A Lancashire primary is officially 'very good'. But there's always room for improvement, says head Peter Jump
When I came here 12 years ago, All Saints already had the reputation of being a good school. Five years ago, our Ofsted report said we were a good school. And in our latest report, the inspectors said we were very good, with no major areas for improvement. It would have been easy to rest on our laurels, but we wanted to keep the school moving forward and avoid complacency. So, over the past five years, we have developed a whole-school approach.
The priority was to produce a development plan, focused on our basic aims, and a mission statement. The aim was for the school to be self-evaluating.
We have introduced co-operative ideas, with teachers being involved in the budgeting of their areas of responsibility, and developing the yearly school improvement plan together. Each teacher can evaluate his or her own subject. And they're not afraid of observing each other, so we're all in it together, working together.
One of our strengths is our good relationships between staff, governors, parents and children. We focus on the children, and what is best for them, not what is necessarily best for Ofsted, the Government, or anyone else.
We also recognise that teachers have a life outside school, and that they work to live rather than live to work. We make sure they are kept refreshed and enthusiastic and we try to keep planning as practical and purposeful as possible so we are not duplicating what we already have.
There has been a small turnover of staff over the past five years through retirement or young teachers moving on to promotion. But some have been here longer than I have. You need that stability to share in the common goals, to share in what the school is all about. But you need new staff to bring in new ideas and a fresh approach. It's a balance between the two, and we seem to have that.
The inspection process still takes a lot out of us. And because we've had a good result, it's patted everyone on the back. I see staff blossom in confidence, where they may have been apprehensive about certain things they were doing. When someone comes in from outside and says you're doing a very good job, it gives everybody a lift.
We have several members who are very self-critical and who, before the inspection, weren't confident they were doing things right. And it's interesting that they're the staff who have often come out with excellent lessons when the inspectors were in. It's confirmed what they thought, but were not over confident about stating, because then you become complacent.
Peter Jump is headteacher at All Saints C of Eprimary school, Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire. He was talking to Martin Whittaker. Do you have a success story to share?Email: firstname.lastname@example.org