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What have been our successes this year?
We are a school that works extremely hard to ensure that all students achieve to the best of their ability and are safe and happy whilst doing so. Traditional values - honesty, respect and appropriate behaviours for learning - are important to us as we shape young people into citizens of the 21st Century.
This year we have taken a long, hard look at ourselves and have committed to making improvements that will give your child the best educational provision during their time with us; high quality teaching and learning rigorously monitored; care and guidance systems to support the needs of every child; real partnership with parents and carers where dialogue is welcomed; student tracking to ensure that we can intervene as soon as we identify underachievement; a curriculum that provides appropriate pathways for every student; and a community provision that brings learning into the homes of Pensnett.
Ofsted have already highlighted the relentless determination of the school's leadership to improve the school, and we have extended this with new appointments at all management levels that are bringing about a revitalised approach to learning that benefits every student.
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What are we trying to improve?
Ofsted (June 2006) gave the school a Notice to Improve based on 2005 results. The 2006 results show significant improvement. Regular inspections are confirming that the school is making progress towards the following developments.
To satisfy the criticisms from Ofsted, we are focusing on 7 key areas:
1. Ensuring that all students achieve a qualification
2. Improving standards in some areas and results across the school through a rigorous intervention strategy for underperforming students
3. Improving standards of teaching by challenging underperforming teachers
4. Helping students to become more engaged with learning through more exciting and interesting lessons
5. Improving levels of attendance 6. Giving students more guidance to help them improve through better marking and explanations in lessons
7. Holding staff to account for their contribution to raising standards
We are also trying to
8. Reduce numbers of days lost through exclusions
9. Make the school stable financially
10. Increase the year 7 intake to the school
11. Develop the curriculum to meet changing needs and requirements
12. Develop the school provision to provide additional opportunities for students and the community
How are we making sure that every child gets teaching to meet their individual needs?
- Our Primary schools pass on information about the needs of every student before they arrive.
- Initially students are setted based on their Key Stage 2 results – all subjects are setted wherever possible.
- Students with special educational needs are monitored carefully, taking advice from the Primary Schools and are given as much support as we can, with a Student Support department of qualified staff to meet the specific needs of these students.
- Regular tests and tracking allow us to check that students are performing as expected and they are placed in the most appropriate sets.
- Interventions are used – curriculum pathways, personalised timetables, individual support plans, etc are used to help students who are underperforming.
- Progress reviewed 3 times a year with summary progress reports to parents and a full report annually.
- Regular monitoring of the quality of Teaching and Learning maintains standards and staff development used to improved standards.
- Curriculum structures provide alternative pathways to match individual needs and interests.
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How do we make sure our pupils are healthy, safe and well-supported?
- We provide lessons in Citizenship to help student understand the rights and responsibilities of the 21st Century.
- Holding the Health Promoting School Award, we encourage our students to eat sensibly and provide healthy and appetising meals and snacks. Fried foods are kept to a minimum and fizzy drinks are not available. We provide fresh water for students.
- The school implements a robust Drugs policy and we have taken the most robust action against students who break the code and put other students at risk.
- We constantly work to make our buildings as safe as possible, promoting this through the presence of adults around the school and clear visibility throughout our buildings.
- We do not tolerate bullying and implement an anti-bullying policy which is shared with students. Once informed, we work in partnership with students and their parents/carers to get the best outcome for the victim, providing counselling and mediation as required.
- A dedicated pastoral team is available to support students with concerns at any time.
- A mentoring programme operates throughout the school.
- Safety increased through Safer Schools.
- Partnership – on-site Police, Mediator and Project Worker.
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How are we working with parents and the community?
As holders of Charter Mark for Excellence in Public Service ,Investor in People, Leading Parent Partnership Award, we take our work with parents and the community very seriously.
- Bi-annual parental survey, Teaching Assistant training programme,· adult mentoring, Reading scheme, Young-enterprise, Parent Forum Group, Students at risk of drop-out, work on extended work placements
- Dudley Education Business Partnership worked with school to provide Work Related Learning, Enterprise Education and Awareness Interviews.
- Multi Agency Liaison with Ethnic Minority Advisory Service, Safer School’s Partnership, Local Youth Service, Dudley Parent Partnership, Connexions, Nacro, Psychology Service, Education Welfare Service, EMAS, Worth Project.
- Partnership working with the Brierley Hill Regeneration Unit
- Year 10 students have 2 weeks work experience in the community
- Out of Hours Learning, Family Learning and Adult Education opportunities with full evaluations.
- Year 5 and Year 6 pupils experience Technology at Pensnett .
- Gifted and talented Technology opportunities provided to primaries.
- High use of school premises by local user groups – Youth Club, Local Neighbourhood Learning Centre, Numerous football teams-both male and female, Table Tennis Club, Local Bingo Group, Athletics .
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What activities are available to pupils?
- Out of Hours Learning: Saturday, Easter and Summer Schools, Breakfast, Lunchtime & Twilight supervised study sessions in ICT suites, Clubs in Science, Technology, Art, Music lessons, Bike Club, Girls Talk, Aim Higher gifted & talented, Year 9 Lunchtime Youth Club.
- Sport: numerous clubs & teams, Enrichment Day activities-sailing, canoeing.
- Events: Young Chef, Car Modeling & design competitions, Rock the Castle, UK Maths Challenge, Inter-school Enterprise, Young Enterprise, Student Youth Parliament, Y11 Prom, Trips UK & abroad
- Community work: Harvest, Celebration of Pensnett, Diwali celebration, Black Month activities, Fundraising (various), Wolverhampton Wanderers Dawn, Dusk and Twilight Project.
