Walbottle Campus in Newcastle is a school on the up. This large secondary is working its way towards a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, and with a clear vision to be a ‘school of first choice’.
Its focus on greater quality includes a mission to gain a tighter grip on management reporting. This goal led the school to explore how BlueSky could help bring about tangible improvements for the benefit of some 1,650 students, 120 teachers and 80 support staff.
“Our teachers like the fact they effectively have ownership of their own development and can access the system on and off-site.”
Director of Support, Walbottle Campus, Newcastle.
Tracey Gray is Director of Support at Walbottle Campus. It was while attending a ISBL event that she first set eyes on BlueSky.
She was looking for a system that would help Walbottle map individual targets against the school's development plan. Any new software would have to demonstrate benefits of real clarity to staff, giving them equal and fair access to their appraisals and training, and be a support tool in presenting evidence to governors.
Tracey had seen other systems "but they were clunky and not so user-friendly or as clear as BlueSky."
Walbottle implemented their BlueSky system in 2008, with two modules emerging as particular favourites: appraisal and training. The system has given school managers a very clear reporting system, with the critical advantage of being easy to update by attaching evidence to each profile.
Similarly, teachers find it easy to upload information, and BlueSky also includes support staff and their targets, aligned to the School Improvement Plan.
Business leaders have developed their own improvement plans, and CPL is now reported and logged with staff who have clear ownership of their individual records.
Walbottle has found that the benefits delivered by BlueSky range from the quality and clarity of reporting information, to clear efficiency savings in time and money.
Ofsted's inspectors echoed this in their findings, noting that the campus has "highly effective systems in place to manage the performance of staff, which link to their progression through pay scales."
Tracey adds: "I wouldn't hesitate to recommend BlueSky – in fact I have done so, many times!"
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