Under its cheerful motto of ‘Great Learning, Great Challenge, Great Fun’, Sythwood Primary School in Woking, Surrey, is celebrated for its creativity.
However, the team had identified an area for improvement: the need to strengthen its logistical spine. Sythwood is a larger than average co-ed primary in an area of some deprivation, with 600 pupils on the roll ranging from 2-11. It was also going through a period of change, becoming an Academy in 2013, and evolving from a two-form to three-form entry school in 2017.
“I can’t imagine handling performance management without BlueSky.”
Deputy Head, Sythwood Primary School
Sythwood's scale as a primary school brought challenges when it came to collating data and monitoring their teachers' performance.
Equally, the sizeable teaching staff of 30 needed clear feedback, up to date assessments and a focused development path.
BlueSky sat down with Sythwood and working alongside them enabled Sythwood to create a tailored performance system that equipped the school to:
- •allow their teachers to self-review their targets
- •benefit from a structured framework for performance management, while giving the SLT an overview of targets
- •provide self-evaluation documents allowing clear feedback for learning walks and book scrutiny
- •highlight areas for training and development.
Nicola Wilmshurst, Deputy Head, has since seen the benefits of BlueSky flowing through to the staff, the management and governors, and indeed the pupils.
She says: "Clear feedback and performance management is improving teaching and learning practice and, therefore, having a positive impact on pupil progress."
Every staff member now completes a self-review before meeting their line manager, and this informs areas for improvement and development. In just one example, their use of BlueSky flagged up a need for specific training for KS1 staff supporting SEN pupils.
The staff themselves have also embraced the BlueSky system, valuing the unambiguous reporting on targets and development paths, as well as performance management that is right up to date.Nicola concludes: "BlueSky has made us more efficient… and I'm determined to continue with the regular contact and updates from BlueSky, so that we stay on top of things."
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