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School Improvement

How do we view the school?

We are expecting Ofsted to visit us again soon and we continue to work hard to prepare for the demands of an inspection. 

We currently rate the overall effectiveness of Curbar Primary School as ‘good’ under the current Ofsted framework. 

When we were last inspected in 2008, we were graded an ‘outstanding’ school.  The Ofsted framework has changed many times since then and it is recognised that the present Ofsted framework of September 2022 has raised the bar even higher with a focus on many different things compared to the school’s 2008 inspection.  In other words, it will almost be impossible to compare one judgement with the other.  It is also much harder to get an outstanding judgement under the new framework and there are now far fewer outstanding schools than in 2008.  In fact, the whole school community and its needs are also remarkably different given the length of time since the last inspection!

How do we self-evaluate the school’s effectiveness?

Self-evaluation judgements are made by school leadership (including the headteacher, governors and the Derbyshire County Council school improvement leaders) against Ofsted benchmarks.

So how do we continue to improve?

We are always looking to improve in many ways throughout a school year based on the ongoing needs of the school and the pupils.  However, every year, school leadership develops an annual school improvement plan with some agreed key priorities based on ongoing evaluation of the quality of education, behaviour of pupils, personal development of pupils and leadership and management.  We look at a range of evidence from across the school and identify areas for development that we believe will support children in their learning during the coming year.  Last year, we continued to work hard on the key areas of reading provision and continued development of the school’s curriculum. 

School Improvement Priorities for 2023 – 2024

This year we have provisionally agreed three new areas (we don’t forget about all of the other things we’ve been working on!) with a key focus on:

  • Continue to refine the whole school approach to the teaching of phonics and reading
  • Continue to refine the whole school approach to the teaching of writing
  • Continue to refine aspects of the school’s foundation curriculum to ensure it is increasingly effective

This isn’t to say we don’t do these things – we do!  However, evaluation shows that we want to continue to improve these areas given the needs of our pupils to ensure they can all do as well as they possibly can during their time at Curbar. There is also a nationwide of focus on these areas given we are still feeling the impact of Covid in schools. 

Staff professional development is designed to support the school improvement priorities.  Governors have a role in school improvement by attending key meetings and training and by supporting and challenging leadership. Parents play a part by completing questionnaires, attending meetings and keeping up to date with school initiatives. The children have a voice through the Pupil Parliament. We are confident that, as a community, we can all work together to build on our success and continue to make Curbar School an exciting place to learn and grow.

Key Area 1

Continue to refine the whole school approach to the teaching of phonics and reading by:

Fully monitoring the effectiveness of the school’s new SSP programme (Little Wandle) to support the progress of all pupils including SEND and disadvantaged:

  • Pace and progression through the phonics programme is effectively planned;
  • The programme is delivered consistently by all staff;
  • Daily phonics lessons are of high quality – systematic, rigorous and planned to engage all learners and move learning on at a good pace;
  • Children practise reading only with books that are decodable for them at that stage of their learning;
  • Phonics teaching is responsive to pupils’ progress and pupils are tracked to inform next steps learning and intervention;
  • Pupils making slow progress against age-related expectations are individually identified, their progress checked and they receive personalised intervention (‘keep up’/’catch up’) which accelerates their progress.

Implementing and monitoring a whole school approach to the teaching of reading at KS2 to support the progress of all pupils including SEND and disadvantaged:

  • Reading instruction is effectively planned through the whole class reading overview;
  • Daily reading lessons are of high quality – using high-quality texts, they are effective in supporting all pupils to develop comprehension, fluency and motivation/engagement so they become confident readers. 
  • Teachers are trained for the effective teaching of reading;
  • Pupils reading below age-related expectations are swiftly identified; appropriate phonics and fluency interventions are prioritised to accelerate progress.

Key Area 2

Continue to refine the whole school approach to the teaching of writing by:

  •  Ensure the writing curriculum is implemented securely and consistently across school.
  • Ensure the writing curriculum is purposeful, ambitious and designed to give all pupils, including the disadvantaged and SEND, the knowledge they need.
  • Use a whole school teaching sequence for writing based on recent pedagogical research that supports the principals of quality first teaching.
  • Ensuring teachers understand the art and science of writing within the English curriculum and leaders provide effective support.
  • Teachers and leaders using assessment well to embed knowledge, check understanding, inform teaching and to understand gaps.
  • Using high quality structured intervention to target specific needs of pupils with writing (using the TARGET model).
  • Making links with the school’s approach to teaching whole class reading and SPAG.

Key Area 3

Continue to refine aspects of the school’s foundation curriculum to ensure it is increasingly effective

  • Monitoring how the foundation curriculum is taught and assessed effectively in order to support pupils to build their knowledge and to apply that knowledge as skills (‘implementation’) – including the embedding of Kapow schemes of learning and the effective use of knowledge organisers.
  • Ensuring good outcomes for pupils as a result of the education they have received (‘impact’).
  • Refine the skills of all subject leaders so they are able to check with greater precision the implementation and impact of improvements in their areas of responsibility.
  • Ensuring subject leaders have a very clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in their subject areas.
  • Ensuring that any identified inconsistencies in practice are identified and effectively addressed.

Ensuring that our taught curriculum:

  • addresses social disadvantage through opportunities to build cultural capital.
  •  identifies the appropriate and necessary vocabulary at each stage.
  • reflects the local context by addressing typical gaps in pupils’ knowledge.