The Department for Education’s (DfE) guidance document ‘Every School a Good School – A Policy for School Improvement’ (2009) aims to raise standards and promote equality in all our schools. Its vision is to embed across all schools the characteristics of effective schooling: effective leadership; child- centred provision; high-quality teaching and learning; and a school connected to its community. At the core of the policy is self-evaluation, using performance data and other information, leading to sustained self-improvement.
The guidance emphasises that school improvement is first and foremost the responsibility of the school, based on the premise that schools themselves are best placed to identify areas for improvement and to implement changes that can bring about better outcomes for pupils.
Here at The King’s resulting actions and targets arising out of our self-evaluation are captured in our school development plan (SDP). Whilst our SDP has actions and targets ranging over one to three years, we review it annually in order to make any necessary adjustments in light of new information flowing from our self-evaluation.
The School Development Planning Cycle
In summary, our school development cycle follows five steps:
The School Development Plan (SDP)
The King’s school development plan is divided into five key areas. We believe that asking what we want to achieve in each of these key areas is crucial to our continuous school improvement journey. The five key areas are:
A Safe Learning Environment:
First and foremost, a school needs to be a safe and inclusive environment where students and adults alike can flourish. Without this all else fails. The strategic area of a safe learning environment will deliver, in line with all statutory obligations, the very best possible working practices in keeping students and adults protected and safe; that working practices respond in a timely manner to students’ educational needs.
Second, a school needs great leadership. Great schools have great leaders who have an internal compass, know the direction that needs to be taken and recognise and nurture leadership as it emerges from any part of the organisation – recognising that leadership is not by virtue of position alone. The strategic area of leadership is focused on delivering and sustaining strong ethical leadership and management at all levels across the school by investing in people, retaining talent and adding strategic capacity.
Teaching and Learning:
Third, teaching and learning is recognised as the core business of school life and delivers an unwavering focus on creating for our students learning experiences that will last a lifetime. The strategic area of teaching and learning will nurture exceptional professional development for staff; informed by research, in order to reduce the variation in the quality of teaching and learning so that it is a consistently outstanding experience for all learners.
Curriculum Development (including SIAMS):
Fourth, the curriculum is built from a core of knowing God’s truth and love where students can transition seamlessly between the different phases of their education. The strategic area of curriculum is focused on delivering a provision of study that meets the needs, aspirations and ambitions of all students so that they are able to make a positive contribution in the world through the manifestation of our Christian values.
Achievement for All:
Fifth, The King’s will be that serendipitous moment for a child, where their life chances are improved. The strategic area of achievement will deliver approaches to the use of data, student assessment, monitoring and tracking of performance, as well as the support of a wide range of external agencies, in order to respond in a timely manner to an individual student’s need in order that they can be the best that they can be.
Sixth, people get your ‘why’ not your ‘how’. Communication will ensure that all stakeholders understand the ethical and Christian narratives that drive The King’s school community; that as far as is humanly possible all stakeholders work from a knowledge of the reality and not a perceived reality. The strategic area of communication will deliver clarity and transparency of roles, systems and processes across the school leading to the strongest possible relationships with all stakeholders, in particular students, parents and carers.
Finance, Building and Resources:
Seventh, the school will remain acutely aware that it is spending public monies and that this is a finite resource. The strategic area of finance buildings and resources will deliver the development and maintenance of first class facilities together with rich and diverse resources (including human resources); the stewardship of funds will ensure that all priority areas of the academy SDP can be fulfilled within agreed timescales.