“Raising aspirations – releasing potential” is the motto at Blackfen School for Girls in the London Borough of Bexley. An 11-18 non-selective secondary school and sixth form with academy status, it employs 100 teachers and 90 associate staff.
Compared with many other secondary schools in the area, it is one of the highest achieving in terms of GCSE and A-level results.
"In the past, even a relatively simple task such as comparing two teachers on upper pay grade 3 would have involved sorting through 190 sets of paper records. Now at the click of a button I have all the information I need at my fingertips. BlueSky has streamlined the process beyond recognition."
Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning
There are nearly 200 staff, leading the school's 1050 girls, and its 300 boys in the mixed sixth form.
That presents a significant task, not just to track staff performance but to maintain the quality of the process. Different faculties at Blackfen had their own methods, giving uneven data to compare.
It also meant the school was generating vast amounts of paper, which is unwieldy, insecure and time-consuming to use.
BlueSky Education equipped Blackfen School with a complete centralised online solution.
- An all-digital, paper-free system
- The school reviews every member of staff
- They now gather data in the same way across all faculties, for fair and meaningful comparisons
- Information is gathered from learning walks, work scrutiny, lesson observations and student questionnaires
- Results are correlated quickly and accurately
- Teachers have a personal career portfolio, to log achievements and plan development
The SLT can now access robust data, and in seconds.
Teachers are judged against the Government's Teachers' Standards and associate staff are measured against core competencies and job descriptions featured within BlueSky.
Staff also like engaging with the self-review function, as it gives them a clear vision of what they need to do to move forward.
Also with BlueSky:
- The SLT uses iPads to collect evidence during learning walks, with the data then instantly available
- Areas for improvement have become clearer, informing Blackfen's whole-school training that links to its school improvement plan
- The BlueSky Resource Centre saves many hours with its customisable help sheets
The school also values the real human beings behind BlueSky. Kelly Brown, Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning, comments: "The support offered by BlueSky has been amazing too and helped to build staff confidence in this new robust system that meets all the needs of our school."
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