Ysgol Glan Gele Infants and Nursery School

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1 REDUCING THE IMPACT OF POVERTY ON EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT POLICY OBSERVATORY CASE STUDY 1 Name of School/Setting: Ysgol Glan Gele Local Authority: Conwy Type of School/Setting: Infants and Nursery Language Medium: English Number of Pupils: 283 Free School Meal Percentage: 34% Focus of Case Study The importance of having a strategic plan to tackle the impact of poverty, focused on leadership, the deployment of staff, successful learning and teaching strategies and parental/community engagement. Ysgol Glan Gele Infants and Nursery School Ysgol Glan Gele is a large infant school of 300 pupils from 3 to 7 years of age situated in Abergele, Conwy, North Wales. Each year group is organised into three classes. The school serves a predominantly disadvantaged area along the North Wales coast. Approximately 38% of pupils are currently receiving FSM. The Welsh Government Index of Multiple Deprivation identifies the Abergele - Pensarn ward as the 195 th most deprived ward in Wales. 1 The Case Study The school has developed a whole-school approach to reducing the very strong link between poverty and low educational achievement. This approach includes: an action plan that is strategic, developmental, collaborative, evaluative and sustainable and informs the school improvement plan (SIP) acting as a lead practitioner school and through its Pupil Deprivation Grant (PDG) funding, networking with other schools locally and throughout Wales to identify practice that can improve pupils attainment and progress developing strategies to work with parents and the community in improving educational outcomes 1 The most deprived LSOA is ranked 1, and the least deprived 1,896. 1

2 effective deployment of teacher assistants who work with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop their basic and social skills The school has a strong moral purpose that governs all aspects of its life and work and is a recurring theme discussed during staff meetings. This ensures that teachers and learning support assistants understand the importance of the school making a difference to pupils life chances through intervening early (within the first four years of a child s education) to in combatting deprivation and underachievement. An action plan was drawn up to reduce the impact of poverty on pupils attainment following an Inset session. It focuses on interventions based upon the four key aspects identified in the Welsh Government criteria for spending the Pupil Deprivation Grant. These are: Supporting children to do well in school Developing leadership School transition plans Improving family engagement Improving community engagement Role of the Progress Manager The post of Progress Manager was created within the school s senior management team. It includes responsibility for monitoring and evaluating pupils progress using an on line tracking system. The progress manager along with the class teacher makes the maximum use of formative assessment data to set targets for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds who with extra support are challenged to attain a level above that expected for their age (Foundation Phase Outcome 6). The Boxhall Profile is used to identify and target support for pupils who are not making the expected progress in school. These pupils often have barriers to effective learning such as low self-esteem and lack of confidence. Support is provided weekly within a small nurture group to strengthen these pupils emotional, social and personal skills. Teaching Assistants (TA s) work with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop their basic and social skills during lunchtime pastoral groups of targeted FSM pupils. TA s work closely with class teachers to track the progress and attainment of these pupils. They work with pupils on individual targets during these lunchtime pastoral sessions to raise attainment in Literacy and Numeracy and keep a record of all activities and attainment. They also run Homework Clubs for year 2 pupils to ensure they have the support needed to complete home tasks and Learning Log activities. 2

3 Forest and Beach schools, led by seven fully trained staff including two Outdoor Learning mentors, support wellbeing and the development of social and emotional skills. The school has used the Sutton Trust Toolkit 2 to target further improvement in pupil attainment and wellbeing. Strategies found to be most effective were adopted within classrooms and in nurture groups and include developing: Effective feedback to pupils about their learning Peer tutoring during most lessons (Talking partners) Metacognition ensuring that pupils understand how to develop their skills of learning including learning independently. These arrangements ensure early intervention and additional support where and when needed and are believed to be effective in helping to ensure that all pupils remain on track to attain their potential by the end of the Foundation Phase. Developing Leadership The headteacher takes responsibility for analysing data with SLT and the Governors and in developing an annual action plan using the PDG to tackle the influence of poverty on achievement. She also ensures that the plan and its vision are discussed during staff meetings and understood by all. The Progress Manager oversees the implementation of the plan. A Family Liaison Teaching Assistant was appointed using the PDG in September 2012 to develop existing links with the community and to ensure that they are part of the vision the school has developed. A Personal and Social Development Leader coordinates approaches to wellbeing in the school and tracks the progress of FSM pupils within pastoral groups. A member of the Governing Body leads their work in analysing and monitoring the attainment of FSM pupils, helping in the setting of targets and the drawing up of the deprivation action plan. The Chair of the Governing Body also monitors the progress of FSM pupils. Family Liaison Assistants lead the Nurture group each day and carry out a range of engagement, training and support activities with parents. They also attend multiagency and child protection meetings. 2 3

