his or her academic, personal and social development. Specifically these groups include children who are:
- learning English as an additional language
- identified as having Special Educational Needs
- identified as having a specific gift or talent
- learning with behavioural, social and emotional difficulties
- in deprived families or families struggling in a specific area
- looked After by the Local Authority
For each of these groups there will be unique, though sometimes common, approaches to identification, provision and monitoring of individual children’s progress and well being. We will provide additional support as needed with transition into each new school year, additional time with their personal coach and other strategies as advised by children’s carers and/or agencies such as CAMHS where appropriate.
Using this and last years’ performance tables, we anticipate that around 40% of pupils will have English as an Additional Language, about 12% of the intake on the SEN register at School Action Plus or with a Statement and about 30% eligible for free school meals. These data are in line with the current averages for the schools in this area. Effective differentiation for all children will be the bedrock of teaching and learning in all classes, staff will plan activities to meet the needs of each child. As outlined specifically for each group below, we will use a variety of strategies to identify needs and understand our pupils’ prior achievement, through baseline assessment on entry and ongoing measurement of progress that is child-centred and informs the delivery of teaching in the classroom and at an individual level.
Park Community School will provide outstanding support for children who have special educational needs (SEN) to help these children achieve their full potential. We will aim to create an atmosphere where children enjoy learning and being challenged. In accordance with our ethos, we will ensure all systems and procedures are in line with the Equality Act 2010. Our premises will be made accessible to children and/or staff with disabilities. Teaching, learning and pastoral care will also be designed to provide fair access to learning activities, assessment (e.g. using an amanuensis) and social development such as using friendship groups and buddy systems.
The Assistant Principal who leads on Community Development and Inclusion will fulfil the role of Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)/Inclusion Manager. We understand that this post must have qualified teacher status and be appropriately trained. Our school will use a graduated response that encompasses an array of strategies such as visual timetables, providing scaffolds for writing, enlarging font and images and concretising concepts. Strategies will usually vary to meet each child’s individual needs. We will use the SEN Code of Practice as the basis for identification and provision of needs. For this reason, we will follow guidance on statutory assessments and statements of SEN for children with severe and complex needs. The Assistant Principal will be responsible for carrying out annual reviews of statements and planning for young people with SEN to make the transition to secondary school through close relationships with partner secondary schools.
Pupils will be tested on entry through a variety of verbal and non-verbal tests that will help us to identify pupils’ individual needs. We understand that recent DDA Legislation requires us to conduct a Disability Impact Assessment in order to proactively discover what needs every child and adult may have and respond appropriately. Children with SEN(D) are not easily distinguished by the outside observer for often negative reasons. We will develop Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for pupils with their parents’ and carers’ input to ensure they are effective and well-supported. The Inclusion Manager will co-ordinate and manage the reviewing and updating of these plans on a termly basis.
Park recognises that there is a continuum of special educational needs and, where necessary, brings increasing specialist expertise to bear on the difficulties that a child may be experiencing. The Inclusion Manager will work with other agencies including professionals in educational psychology, speech and language therapy, mental health and medical professionals to support children with specific needs. Children who have SEN or disabilities will have a range of provision from in-class differentiation to additional support where needed. IEPs will be consistently reviewed and used to identify personalised strategies to support each child’s needs. We are committed to involving children and parents in decision-making and to effective multi-agency working for combined services around the needs of children and their families. In order to ensure our provision will be the most effective, we are currently monitoring national developments in SEN practice and we will take into account the key principles and guidance in the SEN Green Paper.
To meet the needs of all learners, teachers will strategically use ICT to stimulate visual (e.g. colour-coding, images etc in flipcharts), auditory (MP3 sound bites, creating music etc) and kinaesthetic (e.g. floor turtles, bee bots and other controls) learning. Differentiation of independent activities will also include linguistic scaffolding such as word banks or sentence/paragraph scaffolds.
Teaching assistants (TAs) will work in the classroom to support groups of learners as directed by class teachers and as part of good differentiated teaching. They will not always be working with pupils with SEN but may be deployed to work with other pupils to allow the class teacher to support vulnerable learners. They will work with individuals or small groups of children to deliver specific, targeted interventions as directed by the Assistant Principal and class teacher. This may include work outside the classroom for short periods of the day. TAs may work one to one at any point in the school day carrying out a variety of tasks to support individual children with statements of special educational needs. We have a variety of strategies to overcome barriers to learning including clear assessment to identify the barriers and pinpoint next steps for learning and targeted, time limited interventions. Specific individual interventions will be assessed to measure progress and plan next steps. Outside agencies will be consulted where appropriate.
