Welcome back to our families. I hope you all had a wonderful Easter break.
I can't believe it’s been a year since I started as the Executive Headteacher of the Schools of Woolton Hill Federation. 'Time flies when you're having fun,’ and I've certainly enjoyed my first year in post, embracing the challenges and dedicating myself to building connections between our schools.
As I look back, I think we can all be pleased with some of the important work that has been completed:
With the Federation beginning to take shape, both schools are now working much closer together. The Leadership team is almost all in place with all roles responsible for both schools. INSET days and staff meetings are now held as Federation activities. The schools have been strengthened by the creation of other cross Federation roles. I'm especially pleased with the work that our leaders of English and Maths are doing to improve standards across both schools. Even our pupil council and peer mentors are working together across both schools.
I have seen specific improvements in a shared approach to the teaching of phonics, the setting of homework, and an improved transition programme between years 2 and 3. The quality is improved in both schools, with higher expectations for the more able and better differentiated learning in English and Maths.
Improved culture means that the needs of our pupils with special educational needs are now met through classroom teaching with their peers. Improvements to our 'SEN' provision were seen in a recent inspection by the local authority who said:
“…significant progress has been made in the development of the inclusive culture at Woolton Hill.”
It will take time to get both schools and the Federation to where we all want them to be. It will take time for changes to be implemented in a sustainable way; it will take time for those changes to be embedded so that they become a part of how we operate; and it will take time for the impact to be seen.
As you may have seen in the video released before Easter, we will define a vision and values for our Federation early in the summer term. We will seek 'Church affiliation' for the Juniors in order to support the introduction and adoption of this vision and values. In addition to providing the Juniors with a strong moral purpose, the consistency with the Infants will simplify the communication of Vision and Values. I have sought your views to help shape the future of our Federation in this feedback form.
At our most recent. INSET day, we began the journey to develop a purposeful and personalised Foundation Curriculum across both schools that makes learning ‘irresistible' for every child. The content will be both exciting and rigorous, with teachers planning a learning journey according to a carefully curated programme of knowledge and skills.
OFSTED inspectors will be particularly interested in our curriculum journey, and I expect both schools may be inspected in the very near future. It's possible that the inspections may come a little soon for both schools. Despite the clear impact of the changes that the governors and I have sought to make at Woolton Hill Schools, we still need more time to fully embed these changes to meet OFSTED's constantly increasing standards.
Regardless of the results of the inspections, we have a clear and ambitious vision for the future of our schools. Governance is providing a clear path forward, and we are surrounded by a talented and passionate team.
There are great times ahead for our schools and it is my pleasure to lead them.