David Livingstone Academy in Thornton Heath achieves Centre of Excellence status again.
Highly Inclusive Practice
David Livingstone Academy continues to showcase highly inclusive practice and demonstrates a determination for every child to achieve. The school has 210 children on roll and serves a diverse and multicultural area. The Head Teacher continues to lead the school through an extremely effective improvement programme, having joined the school in April 2017. He is ably supported by the leadership team as a whole, who have risen to the challenge with energy and enthusiasm. A shared culture is now evident, which puts the children’s development first and embodies the belief that every pupil can and will succeed, both in terms of national expectations and beyond.
The Improvement Journey
A variety of interrelated systems, philosophies, protocols and expectations have underpinned the improvement journey. Outstanding CPD has ensured that the desired elements of Quality First Teaching are now firmly embedded in the school. They continue to provide a firm foundation for the continued progress that the school and therefore its pupils are making. Systematic monitoring, evaluation and cycles of coaching and mentoring, have been led by the Leadership Team and the Head Teacher. The Executive Head Teacher of the Step Academy Trust, to which the school belongs, regularly monitors and provides support, encouragement and feedback. The school has adopted tried and tested methodologies from other STEP schools, where appropriate, as part of the intense period of development.
Rapid and Positive Impact
The Leadership Team has focused upon a didactic teaching model, which has served the school well and already given evidence of having a rapid and positive impact upon standards. The school is now above national standards for expected levels in maths and reading and as such, is now at a refining stage of the improvement process. There is emphasis on maintaining consistency, especially as new staff join the team. The school also continues to focus on the higher standards of achievement, having experienced great success in improving standards at expected levels.
The culture however, is to aspire to all children achieving at ‘greater depth’. In this respect the children continue to benefit from mixed ability class teaching where children who are ‘slower graspers’ are provided with the appropriate scaffolding in order that they understand the concepts within a session.
Planning is Outstanding
Planning is outstanding and further challenge is provided through questioning. Staff are now extremely skilled in managing the needs of their diverse groups of learners. The school’s ‘brand’ of teaching is now firmly understood and valued by the teaching staff, which continues to build capacity to continually improve.
A Graduated Approach
The children who have additional needs are monitored by the highly effective Inclusion Manager. A graduated approach has been implemented by the school, which puts ‘Quality First’ teaching at the heart of the children’s support. Thereafter, if children fail to make the expected progress, there is a rigorous response, such as interventions led by teachers and support staff or external agencies are deployed e.g. SALT.
Developing Reading Fluency and Comprehension
The English curriculum continues to focus on the development of reading fluency and comprehension and aims to enable all children to be able to use phonic decoding strategies. The high-quality texts have been extremely well chosen for each year group and have provided rich and rewarding contextual learning opportunities. Last term, the year 6 pupils explored the book ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’. This text provided challenging themes, which were sensitively explored and contributed to the children’s understanding of the Holocaust. The year 3 pupils this term have been provided with an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. In addition to being an excellent springboard for the development of literacy skills, the text has inspired the children in their desire to see the play on stage, in the future.
The member of SLT who is responsible for leading English, carries out rigorous monitoring and as reading was deemed to be the priority initially in the action planning, is now steering equally high expectations for the continued development of writing, which is now at national average for expected levels, whilst reading is above.
Maths teaching with the emphasis on the Mastery approach enables children to explore concepts at greater depth, problem solve and apply their knowledge. Teaching staff have been provided with relevant CPD to ensure that they are secure in the approach and that planning is consistent with expectations. The Maths leader, assesses the impact through Learning walks, pupil progress meetings and book scrutinies.
Focus on Behaviour
Alongside the academic action plans, there has been an important focus on the children’s behaviour as a key development. The code of conduct, introduced by the new Head Teacher in 2017, now supports the impeccable behaviour of the children both in classrooms and around the school. A culture has therefore been created which enables the children to interact harmoniously with their peers but which also underpins their attentiveness, and resilience in class. In summary the children are polite, kind, self-motivated and focused upon their learning,
Many Positive Changes
The parent community is very pleased with the many positive changes which have occurred and demonstrate very good relationships with the staff. In the morning, there is a welcoming atmosphere and parents and carers clearly find the staff approachable. The Head Teacher and the Inclusion Manager were on duty in the playground at the start of day during the IQM review. Mutual respect was evident and parents and carers were free to ask questions or give any information relevant to their child if necessary. Parents gave evidence of being extremely comfortable on the premises and the children were happy and purposeful.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
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