Impact evaluation of SEN provision will include both intermediate and final outcomes for each child, as outlined in his or her IEP. For example, while final outcomes will always focus on the attainment and progress of each child, intermediate outcomes will include the particular factors that stagnate learning such as insecure place value or phonic understanding. While final outcomes may not demonstrate a higher summative judgment or test result in cases of profound need, there will still be an expectation of increase in attainment within a sublevel using P scales or Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP) grids to define this criteria.
Both Assistant Principals will work together to monitor the progress of children on the SEN register. We will ensure assessment and monitoring procedures are aligned with P scales and target setting according to national conversion rates. While children with particular needs may not reach the same attainment as their peers, we will have the same age-related expectation for progress each year.
The CPD programme will have significant focus on developing staff strategies for meeting the needs of children with dyslexia to those with emotional and behavioural disorder as well as target setting from P scales based on the current Progression Guidance set out by the DfE.
English as an Additional Language (EAL) provision
Staff at Park Community School will be working with children who have varying needs and abilities and have effective strategies for meeting children’s linguistic and cognitive needs across the spectrum of abilities. English language acquisition will always be assessed first and separate from academic and cognitive ability. Our primary resource for identification will parents and carers who will be included in initial assessments in each child’s home language where possible.
There will be very clear protocols for developing spoken and written literacy as a means for accessing the wider curriculum and progressing across the subject range. The Chapel St team have experience working with EAL learners in inner London schools and specific expertise in identifying their abilities and ensuring that they are challenged appropriately. While our strategies are based on research and experience, the school will ensure that implementation will be carefully considered in the light of what is best for the school community. Differentiation of independent activities will also include linguistic scaffolding such as word banks or sentence/paragraph scaffolds.
Visual literacy, using images to convey and derive a range of meanings, will be a primary strategy for supporting language development and enabling achievement. It is a strategy for enriching and developing language to support EAL learners to access information, understand and engage with important themes in topics, texts and build knowledge through each stage of language acquisition. We recognise that while children may be able to see, they may not see critically. It is vital that we provide a range of scaffolding to support the interpretation of images. While this is part of good teaching practice in our highly visual world, it is especially essential for EAL children.
Park Community School will draw on multilingual aspects of school in creative ways through other lessons such as through learning the etymology of key and new vocabulary by relating the terms and definitions in English to those corresponding ones in the children’s home languages. Other strategies to support additional language acquisition will include displaying graphic organisers like simple tables, Y-charts, star diagrams, flow charts mind maps and any other visual representations to support recall and conceptual/relational understanding.
We will also ensure that children who are new arrivals and from refugee and/or asylum seeker backgrounds are supported in their transition into the British culture as well as the education system.
Our EAL specialist teacher will be responsible for monitoring both children’s progress through stages of English language acquisition as well as their attainment and progress in reading, writing, maths and personal development. This work will include liaising with the Family and Community Liaison and the Principal to ensure issues arising are addressed effectively.
Gifted and Talented provision
Park Community School will raise aspirations for learners by helping each child to discover and develop his/her gifts and talents to experience success and sense of achievement. The school will employ refined differentiation strategies and methodologies to plan learning which raises the bar for all learning so that children of all abilities develop higher order thinking. A register of the top 5-10% of each cohort (identified through a combination of statistical and behavioural indicators) will be used to identify children for monitoring to ensure they are being challenged and are learning at an appropriately accelerated rate to prevent stagnation when attaining higher levels. Teachers will apply the theory that a ‘rising tide lifts all ships’ by planning activities with very high expectations for the most able children while providing scaffolding for less able learners to access the learning.
For example, while a whole class is learning to conduct maths investigations systematically, the teacher may work with lower and middle ability children to list criteria for systematic investigation that they apply in pairs or independently, while higher ability children may immediately undertake the investigation. In this way, both groups are functioning mathematically at high levels of cognition, but the former group is provided support to do so. This refined differentiation will prioritise using knowledge and skills in different contexts and at higher levels of cognition. This emphasis on broadening and deepening knowledge and understanding for the most able prevents creating gaps in learning which can occur with premature acceleration such as learning Year 7 curriculum before fully mastering the Year 6 curriculum.
