A letter from Mike Donovan
Deputy Regional Lead - West AfA
May I firstly congratulate you and your school, staff, pupils, parents and governors on achieving Quality Lead status. It was a real pleasure to visit your school; meet a variety of key stakeholders and absorb the warmth of the atmosphere all have created.
Below are some of my observations which are in addition to the very well constructed and thorough form you completed in support of your application. Please feel free to select and use any of my comments, plus statements from your application, in future communications.
The thorough and precise response to some disappointing maths outcomes from the previous year is ample testimony to the clarity and focus of the School Improvement Plan. The specific interventions; prepared for and implemented, following exhaustive examination of the variety of programmes available, demonstrates the school's determination to provide the very best for its pupils. External support has been accessed, money and time invested and staff properly trained and prepared in order that pupils may achieve to the best of their ability. The involvement of governors in the development and monitoring of the Improvement Plan is first class and it was fascinating to hear about the "golden thread" relating to maths running through the performance management process.
The school takes great pride in its local community; recognising the enormous value that pupils; interacting with and working alongside local residents can bring to both parties. The fantastic range of joint activities undertaken and the massive number of opportunities the school seizes upon to offer its pupils outside of the norm show how well the school recognises the importance of broadening pupil experience. The benefits in terms of self esteem, confidence and academic progress are well researched and evidenced so it was a delight to witness in reality. The bringing of reality into a number of the pupils' school experiences is also extremely well developed. Pupils are asked to formally apply and go through interview processes for key school roles, they have roles with real responsibility in important school groups and committees and the school is not afraid of giving pupils a platform to express their concerns, wishes, wants, needs and hopes. Most importantly; the school responds to those views.
The school has put a lot of effort into creating a stimulating learning environment both internally and externally. Signage is clear with important messages about learning, thinking and how to solve your own problems prominent and effective. Staff of all types are well trained and have numerous opportunities to participate in and lead local schools' professional development programmes. This sharing of expertise and the recognition that no one has all the knowledge and experience allows staff to develop and flourish in an atmosphere of trust and partnership .
Parents are very well supported and encouraged at Hague Bar with parents being given pre and post school meeting times (thus accommodating working patterns) as well as day time appointments for meeting with staff. Staff are given valuable preparation time to ensure all discussions with parents are meaningful and developmental. The school operates a multi-layered communications approach with newsletters, posters, social media and an active web site all utilised effectively. The deployment of 4 iphones to send messages and capture moments in pupils' learning (within restricted limits) offers parents every opportunity to engage with staff and stimulate conversations with their children. The school has recognised the importance of the school/parent/pupil partnership and has invested time and resources into building pupil profiles that capture inputs from pupils, parents and staff in order to build a real picture of any pupil's: needs, wants and aspirations. Pupils identified: by themselves, their parents or staff as having a particular need are more than encouraged to participate in activities that will stimulate them and build self esteem and confidence.
Once again my congratulations to you and all concerned on the award of Quality Lead status. I will be asking my colleague at Head Office to send your certificate to Berni Hall so you can organise a suitable presentation.