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Paving a pathway to higher achievement

Christopher King, Headmaster at Leicester Grammar School, explains how staff can make informed decisions for their pupils

Posted by Rianna Newman | September 02, 2017 | Teaching

Making everyday decisions about the attainment, behaviour and welfare of pupils can be challenging when we can’t see the full picture clearly.  

The key changes we have made over the last academic year have been critical to enabling staff to make good decisions, quickly, without having to sift through paper files and databases for the information they need to form a holistic view of each child’s progress and wellbeing. 

Christopher King

Focus on the individual

We want every pupil to achieve their full potential, regardless of their individual strengths and abilities and our teachers are highly skilled at identifying what kind of support is needed. This is particularly important when a pupil has a special educational need, as not only must subject teachers be aware of this from the outset, they also need to know what assistance is required in the classroom.  

In my view, the key to good decision-making is information and by moving our data from what was previously numerous places into our management information system (we use SIMS), it is now quicker and easier for staff to access, as it’s in one place.  

Supporting good decision-making

A child needing specialist support now has a flag by their name, so when teachers pull up the register, they see this and click through to view further details – if they need their learning resources in a different size or colour, for example. They can then tailor their teaching accordingly. Previously, they would have had to spend time searching for this information as it was held elsewhere in the school.

By introducing these changes across subject areas, it is much easier for staff to deliver the best possible teaching and learning for every pupil. This was one aspect of our provision that particularly impressed the ISI inspection team on their last visit. But it’s helped in other ways too.

Speeding up essential tasks

Writing school reports is an integral part of a teacher’s role, but it can also be a major undertaking. At times, we have 1,000 reports going out to parents simultaneously.

Now pupil data such as attendance and achievement marks, is streamlined teachers have access to key information in front of them. This has significantly reduced the time needed to compile reports for parents. Instead, staff can devote time to ensuring reports are to the standard parents expect from the school before they are emailed out.

Knowledge is key to a more personal approach 

Another thing that has changed is that I now have a digital dashboard of live school information open on my desk all day. 

This means that if a parent calls asking about their child’s progress, I can immediately view details of their achievement, check for any conduct instances or recorded lateness and see a record of past conversations staff have had with the child or parent to determine what extra learning support may already be in place. 

I can also make an informed judgement on the suitability of a potential new member of staff while I am interviewing them, as I have a clear view of the timetable and can easily identify which year groups need to be taught what subjects.

Having easy access to the right information makes it easier for staff at Leicester Grammar School to ensure every pupil thrives and achieves to the best of their ability. After all, good decision-making is the foundation for a quality, rounded education, and the best decisions are those which are well-informed. 

 

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