Winter Wrap Up

The Opportunity Area (OA) Partnership Board met in November to discuss and agree the priorities for the remainder of the OA programme. It was agreed that only those projects that align to the strategic priorities set out in the OA delivery plan and that will achieve greatest impact will be funded.

We are now inviting tenders for our TALK Derby programme. The tender process is broken down into four separate Lots: Lead Coordinating Organisation, Family Engagement, SLC Training Provider and Evaluation. TALK Derby will support and strengthen the development of speech, language and communication (SLC) skills in the early years. The deadline for tenders is 2 January and work will start shortly thereafter.

Ofsted recently published the percentage of childcare providers judged to be good or outstanding as of 31st August 2018. Derby is 13th best nationally with 98% of our childcare providers judged to be good or better compared with 94.5% nationally. This is a great credit to the fantastic work being done by childminders, settings and schools

Almost every secondary and special school and the over ¾ of primary schools responded to the Transition Survey early this month. Key decisions that were strongly supported by the survey responses include:
• 2019 Common Transfer Day for all schools – Tuesday 2nd July 2019
• Transfer Information Exchange Event – An event all schools to discuss the specific needs of key Y6 pupils moving to Y7 and share critical information to support their smooth transition. Dates TBC
• Best piece of independent writing – every Y6 child to take a piece of written work into Y7 which will be used to establish minimum expectations for standards in Y7
• A move to three common transfer days in 2020
• Additionally, a new Working Group has been commissioned to support improvements in the transition of ‘vulnerable students’ as they leave Y11.

70% of children in the foundation stage achieved a good level of development in 2018 compared with 72% nationally, the gap to national was 6% in 2015. This now places Derby at 113th of 152, up from 138th in 2015.

When looking at specific pupil characteristics, the achievements are even more pronounced:
– 35% of Derby’s children on SEN support in the foundation stage achieved a good level of development, compared to 28% nationally placing Derby as 12th best achieving nationally.
– 61% of Derby’s FSM children in the foundation stage achieved a good level of development, compared to 57% nationally and this places Derby as the 30th best achieving nationally.
– 64% of Derby’s EAL children in the foundation stage achieved a good level of development, compared to 66% nationally placing Derby as the 73rd best achieving nationally.

Our Derby SEND Peer Challenge programme continues to roll-out across the city, schools involved so far have welcomed the reviews as valuable and worthwhile. This programme continues through this school year and next and there are still opportunities to get involved as a peer reviewer or ‘Challenger’ aimed at Heads, SLT or SENCOs and a financial contribution is made towards backfill costs. To get involved please email Debbie Gerring at St Martins who is co-ordinating places at forthcoming training: d.gerring@stmartins.derby.sch.uk.

As we head into the New Year we are looking forward to start work on a number of our key OA projects, including Emotionally Healthy Schools, Family Engagement, Targeted Student Support, Primary Business Links and New to English/GRT.

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas break.

Phonics at Rosehill

Written by Helen Kelk, Headteacher of Rosehill Infant School
I am extremely proud to be writing a blog about our school to celebrate our achievement in phonics last academic year where we achieved 82% and matched the national average.
Our school is an inner city infant and nursery school. 96% of pupils come from minority ethnic backgrounds. The number of languages spoken within our school community has remained high with 31 languages spoken in September 2018 (27 in February 2018). The School Deprivation Indicator is consistently very high and above National, and this is reflective of the community we are proud to serve.
Our phonics data had been on a downwards trend for the past three years, with only 68% of the year 1 children passing in 2017. To improve the teaching of phonics, we applied to be part of the Derby City PSG phonics programme which helped us identify our strengths and weaknesses in school and gave us continual support through network meetings, external staff training and bespoke in school training. It is a partnership programme led by Derby Early Years Teaching School, an independent literacy consultant and a Local Authority assessment lead sharing expertise and on hand to offer guidance and support. We were assigned an SLE in phonics who carried out a whole school phonics 360 review and delivered phonics training to ensure effective practice throughout school.
Working in collaboration with my senior leadership team, we prioritised phonics in our school development plan and firmly believed that the best way forward was to have a balanced approach to reading and writing in school. Phonics is an essential strategy in learning to read and spell now closely follow Letters and Sounds as our tool for teaching phonics systematically and ensure continuity and consistency of phonics teaching throughout the school.
As a school we strongly believe good phonics teaching happens when it is exciting, interactive and purposeful and children are actively engaged. We know that children retain their learning best when they have talked about it, investigated and experimented with it. At Rosehill, we ensure children are excited about ‘Phonics time’. The reading and writing of sentences to show the application of phonics is no longer just sitting on the carpet and writing sentences on whiteboards, but it is done through working together to build words and read and write fun, silly sentences. Application of phonics is also incorporated throughout all other areas of learning, particularly in guided reading; resulting in improved reading results. Children are taught to understand that phonics is important in every subject and they take pride in getting their spellings right no matter what subject they are learning. Book scrutinies and learning walks monitor the use of phonics to ensure application is taking place throughout the taught curriculum.
As a school, we are aware of the vital role parents play in their child’s education. To maximise the parental impact, we have engaged parents in a wide variety of school- led activities including interactive, hands on phonics workshops, family learning and class drop in where parents had the opportunity to watch teachers deliver phonics sessions. This allows them to have the confidence to support their child at home.
This year we continue to be part of the phonics programme to build on and embed our skills and knowledge. A member of the team has now been appointed as a LA phonics champion to support other schools in the Derby City PSG programme and share good practice as we continue our successful phonics journey.