Sinfonia Viva bring ‘This Is Derby’ to the cities SEN schools.

Written by Marianne Barraclough, Education Manager at Sinfonia Viva and Sarah Gelsthorpe, Senior Leader at St. Clare’s SEN Secondary School.

We are thrilled to be part of Derby Opportunity Area’s ‘This Is Derby’ Essential Life Skills partnership project and particularly delighted to be coordinating the cultural and sports offer in the SEND schools in the city.

Since October 2018 we have been working creatively with Ivy House, Royal School for the Deaf Derby, St Andrew’s, St Clare’s, St Giles and St Martins schools, as well as Royal Derby Hospital.

Sessions have ranged from one off drop in sessions on the wards at the hospital, initial launch sessions in some of the schools, to longer projects involving young people creating and performing their own new music, and has seen the establishment of NoteMade – an afterschool band at St Martins school. To date we have been working in individual schools and over the next few months we will start bringing groups from the different SEND settings together to make a massed ensemble.

Already we have seen young people working really effectively together to make new music, and in some cases to overcome significant nerves to perform their own new songs to an audience.  One young person we worked with barely spoke at all in the first session we had but over time she built the confidence to share her ideas, and in our final session of the Autumn term, she sang a solo, supported by her peers, to the rest of her school.

Schools have noted new reactions from young people and have shared case studies of the impact of the work on their young people.

“Student A has grown in confidence and shown improved self-esteem and belief in herself. Student A felt special and talented and thus gained a sense of pride from working with Sinfonia Viva that she will carry forward throughout the remaining part of her school experience.” – Ruth Webber, St Clare’s School

Students have had the opportunity to express themselves creatively in a variety of ways, with artists and coaches alike truly taking their lead from the young people.

“I have had an overwhelming response from staff saying how fantastic it was for the children and how much they got from it!  It was pitched perfectly and in response to this their motivation and interaction levels were high!” – Kelly Webster, St Giles School

We have worked with young people who are natural leaders, and will encourage them to develop and utilise these skills as we continue working with them.

As well as developing work and relationships with the young people, This is Derby is bringing together staff from each of the schools to share, plan and reflect together, meaning we can incorporate their thoughts and ideas, and those of the young people, into the development of a collaborative plan for future work in the hub.  This has led to the development of some hugely exciting plans, to bring students from each of the schools together to share some large scale experiences. The young people will be working with Hubbub Theatre Company, QUAD and Sinfonia Viva over the next few months to create exciting new music, movement and visuals which they can share with each other and come together to perform.

The young people from the SEND schools in Derby consistently inspire us to do more and we are delighted to be working with them, and to be able to showcase their incredible creativity with the rest of the city.

 

Sinfonia Viva at St Clares

When year 10 were told that they would be participating in a music workshop over several weeks with Sinfonia Viva there were the expected mixed responses. Some pupils were anxious about working with new people, others were concerned about using their own voices in front of others, some pupils were simply disinterested in the ‘type’ of music that Sinfonia Viva appeared to be about. “But Miss, I don’t like classical music” was a response that resounded throughout the classroom. My words cannot do justice to the changes that I witnessed in these children over the weeks that followed.

The music sessions were engaging and fun and very quickly even the most reluctant pupils were joining in. The musical instruments that were played were a delight to listen to, with children talking about ‘feeling’ the music in later conversations. This is significant; at St. Clare’s we place great emphasis on developing our students’ ability to recognise and express their feelings and emotions.

The staff from Sinfonia Viva were not only talented musicians but were also patient, kind and empathetic people who were able to support and encourage our pupils with a real belief that they were absolutely capable of the tasks presented to them. The biggest reward for the children was the pleasure that they had in creating their own music. With professional musicians by their side they were able to create the most wonderful songs which they were proud to be part of. Being able to perform in front of others is, perhaps, one of the most difficult things that we ask of our pupils. Many adults would shy away from such a task. And yet, our year 10 pupils stood on the stage with their heads held high and performed for the entire school and they enjoyed it and were proud of their achievement.

The same previously reluctant children were disappointed that the sessions were over. Many now have a new-found respect for music, musical instruments and for musicians as well as a confidence in their own abilities to take part in something different. We are looking forward to working with Sinfonia Viva in the future and embedding these sessions in our curriculum.

New Year News

As we head into the New Year, Derby OA programmes are well underway and we’re starting to hear positive feedback from participating schools and the programme providers.
Work has started on the Secondary Family Engagement Programme and plans are in place this term for a number of schools to be involved in an English as an Additional Language Careers Fair and a Family Learning programme in the local community. Selected families will be invited to attend and work on engaging with the schools and their child’s learning journey. Funding has also been approved for the Primary Family Engagement programme with meetings underway to shape an action plan for the coming terms.
A Mobility Support Worker has now been recruited to support the Targeted Student Support work. She is based at Landau Forte College but will be spending a lot of time in schools with young people and their families to try and reduce the amount of students changing secondary placements during KS4.
All schools should now have received an email newsletter from the co-ordinator of the Emotionally Healthy Schools Programme. This newsletter outlines exciting opportunities for free training for designated mental health leads and the chance to help develop the online web portal.
The Primary Business Links proposal was approved by the OA board and is live on the council website. The tender seeks an organisation to work in partnership with primary schools to develop a programme of employer engagement and provide pupils with the opportunity to learn about the world of work. The application deadline is 3rd February: http://www.derby.gov.uk/education-and-learning/extra-curricular-activities/primary-business-links-grant-fund/
95% of eligible schools have taken up the offer of Essential Life Skills funding and many have already started to put the funding to good use. The Derby County Community Trust lead ELS programme, ‘This Is Derby’ kicked off last year, with activity set to ramp up over the coming months. The programme is being delivered across 10 hubs and provides pupils opportunity to develop life skills such as resilience and team work through sport, art and cultural activity.
Derby Research School have two leadership training opportunities available this term, which is free for participating schools:
• Leading Learning, which uses evidence based practice to enhance teaching and learning, and;
• Effective Use and Evaluation of the Pupil Premium, which provides a chance to develop, implement and review an evidence based high impact Pupil Premium strategy and framework
Lastly, The Secretary of State previously announced a new free website to advertise school vacancies. The website is now live here: http://www.teaching-vacancies.service.gov.uk and has been rolled out across the East Midlands and Humber.

To find out more information about any of the programmes in this update, or how to get involved, email Derby.OppArea@education.gov.uk.

There’s a host of activity happening over the coming year and we look forward to continuing work with partners to improve social mobility across Derby. Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019.

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.