- Individual: Prefects, Mentors, Librarian, Form captains, Buddying, School & Year Councils, Mediators, junior tutors at Summer School, Mock interviews.
- Family Learning classes for students and their parent/carer.
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What have pupils told us about the school, and what have we done as a result?
Following students' comments from regular surveys, council and interviews:
- All staff appointments include student interview panel
- Through the School Council upgrades in litter bins, seating around school, garden eating area, table tennis tables, provided activities for lunchtime-games and TV with Sky.
- Introduced reward trip for good attendance, meeting targets, involvement in extra curricular activities.
- Provided breakfast club with microwave to widen choice of food served.
- Provided summary reports for Review Days for students to take home.Students often forget targets and other personal data so all student planners now hold summaries of previous year progress and attendance.
- Healthy Eating survey resulted in Salad Bar and improvement in healthy food choices.
- Out of hours learning and Family Learning surveys used to plan provision- Judo, Healthy Food, and Fencing Courses.
- Following summer school evaluation additional sporting activities provided.
- Informal Marking without comment to improve – minimum marking standards for teachers to follow.
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How do we make sure all pupils attend their lessons and behave well?
- The school regularly reviews its Behaviour and Attendance policies.
- Electronic registration is used am and pm.
- Lesson registrations are compulsory.
- Parents are contacted on the first session of all absences.
- A code of conduct is displayed in all classrooms.
- Although bullying takes place in the school, it is always dealt with.
- A Behaviour Log is used to record and monitor all incidents of poor behaviour.
- Areas needing additional behaviour management strategies are identified and addressed
- Students causing concern are identified for early intervention and the school works with external agencies on providing appropriate support.
- A Learning Support Centre provides support to help students manage their own behaviour for learning
- An Alternative Provision Centre is available to provide learning for students whose behaviour prevents then from working with other students
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How do our absence rates compare with other schools?
- Throughout 2005/6 the school worked on improving attendance and we were pleased to raise our attendance by 3% from its lowest point in February 2005 to meet the 88% target set by the Government. The school has continued to improve its attendance throughout 2006/7
- We did this by making sure that all students and their parents/carers really understood how important attendance is to achieving good results and we challenged absence whenever we felt it was unavoidable.
- Holidays in term time were refused for students whose attendance was already causing concern, and we took legal action against unauthorised absence.
What do our pupils do after year 11?
The school has enjoyed a 100% placement rate for students at the end of Y11 for the last 19 years, but a number drop-out between leaving school and the collection of destination data.
Destinations for students leaving Year 11 in 2006:-
- Further Education : 76% (44% last year)
- Training: 12% (35% last year)
- Employment / Labour Market Entrants: 12% (8% last year)
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Ofsted’s view of our school 2006.
The overall effectiveness of the school is inadequate. The school does not provide satisfactory value for money. These judgements are made because of inadequate teaching in some subjects, leading to a decline in student progress and poor standards. GCSE results were exceptionally low in 2005, partly because some students did not attend their examinations. Students are not making sufficient progress in some subjects, including science and mathematics.
The new headteacher is providing strong leadership, and recent changes illustrate the sound capacity the school has to improve further. Robust action is being taken to deal with unsatisfactory teaching. Behaviour is satisfactory and the number of exclusions is reducing. Attendance, though still below average, is better this year. Monitoring of the students’ progress has started to improve and an appropriate intervention strategy is in place to take action when students are not meeting targets. Students’ personal development and care, guidance and support are all satisfactory. The school has effective systems for ensuring the safety of students.
Though the school judged its effectiveness as satisfactory, it does recognise where it has weaknesses. The headteacher has clearly identified these areas and plans for improvement are sound. Leadership and management are satisfactory overall. However, subject leadership is weaker in some areas than others. Students are not receiving effective academic guidance on what they need to do to improve in some subjects.
Governors are committed to addressing the issues facing the school and are providing robust support for the headteacher. Parents are supportive of the school. The financial situation has been turned from one of potential deficit to a small surplus and better use is being made of resources to improve the teaching and learning environment. The extended school arrangements are being well used in the effort to improve behaviour and attendance. The curriculum is satisfactory overall and the school is further developing its partnership work to provide more opportunities to study for vocational qualifications.
In accordance with section 13 (3) of the Education Act 2005, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires significant improvement, because it is performing significantly less well than in all the circumstances it could reasonably be expected to perform. The school is therefore given a Notice to Improve. Significant improvement is required in relation to the quality of teaching and learning, and the pupils’ achievement and standards.
link to 2006 report
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What have we done in response to Ofsted during 2006/7?
- We have put monitoring systems in place to track all students to make sure they all achieve some qualifications before they leave. Adult Literacy and Numeracy and Key Skills ICT are taken by all students.
- We are tracking the progress of students more rigorously to ensure that we can tell as soon as a student underperforms, then we can support them to achieve to a higher standard.
- New systems and practices have been put into place to make sure that all teachers know what they are expected to do to teach good lessons and we check this regularly, putting support in to help teachers who find it difficult.
- We have introduced a number of ways in which teachers can guide students to achieve to a higher level including more effective marking and dialogue with students in class. ICT is also being used to give more information about courses to students.
- Staff training has been used to make sure that teachers know how to make lessons more interesting so that students stay engaged and make more progress.
- We are working with the Educational Welfare Service to improve the attendance and punctuality of students, rewarding good attendance and challenging poor attendance.
- link to 2007 report