Dear parents and carers
This week, I would like to update you on some of the innovative work our school has been leading on.
We are very lucky to have such a large and talented staff and governing body, many of whom are considered to be experts in their field. In our most recent OFSTED inspection this was recognised with a ‘Good’ judgement for both the effectiveness of leadership and management and the quality of teaching and learning. The following comments were made:
· Since the previous inspection, leaders have taken swift and decisive action to bring about rapid improvement. Their actions have ensured that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is good.
· Middle leaders are highly effective in their roles. They are relentless in their pursuit of excellence in their areas of responsibility
· Governors are effective in their roles. They use their precise knowledge of the school to challenge and support leaders appropriately. This contributes to securing positive outcomes for pupils.
· Leaders are tenacious with their use of additional funding. Disadvantaged pupils and pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) make positive progress from their starting points.
We are very proud of this recognition but more importantly it means that your children receive the quality of education that they deserve. Our school leaders help to create the environment from which excellent teaching and learning can take place. Our Senior Leadership Team includes myself, Ms Foster, Miss Craufurd and Mrs Le Bredonchel.
Music has always been important in our school. Many of you will have enjoyed school choir and orchestra performances in the past and I’m sure will agree that the quality of music education in our school is first class. We are very fortunate to have had Ms Foster (Assistant Head Teacher) lead on music provision in our school for a long time now and it is something that we have always placed great importance on, even when many schools had limited music lessons due to the focus on results in English and maths. Ms Foster has led on delivering music training to many teachers including, recently, to groups of teachers from North Devon. Ms Foster’s role also includes supporting disadvantaged children in our school and working with parents to improve attendance.
Miss Craufurd (Assistant Head Teacher) is the Head of Year 3 and also leads on helping to improve pupil and staff well-being and mental health. She has delivered training to staff, pupils and parents on mental health and has worked with other agencies to develop material for the teaching of mental well-being. She is also involved in trialling the Department for Education’s Relationships Curriculum ahead of its implementation in 2020. We place great importance on pupil and staff mental well-being and Miss Craufurd helps to ensure this remains a high priority to the benefit of everyone. In her role as Head of Year 3, Miss Craufurd also works with Ilfracombe Infants School in ensuring as smooth a transition as possible between the two schools so that the children can make a very positive start to their time here.
Mrs Le Bredonchel (Assistant Head Teacher) is the Head of Year 6 and is also our English lead. Our pupils’ reading and writing progress is significantly above average and this points to the quality of provision that is in place across the school. Mrs Le Bredonchel is a Local Authority Writing Moderator which means she visits schools across North Devon to quality assure the judgements of teachers at the end of Key Stage 2. Mrs Le Bredonchel also represents our school as an English Ambassador School in Devon, chosen for excellence in the teaching of writing. Here, new initiatives are discussed and trialled and then shared across the county as examples of good practice. Our school has also been invited to speak at a conference for Devon schools where we look forward to sharing the work that we developed on teaching vocabulary that is now being implemented across a number of schools in Devon.
Furthermore, in maths, our school has achieved 'Numicon Advocate' status. This means we are 1 of 14 schools in the UK that has been recognised for best practice in the teaching of maths using Numicon. Numicon planning and resources are proven to develop pupils’ mathematical understanding very effectively and we host events here so that visiting teachers can come and observe maths lessons taking place. It also means that the school has access to excellent training and resources which is of great benefit to the pupils.
As you may be aware, we have done a lot of work developing our wider curriculum and we were thrilled when OFSTED recognised that ‘the curriculum is the heart and soul of the school.’ This is now very much the focus of inspections around the country and quite rightly so. We began this work 18 months ago and, whilst there is always more to do, we have been at the fore front of developing what we believe is one of the best Primary School curriculums possible. This work has taken place with some of the most respected educationalists in the country and our school will be sharing our work on this at a Devon conference in the New Year. I look forward to sharing more with you on our curriculum and the role that the teachers have as subject leaders in the next Head Teacher update.
I hope that, from reading this, you will have a sense of just some of the examples of excellent work that takes place within the school. It creates a very positive energy amongst the staff and allows us to recruit and retain some of the very best teaching talent. This is, of course, all done with the intention that the young children in Ilfracombe receive a world class standard of education allowing us to provide the community with a school of which everyone can be very proud.
Mr Le Bredonchel