4 School Transition Plan This is identified in the school s action plan as an area for development during spring New protocols on transition arrangements are being drawn up with the junior school, involving sharing of formative data on pupils attainment as they progress through the Foundation Phase. This is designed to improve partnership working between the infant and junior school to improve continuity and progression in pupils learning and raise teachers expectations of pupils on entry to KS2. Improving Family Engagement Having been persuaded by evidence on the importance of family engagement, the school introduced learning logs (see below) for parents to support their children s home tasks. These are designed to promote a continuous dialogue between parents, pupils and school and have improved communication of pupil progress and individual targets. Positive parenting to support their children s home tasks through Learning Logs What is a Learning Log? Learning logs provide parents with information on what learning their children will be undertaking each week. The Learning Logs are sent home each Friday and contain work which introduces the pupils and parents to the tasks and challenges for pupils the following week. How are Learning Logs used? The class teacher adds appropriate learning tasks in the log on a weekly basis. The home tasks are an introduction and an extension to the work to be completed in class the following week. The home tasks are designed to help pupils develop their curiosity and to aid independent and personalised learning. What is the role of parents in contributing to their children s home tasks and learning log? Parents are expected to: show an interest and discuss the home task with their child; provide support when and where needed; tell the class teacher either verbally or through the learning log if the child finds the work too difficult or too easy; 4

5 enjoy being taught by their child and to share in their learning; and ensure the learning log is returned to school on time each week. Improving Community Engagement The school has strong links with the community. Volunteer helpers are drawn from parents, grandparents, friends of the school, trainees from higher education teacher training institutions, individuals in training as learning support assistants from further education colleges, people with links to local businesses and industries and sports volunteers. The school holds weekly Family Learning sessions delivered by a local college funded by Welsh Government. This group focuses on helping parents and carers develop their children s basic skills. The school also delivers Parenting Courses ( Positive Parenting ) on a regular basis in partnership with a local community group. A local college also works in conjunction with the school to deliver IT courses for parents, the most recent being An introduction to the i-pad. Parent Partner sessions are held once each term. Every class invites in parents and carers for the afternoon to access the curriculum with their children. This is an opportunity to showcase recent work and further engage parents in their children s education. Evidence of Impact Glan Gele High performing, school in the top 25% of schools from similar socio - economic areas 5

6 6

7 Where are we now? FP2 Attainment Summer 2013 Outcome 4 Outcome 5 Outcome 6 Difference at 06 FSM LLC Literacy LLC Literacy 9% 61% 30% 22% 6% 42% 52% Non FSM MD 4% 61% 35% 17% Mathematics Non MD 4% 44% 52% FSM PSD 0% 61% 39% 16% Non PSD 4% 31% 65% FSM pupils outperformed non FSM pupils in 2012 as three non FSM pupils had Statements of SEN 7

8 Future Developments Glan Gele Infants is a Lead Practitioner School and hosts visits from numerous schools in the north Wales region and from elsewhere in Wales who come to view good practice in combatting disadvantage. The head also visits other schools to share expertise and to advise on all matters relating to practice in the Foundation Phase. The school wishes to develop as a centre of excellence in providing schoolto- school support. The headteacher believes that if a common pupil tracking system was adopted by all the primary and secondary schools in the cluster this would assist efforts to improve attainment, particularly that of the most disadvantaged pupils. The school s new transition policy will explore these ideas initially with the junior school where pupils will transfer to at seven years of age. The hope is that it could be adopted throughout the cluster into KS3. 8

9 Funding Interventions are financed through: the School Effectiveness Grant (SEG) and the PDG. Summary The key message from this case study is the importance of leaders developing a whole-school approach to reducing the impact poverty has on educational achievement. Theme Particular factor YGG Leadership Designated senior leader Teaching and Learning Engagement with parents and wider community Rigorous use of data and self evaluation Strategic plan that focuses clearly on the achievement of pupils receiving FSM Training and effective deployment of staff including teaching assistants and specialists Strong link with governors Multi-sensory teaching strategies Catch-up programmes Effective feedback and assessment Metacognitive strategies Strong dialogue with parents Adult learning Establishing and sustaining strategic partnerships Key Contact Julia Buckley Jones Headteacher Glan Gele Infant School Abergele Conwy LL22 7NU Tel:

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