The most important resource in any school is its teachers. Although there is a national recruitment crisis at both Primary and Secondary levels, all our MAT schools are fully staffed with highly qualified and creative teachers. Being an academy allows us to be more flexible by offering bonus to attract the very best. Monitoring of teaching across the schools reflects this drive to ensure that our students receive the very best lessons.
All our staff have the opportunity to visit colleagues in our any of our schools. This is especially important in small primary schools were opportunities for collaboration are limited. Having staff meetings on the same night across all our school means that we can readily hold MAT wide CPD, moderation and joint planning events. These opportunities are open to all TAs too, who have also had a bespoke programme of training.
Staff in the secondary school have gained a much greater understanding of the approaches to teaching and high standards in the primary sector through increased visits and joint CPD sessions were we have explored standards of writing and maths, for example. This gained knowledge means that students who join the secondary school in year 7 make rapid.
Within the primary phase, our assessment system is based upon a comprehensive set of subject specific skills-based statements and has been developed in conjunction with a number of the local primary schools as part of a nationally funded pilot scheme. These skills statements, along with SATS reading, writing and maths outcomes are used to calculate projected GCSE subject specific outcomes that reflect the new numerical gradings. Students are allocated to a final GCSE outcome flight path on the basis of percentage bands that match national grade boundaries. Our flightpaths are highly aspirational and have built in to them greater expectations for the progress of the more able, reflecting current national research.
These flightpaths begin in Year 7 and are used to measure the progress of each child thought to the end of Year 11. The subject skills statements are also used by staff to plan appropriate lessons that build upon the needs of each individual child when they join us as part of our programme of transition already described. This approach has proven highly effective in avoiding traditional Year 7 dips and is validated by primary colleagues who have observed lessons and spoken to their ex-students.