A register of the top 5-10% of each cohort (identified through a combination of statistical and behavioural indicators) will be used to identify children for monitoring to ensure they are being challenged and are learning at an appropriately accelerated rate to prevent stagnation when attaining higher levels.
Pupils identified on the G&T register will have excellent attendance and behaviour; this includes developing social skills in some gifted children who have difficulty working with peers. We are aware that G&T pupils often become disaffected and often underachieve when they are not appropriately challenged. Therefore, we seek to ensure that these pupils have a positive attitude to their learning and are involved in all aspects of school life (attendance records, achievement, representation at enrichment activities, participation in the school council). G&T pupils who speak English as an Additional Language, will value their first and/or other languages as an economic asset for the future.
The Assistant Principal / Inclusion Manager will be responsible for ensuring personalisation across the spectrum of needs and abilities encompassing SENCO as well as Gifted and Talented leadership. This person’s role is to provide leadership in identification, monitoring and resources in helping to ensure we are meeting the needs for these children in each area. To help provide unique enriching opportunities to stretch our gifted pupils, Magdalen College School has offered places to those children in Years 5 and 6 to attend their Summer School.
Pupils in deprived and/or families in need
Chapel St seeks to provide the best care and support for families in need in our school community. While we anticipate up to 40% of pupils will be eligible for free school meals, we also recognise the significant challenges that are part of raising children and holding down at least one job, regardless of that eligibility. Our overall vision includes a strategic approach to support children’s learning journeys and is grounded in our shared passion about play, individual expression and enjoyment as integral to child development.
Our breakfast club and Living Room (after-school club) will be a key strategy for meeting specifically identified children’s nutritional and social needs to help raise attendance and improve personal development and achievement. Working with Early Years settings, an SEN specialist and Children’s Adolescent and Mental Health Services (CAMHS), we will have our own play curriculum to address the needs of children who need additional support in the range of aspects of socialisation. Our ICT club and home learning Club are other examples of increasing engagement and consolidating learning in a meaningful way.
Pupils with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Developmental Needs
We are also aware of the complex needs for children who experience emotional and behavioural difficulties, though they sometimes make poor choices. Park Community School will use specific strategies (such as control by proximity, use of daily contracts, personalised traffic lights and agreeing targets for home and school) to ensure that making a poor choice is never acceptable or excused. In addition to intensive coaching support, the Assistant Principal responsible for Community Development and Inclusion will be the named Lead Behaviour Professional (LBP) to ensure the school supports each child appropriately.
Partnerships with other agencies such as Educational Welfare, educational psychologists, CAMHS, Physical Education specialists will be used to help identify the underlying causes and strategise how to identify the root causes and meet the needs of these children. Our goal is to support and challenge them to develop their gifts and talents to excel in their learning. Park will pay due regard to the guidance in the SEN Code of Practice and the Education of Children and Young People with Behavioural, Social and Emotional Difficulties as a special educational need.
Pupils who are Looked After by the Local Authority
Our Christian ethos provides the basis for a strategic approach to ensure that Looked After Children (LAC) are loved, nurtured and empowered to reach their fullest potential. The Principal will work with the Family Community Liaison to build strong relationships with each child’s carers and the relevant agencies involved in supported them. We will provide additional support as needed with transition into each new school year, additional time with their personal coach and other strategies as advised by children’s carers and/or agencies such as CAMHS where appropriate. The school will be specifically mindful of ensuring that each child feels school is a stable environment, especially in the event when he or she is moved to a new home. Excellent multi-agency relationships will be a key factor in providing the best possible preparation for children at these times.
Quality of teaching and learning
In line with our vision PCS seeks to increase children’s chances to be globally competitive from the moment they walk in the door, learning how to learn, unlearn and relearn. The curriculum will be focused on broadening and deepening learning through real-life problem solving, discovering the depth and complexity of foundational knowledge and skills. For example, children will not only learn about key points in local and national history, but examine industrialisation, the Great War, union strikes etc from multiple perspectives, looking at relationships over time, identifying and researching their own unanswered questions. Our school will emphasise social and emotional learning to build intrinsic motivation as well as strong Assessment for Learning principles to optimise personalised learning.
