Five Islands school, Scilly
In October 2004, the DCSF awarded a contract to Cambridge Education to manage the majority of the education services on the Isles of Scilly.
The Five Islands School had been in special measures with significant improvement required in several areas for the previous three years. The key issues that still needed addressing were linked to leadership and management at all levels, improvement in the quality of teaching, underachievement, and insufficient progress towards meeting the aims of the federation. The key purpose of Cambridge Education’s initial work was to ensure that the school came out of special measures within the following 12 months.
A small team of five advisers, all experienced inspectors and senior leaders in schools and LAs, were assigned to the work, with particular focus on challenging, supporting and directing actions where necessary. The team quickly established positive relationships with staff in the school and carried out an initial audit to determine the priorities for working.
The person delegated the role of head of school improvement worked exclusively with the headteacher and Governing Body to effect change in leadership and management at senior level. Activities included:
- appointing a substantive headteacher for September 2005
- strategic school improvement planning
- analysing examination results
- developing and implementing more rigorous monitoring and evaluation procedures
- reviewing and putting in place a new staffing structure;
- reviewing all school policies
- reviewing and developing a more appropriate 11 - 16 curriculum model to meet the needs of all the pupils
- establishing a rigorous performance management system.
Other work included:
- the development of a significant ICT project that has already led to an increase in the level of hardware and improved the level of pupil use of ICT as a learning tool;
- the introduction of a leadership programme for pupils designed to improve independent learning;
- classroom observation and feedback to all teachers;
- working alongside teachers in the classroom in moderating pupil work
- providing CPD for teachers, for example, in assessment for learning, using ICT to improve learning, developing literacy skills and effective classroom observation.
The team worked with staff to build on the improvements made and to establishing sustainability. Fully extended services were offered by the school in 2008 and Cambridge Education also helped to develop the Isles of Scilly Children and Young People’s Plan.
In April 2006, the school was taken out of special measures by HMI and the contribution made by Cambridge Education was recognised in the report.
" Cambridge Education has been an important catalyst for improvement. Senior officers have added momentum to ensure the conclusion of a budget settlement for the year 2004-05 and to strengthen financial planning. There has been good support for the governing body and a range of consultants has made a positive contribution to improving teaching and learning, leadership, and curriculum planning. The Council for the Isles of Scilly and Cambridge Education are working closely together in partnership to establish a secure foundation for the future development of the school."
A year later, the Five Islands School was judged “outstanding” by OFSTED.