Improvements at Wayland Junior Academy are well underway
The report from Ofsted’s inspection of Wayland Junior Academy in July 2019 has now been published (click on the attachment below to read).
Strengths of the school
Wayland Junior Academy has an exceptional team of staff who are committed to continuing recent improvements and I have every confidence in their passion, determination and ability to do so. They share my passion and commitment to making sure that every pupil at Wayland Junior has a good quality education.
A concerted focus on improving teaching and learning in maths is making a real difference to our pupils’ attainment. Our latest SATs results show that the percentage of pupils making the expected progress in maths has increased from 56% in 2018 to 71% this year. What’s more, the measure of progress used for maths, which takes account of each pupil’s starting point, has seen a huge improvement (from -5.6 to -1.12). We are also proud that 100% of our pupils for whom English is not their first language reached the government’s expected standards in maths.
With your support, we have seen improved attendance levels that are recognised by Ofsted to be “regularly above the national average”. This is a key foundation for your child’s success in their learning, contributing to improvements in the overall progress made by pupils, including significant improvements in their results in maths.
Ofsted also say that safeguarding is effective, that our pupils are “polite, friendly and welcoming”, and that we have specific activities and support in place for more vulnerable pupils.
Improvements implemented quickly
I would like to reassure parents and carers that the snapshot of the school provided in the report does not reflect where we are today. Key improvements that were made during the last academic year had not been in place long enough for their impact to be fully evident.
- Since I took up post as Interim Principal in January, we have worked hard to instil an approach to learning that is positive, purposeful, and which encourages pupils to take pride in their work. As a result, we have seen greater participation by pupils in lessons and in assemblies, and a genuine enthusiasm by the children for getting involved in our Pupil Council.
- We extended the successful work we had been doing with a maths specialist leader of education, who had been working directly with our teachers on this key area of the curriculum. This summer’s SATs results show that this work on improving maths has made a real difference.
- We also started working with a school improvement specialist (an experienced former headteacher) to provide rigorous independent scrutiny of the work we have been doing to raise standards, so that we can have real confidence in the improvements we have made.
In the words of the Ofsted inspectors, much needed systems to support school improvement had been “quickly implemented”, but at the time of the visit this work was “still in its early stages”.
What more we are doing
Building on the positive changes introduced last year, we have started the new school year with further measures in place, and with more to follow, that will make a real difference in key areas:
- Raising achievement: We are working with a highly experienced, independent specialist in school improvement to pinpoint the changes we can make, subject by subject, with a particular focus on English and maths, to ensure consistently high standards of learning for every pupil.
- Strengthening assessment: We are strengthening our assessment practices through a new link with PiXL (Partners in Excellence), which will help us to improve teaching and learning, drawing on best practice from more than 830 primary schools in the network.
- Improving behaviour: Working with Pivotal Education, we are introducing a new approach to behaviour management – one which focuses on positive reinforcement of the behaviour we expect in and out of the classroom.
- Use of Pupil Premium funding: As recommended by the inspectors, we are now working with an improvement partner to identify ways we can make more effective use of Pupil Premium funding, to help us improve outcomes for pupils of all abilities from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Pastoral support: For the start of this academic year, we have created a new pastoral support role, which will play a key role in supporting all pupils to thrive in school, receive any additional help or support they may need, and follow the behaviours needed for learning.
- Support from our Governing Body and Trust: The Executive Principal has moved to replace the Local Governing Body (Wayland Junior Academy Council) with an Interim Executive Board (IEB). This board will be made up of experienced primary phase headteachers and improvement partners, who will challenge and support me in continuing to make the necessary rapid improvement and progress. To stabilise and ensure confidence, The Trust has confirmed my post as Principal to continue driving forward with improvements. The Trust have also supplied a teaching and learning specialist to support with the ongoing quality assurance and improvement of provision in our classrooms.
For every member of the Wayland Junior Academy community to be the best they can be, everyone has a part to play. Whether pupil, teacher, or parent/carer, we can all make a positive difference on the quality of learning that happens every day in school.
That is why we are increasing the involvement of pupils and parents in what happens in our school. We are listening to the views of our pupils on a very regular basis through fortnightly interviews and strengthening the pupil voice through our school council.
We want parents and carers, and the wider community, to be more actively involved and contributing more of their skills and enthusiasm to the school too. We have set up Friends of Wayland Junior to help with this – do please get involved if you are not already.
All of us at Wayland Junior Academy are completely committed to continuing the improvements that are already underway, and to doing our very best for your child/children. This process is being supported by the Trust, by external school improvement specialists, as well as by Ofsted who will make a series of follow-up visits to look at the progress we are making.
We are going to work incredibly hard together, with you, your children, our improvement partners, and the wider community, to keep building on the positive changes that are already well underway.
Wayland Junior Academy's latest Ofsted report can be viewed by downloading the PDF below.