Effective differentiation for all children will be the bedrock of teaching and learning in all classes. PCS will meet the needs of each child, from those who learn at accelerated rates beyond their age-related expectations, to those with special affinity for certain areas of learning, to those who need additional support to achieve. Our teaching will be grounded in effective Assessment for Learning, from building a Growth Mindset culture to deploying techniques such as learning objectives and success criteria to enable pupils to confidently understand how to move their learning on, and take ownership to accelerate their own progress.
Subject leaders will have responsibility and accountability for developing schemes of work using standard templates that will be designed. They will also manage teachers’ production of lesson plans, monitoring differentiated approaches for individual pupils to ensure aspirational progress for all.
PCS will be focused on raising aspirations of learners through helping each child discover and develop their gifts and talents to experience success and a sense of achievement. Our approach to differentiation will prioritise broadening and deepening learning for the most able to prevent creating gaps in understanding before acceleration through strategies including curriculum compacting where appropriate.
Teachers will apply the theory that a ‘rising tide lifts all ships’ by planning activities with very high expectations for the most able children while providing ‘scaffolding’ for less able learners to access learning. Using this approach, teachers will employ a sports model for identifying each child’s gifts and talents; pupils will be given a variety of opportunities and challenges appropriately pitched to their skill level. For example, teachers may observe that children less able in calculation excel in shape, space and measure when given a challenging activity in that area. This approach provides as many opportunities for building confidence and success as possible for all children. We also recognise that children who demonstrate an affinity for certain topics and subjects have great potential for excelling in these areas and we will endeavour to support them to do so.
Park Community School will focus on developing four key ingredients required for outstanding lessons in any classroom.
Creating and nurturing the right culture is crucial for building an engaged, adventurous learning community. Chapel St often quotes Peter Drucker that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. This is why so much important training and development has limited impact in some schools. The first priority for developing this culture is to focus our efforts on building good strong relationships with each other and our children, based on mutual respect and love. This focus is grounded in our Christian ethos, as is the importance of developing a Growth Mindset in all our staff and pupils. Carol Dweck’s research out of Stanford University has a psychological-cognitive focus, identifying a growth mindset with dynamic intelligence, learning from failure and adventurous risk-taking. This mindset also embodies a life in Christ. Persevering with effort in the face of challenge and collaborating with others interdependently are signposts of our Christian ethos as much as they are proven strategies for success.
As a staff we will have high expectations for all children, asking ourselves what do we need to do differently to provide access rather than asking if access is possible. We will model being human, explicitly sharing our learning with pupils and each other, laughing at our mistakes and inviting help to improve. We will focus learning on process rather than outcome. We will specifically praise pupils and each other when they fail with a smile, requiring them to discuss what they would do next time to build resilience. We will teach our children to cheer each other on when facing a challenge so that working hard will be the norm. We will introduce a system with clear expectations, boundaries and routines that focuses behaviour on learning where there is a “quiet buzz” rather than constant silence. Pupils will be taught behaviours for collaborating and challenging each other. These are behaviours we will explicitly plan and practice as a staff and community.
Our school will shift the conceptual focus from teaching to learning, where we adults are learning leaders and facilitators. We will remind each other continually that true engagement is possible when pupils are actively creating their learning instead of passively receiving it. This is no easy task for every lesson and will take a great deal of practice. Each staff meeting will have 10 minutes devoted to the “80-20 rule” sharing what’s gone well and where challenges lie. We will have clear expectations for the proportion of adult-focused activities throughout each phase of learning. While this is an aim many of us have tried to do before, I will take advantage of the fact that we are creating habits as we create our school. As a staff, we will develop clear understanding about what engagement looks, sounds and feels like in learning.
A significant challenge for many teachers is in developing an understanding of progress through a lesson as well as over time. This skill is a crucial building block for any teacher’s practice. Over the next few months, I have the opportunity to work with an excellent school to help teachers define and practice planning and assessing progress within their lessons. My leadership in this area at Park will be to support staff to define what progress may look like using success criteria and all the implications this has for aligning with summative assessment. We will collaborate as a staff to establish consistency in progress throughout the school.
