Working together the possibilities are endless…
We received our most recent Leading Parent Partnership Award in Dec 2019- we are extremely proud of this achievement.
The Assessor commented:
Effective strong leadership from the head teacher, the LPPA leads and chair of governors have ensured the school has a very inclusive positive ethos which promotes parent engagement as a key priority across the school. Parental engagement is integral and interwoven in the Strategic Development Plan and the head teacher reported that the school is ‘utilising as many opportunities as possible to consult, liaise and support parents with the curriculum demands to help children’s learning move forward.’ The chair of governors noted that the governing body has a strong parent component who ‘have a strong visibility’ and the school is now a ‘bigger part of the community.’ The head teacher reports to the full governing body and committees on a termly basis. The strong strategic leadership has developed a distributed leadership approach where all staff take responsibility for engaging and supporting parents. This is clearly having an impact on the provision of high quality care and education at the school.
Since the previous assessment there was evidence that signage has improved as well as strategies to consult with parents. The portfolio included evidence of a wide range of surveys such as after parent evenings, use of Seesaw, TT Rockstars, E-safety and all evaluations showed evidence of increased response rates, analysis and feedback to all stakeholders. In addition, an active PTA and constant dialogue with parents and carers enables parent feedback to inform change.
One significant area of development since the last LPPA assessment has been the range of curriculum information shared with parents. Each half term a subject overview for each year group and a sticky knowledge information sheet is sent to parents and also placed on the website. The sticky knowledge format is parent friendly and includes information on exciting websites, important bits to be learnt and subject specific vocabulary. Parents felt this was ‘brilliant’ and we ‘all work together in different ways to support our children.’ Each child also has a passport, shared with parents, which indicates what a child needs to target by the end of the year. Following parent feedback My Ed was introduced and this communicates a wide range of information to parents including: newsletters, events, attendance, weekly pupil certificates and after school sports. Seesaw share pictures of activities each child is engaged in throughout the day in nursery, reception and for SEND pupils with an EHCP. The teachers are also now posing questions related to the content on Seesaw and this is helping to increase communication at home between the child and parent. Workshops on topics such as phonics, maths and e-safety also help increase parent understanding to help their child at home. Children spoke very positively about the Science market which involved children selecting and explaining an area of the curriculum to parents. The school has ensured practice is sustained by annually selecting a different curriculum market for each year group.
The parents’ perspective, as demonstrated above, clearly shows the value they place on very positive staff and parent communication, personalised support, the informal opportunities to meet such as morning toast club and the information on the website and new technologies. Pupil reviews with the school SENCO and class teachers and the development of personal plans for these pupils ensure parent and pupil voice is a high priority. The school has also appointed a safeguarding and welfare mentor who has regular weekly phone calls or meetings with parents and carers and home visits also take place when necessary for vulnerable pupils. The head teacher reported ‘parents are always comfortable to come in and speak to me’ and the senior leadership, when they are on duty at the start and end of the day, are very accessible and provide ‘a network of support’ to parents.
There has been improved communication with parents using a wide range of approaches, these include the use of new technologies as identified, the website, emails, texts, letters, phone calls, meetings, newsletters and a school blog. The school regularly celebrates a wide range of achievements and parents are informed by text of their child’s success with an invite into a special assembly. The school report that this has been an excellent way of reaching more parents. There is also a useful range of information on the website with information on fun activities at Tameside Libraries, Grammar: A Parents’ Guide, How to support your children with their presentation of work, Free Entitlement funding and a guide to applying for high school.
The school is addressing innovative ways of trying to provide additional support to the ‘harder to reach parents’ and the school has recently signed up to be part of an evidenced based Making It Real project. This is being led by Tameside local authority and will involve head teachers and EYFS leads in ten schools focusing, in each school, on ten children and their families who have adverse circumstances. The project will involve home visits, developing positive relationships between home and school, modelling of play to support learning with regular opportunities for celebration.
Since the last assessment there has been an increased focus on community engagement with active involvement from all school staff, governors and the PTA. There are a wide range of events such as a lantern parade, street dance competitions, Christmas fair, garden party and activities with the local church. Some events take place out of the locality, for example, the choir singing in Huddersfield and parents and children celebrating the Manchester Bee. These community events have helped to enhance the reputation of the school in the local and wider community and as one parent stated ‘they give Gorse Hall a presence so people in Stalybridge know the school.’ Parent, staff and children also spoke with great pride about the wide number of charities they actively support.
Data indicates the long term success criteria has been achieved in that the school achieves high levels of attendance (96%) and 72% of children reach ARE+ expectations which involves parents using a wide range of strategies to support their child.
There has been increased communication, particularly with the use of technolgogy, with parents.
There has been increased consultation with parents with regular analysis, feedback and resulting actions.
Additional personalised support for parents has been provided to support the individual needs of children and their families.
Areas for development:
Continue to develop the new technologies to communicate with parents
Continue engaging parents by extending opportunities for children and parents to do activities together in KS1 and KS2 as well as in EYFS
Continue consulting with parents to inform future developments
Consider identifying Parent Champions to further promote engaging ‘harder to reach parents’
Analysis of attendance at parent and curriculum events by disdavantaged groups with identified resulting actions
Consider identifying the group of children who have additional reading support and whose parents are not engaged to develop activities to engage and support this targeted group of parents.