Newfield School in Blackburn achieves Flagship status for the third time.
Review of Previous Targets
The school has submitted careful and comprehensive evaluations of their progress with their previous targets and during my visit to the school I was able to meet with staff members with responsibilities for each of the key areas.
Progress towards meeting the targets agreed in 2017 has been outstanding. As outlined above, the new school provision will be an example of expert design. planning and resourcing meeting the needs of future students. Part of the target was to ensure “future proofing” of the provision and I was impressed by the quality of the build and internal fixtures. The teaching and communal spaces are large and airy with careful attention being given to the shape of the internal spaces and the decoration. State of the art technology is being installed not only to provide quality teaching resources, but also to ensure the environment contributes to the learning experience. Heating, lighting and ventilation have all been considered in the development of the building.
The school has continued its collaborative work with its support of projects in Africa and visits to Kenya, links with Queens Lodge nursing home (singing and a presentation about Fairtrade) and has also been reaccredited at Gold level with the Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA). (Gold award: Rights Respecting is the highest stage of the Rights Respecting Schools Award (after Bronze: Rights Committed and Silver: Rights Aware). It is granted by Unicef UK to schools that have fully embedded children’s rights throughout the school in its policies, practice and ethos, as outlined in the three RRSA Strands.)
I was able to verify the accuracy of the evaluations made by the school in all other targets through my discussions with key staff members. The school has made some significant changes to job titles and job descriptions in order to clarify roles and to provide higher levels of care and expertise. TA 1’s have now been designated Education Health Care and Well Being Assistants to better reflect the role played within the school. Specific training has also been provided to meet the requirements of the role changes. The school excels in its multi professional approach to teaching and learning. The school nursing team, physiotherapists, occupational therapist and Speech and Language Therapists together with teaching and support staff all collaborate in providing the very best possible support and advice for students and parents.
Evidence for Learning
As part of their ongoing and meticulous approach to recording, tracking and monitoring of pupil progress the school is now using the App. “Evidence for Learning”. (www.evidenceforlearning.net)
Evidence for Learning:
“It lets you define, create and use Assessment Schemas so that you can perform summative assessment with your frameworks – integrated with the evidence already gathered and formative assessment tools built into Evidence for Learning.
So instead of simply being able to link evidence and observations against individual statements within your framework, you can also record professional judgements reflecting on the depth of learning, mastery, competence or context, level of support, etc… using your own defined scale or continuum. You can define and assess up to 5 independent aspects for each assessable outcome (Assessment Item).
The assessment data can then be exported as a csv/spreadsheet for data and cohort analysis.”
Developing Inclusive Practice
The school has maintained and developed its practice within all 8 elements of the IQM award and Newfield continues to be an active member of the NWSAG and currently working on assessment for learners who are learning at a ‘Non-Subject Specific’ level.The school has also developed and maintained links with a local special school in Lancaster.
Support to Families
Particular features brought to my attention during my visit are the developments the school has made to improve and extend the support offered to families. The newly appointed deputy head has taken on the role of Parent Liaison and is working hard to increase the numbers of parents directly involved in the education of their sons and daughters. As noted in the documentation, specific workshops are being offered to parents. Paediatricians are part of this support role and even the school admin team are involved with the workshops and share information with the local SENCO groups.
New School Provision
I was very privileged to have been given an escorted tour of the new school provision during my visit. It is clear that the school staff, architects and local authority have worked carefully together and have produced a state of the art building equipped to meet the complex needs of the students who will be attending from September. Not only has consideration been given to the interior design, classroom size, storage, meeting areas, specialist teaching provision, heating and ventilation, the outside spaces will enable students to utilise outside learning, play and relaxation. The whole site has been professionally landscaped, car parking and access has been redesigned to allow “through movement” of taxis, mini busses and visitors. The new build is blending in superbly with the existing building and I understand that plans are now in place to undertake some refurbishment work to the original school building, which should be pointed out, has been kept in an immaculate state of repair and decoration. Staff and students clearly respect and value the exceptional teaching and learning environment provided by Newfields.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
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