At Park, we will embody Joseph Renzulli’s famous assertion that “a rising tide lifts all ships.” Rather than reserving challenge for children we have identified as being more able than others, our learning will challenge all children based on their different starting points. I will share specific strategies, both across and specific to phases and subjects which are focused on increasing challenge for the whole class. We will develop a shared definition and understanding of what challenge is using Bloom’s Taxonomy. I will also resource staff with icons I developed working on the Complex Classroom Project which add dimensions of depth and complexity across areas of learning and build in differentiation.
Approaches to pedagogy
The Growth Mindset culture at Park will be at the heart of the school’s approach to teaching and learning which informs aspects to create a set of principles.
All lessons will incorporate teaching from the front with a combination of group and independent activities, interactive practical learning and use of ICT where appropriate. Independent and group activities will be differentiated according to ability as classes will be of mixed ability. Children with SEN(D) will be supported as detailed below.
Teachers will plan lessons within a sequence of learning objectives and activities rather than simply on a weekly basis. As a result, units of learning will not necessarily begin on a Monday or finish on a Friday, depending on children’s needs and progression. For example, if most of the class did not make progress and achieve the success criteria in a maths lesson on a Friday, they will revisit it with different activities the following Monday to ensure they have the depth of knowledge required to move on to a new unit of learning. Lesson planning will be an iterative process, with clear objectives and activities that are flexible and amendable according to daily evaluations.
Another key aspect of lesson planning is specifying the differentiated activities for each group to ensure everyone’s needs are appropriately met.
Teaching and learning strategies to develop a love for learning
Park Community School will nurture a love of learning using “Bright Sparks” Brain Games, a range of activities that challenge and develop children’s higher order thinking skills. Using these 5 – 15 minute exercises is an excellent strategy to support children to settle in and provide structure for transition times throughout the day such as during registration and handing in home learning, coming into the classroom from the playground or at the end of the day. In addition to building concentration, these types of activities also build a love for competition and team spirit when children are given opportunities to earn class points. Used in combination with DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) time in which children compete together to beat their longest group concentration time during which all are reading without distraction, the school will build our culture of loving learning by giving teachers tools and resources to strengthen associations between learning and enjoyment from the earliest age. These types of strategies are part of outstanding teachers’ toolkits used to build a Growth Mindset in their classrooms:
- Analogies (across subjects examining how words, images, people, concepts relate to each other)
- I’m the Teacher! (identify common mistakes the class teacher intentionally makes to clarify misconceptions)
- PMI usually related to current or previous learning (identify the “pluses, minuses and interesting” things about a unique scenario e.g. chocolate door handles)
- Odd one out usually related to current or previous learning (identify which is the odd one out in a group of images e.g. blue isosceles triangle, red rhombus and green circle)
- Here’s the answer. What’s the question? (suggest as many possible questions that could be answered by the word/number/explanation)
Differentiation to enable high expectations for all abilities
At Park Community School we believe that a rising tide lifts all ships. This will be exemplified in our teaching through independent, paired and group learning activities. Rather than planning activities to make it easiest for the lowest achievers to complete their work and then layering on more work for more able children, Park teachers will plan lessons starting with the highest achievers’ activities and then scaffolding support for children who need it. This approach does not mean planning activities that are inaccessible for children who have SEN or still learning English. Rather our standard for lessons will be characterised by the consistency of provision of activities requiring higher order thinking skills as defined by Bloom’s Taxonomy, regardless of the ability of each group. High expectations will be evident in day-to-day learning and documented in monitoring of books and planning rather than solely in summative assessments.
Celebrating learning as achievement
Building on our Growth Mindset, Park Community School will shift the focus from achievement as a one-off event to a continual learning process meeting multiple challenges. The focus on challenge will cultivate a love of learning for children and staff alike. Individual and class achievement will be celebrated using a variety of activities and strategies. In addition to verbal praise, an example of celebrating individual achievement includes sending the child a note home praising persistence in a lesson, improved times tables, or even demonstrating great behaviour for learning in a timed interval.
Awarding a merit certificate for perseverance or most improved maths/History/PE learning or behaviour for learning is an example of public celebration of individual achievement, where the focus is on improvement and continual learning rather than on one-time event. Class achievement will include the awarding of a Class Learning Cup for making the most progress in a certain subject, the Park Community Cup for a class nominated for building and exemplifying the school ethos or winning the weekly Attendance Cup that may be awarded with a voucher for a class learning game or extra minutes on the playground.
