Bringing military precision to a services school

Hornbill School, Brunei

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Any school would be proud of an ‘Outstanding’ rating by Ofsted, but Hornbill Primary School has achieved this status despite numerous operational challenges.

The school’s pupil population of 320+ children is constantly changing due to military deployments; Hornbill caters for service families including the Nepalese children of Gurkha families. The school follows the English National Curriculum, but up to 90% of these children speak English as an additional language.

“With all our information now tracked, recorded and easily accessible online, life is easier and time is saved for everybody.”

Craig Gill

Challenges & Goals

The school's location – some 8,000 miles and a 17-hour flight to the UK – mean that most CPL and inset training must be provided in-house. When the school approached BlueSky, it had a clear set of needs:

  • To be able to schedule and track internal training, set targets, check impact and ensure maximum value from any additional external training
  • To continue to raise standards in leadership and management
  • To cope with numerous lesson observation records and performance management targets, significant staff mobility and, with it, producing many teacher references.
  • To reduce paperwork and store INSET/CPL and lesson observations in one place.

BlueSky's Role

Craig Gill recalls: "As soon as I saw BlueSky I knew that it would do all that I wanted, and more."

Hornbill duly implemented BlueSky in 2013, focusing on the key elements of Teachers' Standards, Lesson Observations, CPL and Performance Management.

Craig adds: "I had a particular requirement to raise standards in leadership to support our new assistant heads who each manage a learning phase (EYFS, Years 1, 2 and 3 and Years 4, 5 and 6), setting high professional standards for quality and performance.

"I also use the Reports section of BlueSky for feeding back information to our governors. It also helps with end of year reports for our headquarters."

The Impact and Getting more from BlueSky

Hornbill has found that BlueSky has elevated the quality of performance analysis, as well as making life easier and saving previous time.

  • Every key record is now in one place, and stored securely and electronically
  • BlueSky reveals strengths and weaknesses in the three different learning phases
  • Comparisons against the National Teachers' Standards are clear and simple
  • Combined target setting has been made simpler, and data is mapped against the School Improvement Plan
  • Staff are much more aware of their individual CPL.

The school now plans:

  • to get all learning support assistants to use the system
  • to use an adapted version of BlueSky's lesson observation tool
  • to use the 360o review tool for middle and senior leaders.

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