Three is the magic number!
The old saying is that things come in threes. Sometimes it is buses, sometimes bad news but sometimes it is good feedback! In the last week I have had three very positive responses about the school and I thought it would be good to share them with you.
Firstly, I am pleased to say that we have learned that once again over 1000 parents have placed us on their list of preferred schools for a place in Y7 next September. We also receive anonymous feedback from parents about their applications and it has proved a truly encouraging read. Many of them are from parents who already have children at the school and their comments reflect their wider experience and relationship with the school in a very positive way.
Many comments are in the spirit of, ‘This is a strong school with good values that align with our family’s values. We know our son would thrive in this school and fulfil his potential.’ Other comments are equally encouraging; ‘I want my child to attend your school because I want nothing but the best for my child. I know your school is renowned for academic excellence and inspirational performance. With this in mind I know my child will acquire the best skills and knowledge required for her future.’ Of course this is what we hope will be the case for all of our students and we are very grateful to have earned that confidence in all that we are trying to achieve.
I am also grateful for the specific feedback about our Open Evening, a significant event each school year. One parent has written extensively and I have shared their comments with the staff to thank them for all they do to make the evening such a success. ‘First impressions count and with the welcome and professional organisation of the staff and students we instantly felt at ease. We were very impressed and captivated by the opening Orchestra playing before the presentation. We both felt it was powerful and inspiring to hear from both students and the Headteacher explaining a vast variety of areas. During the presentation so many of our questions were answered. We were particularly pleased to hear about how safeguarding is managed and how easy and approachable it is for children to express any issues or concerns. One of the many attractions to the school is the excellent communication which is at the forefront of everything. This is evident from what we saw from the prospectus, website and personal experience. There is a strong sense of teamwork between student, teacher and parent that they instil and encourage. We also enjoyed the tour with a student full of enthusiasm and passion for the school!’
The second piece of feedback is in response to an assessment of the school by the SSAT who use a Framework of Educational Excellence. They looked closely at the professional learning that takes place by staff at the school.
‘There is consistency amongst all stakeholders of the vision and values of the school when it comes to professional learning. Professional learning is clearly at the heart of the leadership at SBE through its Leadership and Training Centre with a separate Assistant Headteacher leading staff development. Governors are also aware of the importance of professional learning and students are also involved in this to some degree.
It is clearly evident that staff feel supported - this is evident with staff satisfaction at the school and the high staff retention. There is a range of support and development and several avenues for staff to develop their own expertise in teaching and learning. Staff are also able to share best practice through teaching and learning groups and their own professional development.
Student outcomes are also good with the school achieving a 0.2 progress 8 score. It is also evident that students are aware of some of the professional learning of teaching staff as some school council representatives have been trained on the school Magenta principles and been used to observe the practice in the school. SBE has shared much good practice through joint meetings with Hazeley Academy - their fellow trust school.’
Thirdly, and finally, we received a visit from the Whole Education network as part of their Stand Out Schools initiative. This includes Headteachers and Senior Leaders from other schools. They focused on our use of our ASK framework and our work on inclusion. The network looks at how well schools provide a holistic education for their students and that is a key area of the work across the 5 Dimensions Trust. Once again the feedback was extremely encouraging with comments such as;
"I asked a student what the best thing about this school is and they said the teachers care."
"The work of the inclusion centre has really changed the way I think."
"ASK is there! It is in lessons and students know about it."
"Your staff were really visible. It was impressive to see the staff acting as one body with such a shared emphasis”
“The way staff greet students at the classroom doors is really powerful”
"I felt welcome when going into lessons and was spoken to openly and honestly by staff and students"
“This is where I would love my children to go to school!”
It has been encouraging and rewarding to have these three bits of feedback come into school over the last week and everyone here values the fact that our commitment to our young people is recognised and appreciated. It’s a pleasure to share this with you and thank you to everyone involved in these activities and comments which we will use to help us to continue to improve every aspect of the school and across the Trust.
Shenley Brook End School