Robust Continuing Professional Development and Performance Management
Park Community School leadership will engage staff in the continual school improvement process using self-evaluation to inform performance management which in turn informs priorities for whole-staff and targeted Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Reflecting our Christian ethos, we will demonstrate a commitment to support the holistic development of staff and through CPD will personalise and differentiate learning for teachers and support staff as much as we will do so for our children. Our understanding of CPD is not simply limited to staff meetings and INSET days; these compare to whole class teaching sessions. Staff will also be provided personalised group and independent learning activities such as peer observations, project focus groups and assessment partners. Individual teachers will be observed by each other as well as the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to make sure there is an atmosphere of good discipline and fun in their learning. Observations will ensure that activities are appropriately differentiated while being challenging regardless of ability.
All these activities feed into performance management meetings that are similar to the coaching sessions we will have with each child. Performance management will be robust because it will move beyond routine target setting and review meetings to incorporate regular monitoring of lesson planning, reviews of children’s books, formative and summative assessment and observations of teaching and learning. The school will have a monitoring calendar that outlines how and when each aspect of teachers’ work is being monitored, identifying whole school CPD priorities and targeting subsequent and specific support on an ongoing basis.
Our use of the term ‘home learning’ is a very intentional departure from homework, which is often given because it is expected rather than for a specific intention. We are aware of children’s need to consolidate learning in meaningful ways outside school while still enjoying a full childhood. Home learning activities will focus on consolidation and practice of key skills and providing time to enjoy reading and connect learning beyond the classroom.
For this reason, developing relationships with parents and carers is a key factor in the impact of learning at home. Building partnerships with families, we will assign aspects of project-based learning at home along themes identified in pupils’ learning councils and the Parents and Carers Forum on learning. To ensure all children are supported, we will offer support for those families who are unable to support certain aspects of their children’s home learning through workshops and home learning clubs as needed. Dependent on affordability, pupils and parents and carers will have access to our Learning Platform.
Assessment, reporting and monitoring
Assessment for Learning
A sophisticated understanding of pupils’ progress in each lesson and over time will drive teaching and learning. PCS will have a clearly set out assessment cycle which is continuous and involves leaders, teachers and support staff. Using a system for analysing assessment data, the cycle involves SLT action planning at whole school including CPD priorities and strategies, teacher level including performance management and coaching to identify priorities for group and individual level interventions. Staff will distinguish between assessment of learning to get a snapshot of pupils’ achievement at one point in time and assessment for learning to identify next steps for pupils and progression routes through units of learning to plan and personalise their activities.
As mentioned above the Growth Mindset culture will embed the use of key AfL techniques such as clearly defined learning objectives, focus on process of learning rather than the product and success criteria which is developed with pupils’ input. Our induction training based on Dylan William’s work in this area will support pupils’ abilities to identify where and when they do not understand or prioritise deeper learning where needed. For this reason, pupils will review their attainment and progress with their personal coaches, looking at the raw data of how many national curriculum points progress they are making each term and identify strategies for accelerating their progress when necessary.
A register of the top 5-10% of each cohort (identified through a combination of statistical and behavioural indicators) will be used to identify higher ability children for monitoring to ensure they are being challenged and are learning at an accelerated rate to prevent stagnation when attaining higher levels.
Pupils identified on the AG&T register will have excellent attendance and behaviour; this includes developing social skills in some gifted children who have difficulty working with peers.
We seek to ensure that these pupils have a positive attitude to their learning and are involved in all aspects of school life (attendance records, achievement, representation at enrichment activities and participation in the School Parliament). These pupils who speak English as an additional language will value their first and/or other languages as an economic asset for the future. The Inclusion Manager will provide leadership in identification, monitoring and resources in helping to ensure we are meeting the needs for these children in each area.
Involving parents and carers
In line with our focus on partnering with families, we will work to involve parents and carers in the process of assessing children’s learning on a regular and ongoing basis. This input will be part of our larger Assessment for Learning (AfL) strategy to provide insight and enable us to plan activities building on children’s learning and development beyond the school walls. From Reception, we will meet with parents and carers each term to discuss their child’s learning. In addition, staff will provide a written summary of children’s attainment against the ELGs or national curriculum levels.
Throughout each phase of learning, teachers will use daily formative assessment and monthly levelling to moderate summative termly judgments. While daily teaching and learning requires constant formative assessment, teachers will level reading, writing and maths learning in books at least once per month using National Curriculum levels. Frequent levelling of learning in core subjects will ensure consistency, accuracy and build children’s motivation. With this evidence documented in children’s books, teachers will record termly summative judgements in the MIS to give a measure of progress for individuals, classes and cohorts. This data will be used to identify staff-specific action points each term to ensure the school is constantly engaged with the improvement cycle. The Assistant Principal responsible for Curriculum and Standards will ensure that assessments are accurate and consistent with the national standard using the Assessing Pupils’ Progress grids. For this reason, summative judgments will be a balance of tests moderated with evidence of ongoing assessments in children’s books.
The Assistant Principal (Curriculum and Standards) will lead SLT and the rest of the staff through annual standardisation of sublevels for the core subjects to ensure learning that is levelled according to a school standard rather than a class-specific standard (i.e. a piece of writing levelled at 1a in Year 1 is also 1a in Year 3 or 3c in Year 2 is also 3c in Key Stage 2). Strong links with other primary schools and local secondary schools will enable us to standardise, and later moderate, judgements at the end of Key Stage 2 to ensure we are confident that even in Key Stage 3 at another school; our children will be truly working at Level 4 or 5.
Once our judgements are standardised, we will have termly moderation of samples of learning in books to confirm teacher assessments which are recorded for tracking and monitoring. This process reviewing evidence in books rather than on tests keeps the focus on learning. Consequently, we will build and develop teachers’ understanding of the criteria for National Curriculum levels, and more importantly, their understanding of children’s progression through these levels that will enable them to identify next steps for learning quickly and easily. The marking policy and its implementation will involve children in reflecting on their learning with self and peer assessment as well as teacher assessment to identify next steps to move forward.
High expectations will be evident in day-to-day learning and documented in monitoring of books and planning rather than solely in summative assessments. Another key outcome will be accuracy of teacher assessments judged in moderation across partner schools around Merton and Kingston. We will see a growing love of learning with the numbers of children registered in extracurricular games and activities such as Maths Challenge and Poetry Competitions.
Pupil Wellbeing: Safeguarding
Park Community School takes safeguarding children very seriously, both physically and emotionally. The Principal will be the named Child Protection Officer who will be responsible for liaison and action with social services and other agencies as appropriate. Because child protection is the responsibility for all members of staff, the Principal will also ensure that staff induction (including that of any community volunteers) includes training on identifying concerns, handling disclosure and confidentiality with ongoing training provided. Maintaining each child’s safety, dignity and privacy will be at the centre of our safeguarding policy. For this reason, safeguarding also includes specific protocol for maintaining a central register of all enhanced CRB checks for any adults working with our children as well as clearly outlined e-safety and acceptable use policies for staff and for children. We will have a named Local Academy Board Member to be Safeguarding Liaison as well as providing training on safer recruitment for all members of the Governing Body.
Pupil Wellbeing: Anti-Bullying
True to our Christian ethos, Park will have zero tolerance for any type of discrimination or bullying. It can make a child or staff member so worried that he or she can’t work well at school, often leading to persistent absence to get away from it. This type of situation is unacceptable.
Our school understands that bullying can mean many different things. These are some ways children and young people have described bullying:
- being called names and teased
- being systematically ignored and left out
- being pushed, pulled about or being hit or attacked
- having one’s bag and other possessions taken and thrown around
- having rumours spread about someone
- being forced to hand over money or possessions
- being attacked, teased or called names because of one’s religion or colour or sexuality.
Park Community School will have a robust anti-bullying strategy to build pupils’ self esteem, create an ability to empathise and an atmosphere of valuing and encouraging the uniqueness of each person in our community. As the school grows, we will also develop a peer mentoring programme on the playground to support social learning and dispute resolution. Peer mentors will be trained in dispute resolution strategies as well as how to initiate and lead games for younger children. We will also use a traffic light system for playground areas and other non-academic times and areas.
Park will use a Restorative Justice problem-solving approach to prevent these incidents from taking seed in any person’s thinking and feeling. The No Blame Approach is a multi-step process to develop shared responsibility among bullies and witnesses to stop bullying episodes by forming a problem-solving group. This approach has been remarkably successful in schools in addressing incidents, preventing recurrence of any further ones and in helping victims feel safe at school.
In the event that a bullying incident (or situation) is reported to a member of staff, the Assistant Principal responsible for Community Development and Inclusion will meet with the child to record a report of his or her experience. A victim report will be completed (often by the staff member after the meeting) providing opportunity to record how the child feels about being in class, on the playground, in the lunch hall and/or anywhere else where s/he feels vulnerable to the bullies. The victim report also records the account of the bullying incident/s that lead to feeling vulnerable.
This report is shared with the child’s parents or carers and it is then used in the next stage in which the Assistant Principal and/or the Principal will meet with a problem-solving group which is comprised of the bully/bullies, one or two witnesses and an advocate for the victim. These children will only be informed that they are there to help solve a problem for a child at school. They are not informed who it is, only how the child feels. The group discussion focuses on building empathy, then shared responsibility and finally the children make an action plan to ensure the situation does not occur again. The group will meet together in a later review meeting and these actions will be monitored on a regular basis both with the victim directly as well as with his or her advocate/s.
During the meeting, no blame is attached, but it is made clear that any further incident will be an automatic red zone incident on the behaviour traffic lights. The parents or carers of the bully/bullies will be informed of the incident/s, the meeting and agreed actions as well as consequences of further bullying.
In the very rare event that bullying continues, the bully/bullies will be excluded for a fixed term and the school will work with the bully and his or her family to address underlying causes for this behaviour. At this point, the school will be prepared to engage multi-agency support such as involvement with CAMHS for the victim as well as for the bully during and after the fixed term exclusion.
The key details will be recorded in the school’s bullying log, and will include:
- name of bully/bullies
- date, time and location of the incident/s
- detailed account of the incident/s
- actions taken by the staff member
- agreed outcomes from no-blame problem solving group
- review date with the problem-solving group
- any further agreed actions
Pupil Wellbeing: Developmental Assets
Park Community School will use the Developmental Assets framework to provide a structure and strategy to personalise wellbeing for each child. A study by the ‘Search Institute’ of 2.2 million young people and families in the US, has demonstrated that adding to these assets has a long-lasting impact on children’s long-term development.
Chapel St is developing a simple assessment tool to identify which significant assets already exist for a child and which need to be developed in his or her personal, familial or social setting. Using this tool, the Family and Community Liaison will work with each child’s class teacher to create a pupil development plan to prioritise work with parents and carers to ensure that assets are created and developed in the child’s home and social life to enhance their learning and wellbeing. In addition, the school will work with other community organisations to ensure that families receive the support they need. The school will establish a contract or covenant with each family prior to their child’s enrolment. In this simple agreement, parents and carers will commit themselves to engage fully in the development of the family development plan, to help their child reach the targets set out in their pupil development plan and to contribute to the life and community of the school and wider community.
Pupil Personal Development: Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory
We will also work with pupils to raise awareness of their own development and achievement and what they need to do to progress further. This will be aided by development of a common language of learning and development between pupils, staff and parents. We have chosen the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI) to support this. ELLI is a proven tool in schools in the UK to allow pupils to self assess and build “Learning Power”. The seven dimensions of learning power used by ELLI are Changing and Learning, Meaning Making, Curiosity, Creativity, Learning Relationships, Resilience and Strategic Awareness. All staff will be trained in coaching children to support and nurture their personal development using the ELLI framework by the third year of opening. While many children may have their class teacher as their personal coach, others may have the Business Operations Manager, the Enrichment Leader or the Principal as their personal coach.
We anticipate this approach to have a very positive impact on the relationships between staff, pupils and parents and underpinning our ethos. Staff will know pupils’ potential very well and differentiation in lesson planning and delivery of activities will target pupils’ individual needs. Inclusion is a key focus of our Christian ethos, where pupils will be included in the life of the school and develop their abilities in day-to-day activities as a member of the community regardless of their particular needs or abilities. There will be a variety of co-curricular activities that further opportunities to provide a vehicle for pastoral care such as through music, drama, other languages, gardening.