Peer review of our school
This week we have had our first Challenge Partners Peer Review of the school. Whilst not an Ofsted inspection the review has a similar level of gravitas to it. On Wednesday we welcomed a team of five reviewers into school. This team consisted of leaders from schools across the country and was led by a trained inspector. The aim of the review was to support us to: audit where we currently are; assess our progress, and evaluate the improvement work we are working on. It is very much a collaborative process and is, ‘done with us’ as opposed to being ‘done to us’.
The overwhelming feedback has been really positive about our school community. The reviewers spoke so highly of our learners. Behaviour was outstanding and the team recognised the huge potential everyone has. They confirmed something I have said from the very start – that providing challenge is key to supporting success. They found staff to be highly motivated and dedicated to improving learning and saw some fantastic learning taking place. As always with reviews such as this it is easy to become complacent and focus on all of the great things, and whilst I would not want to take away from all the positives, there were some key things for us to focus on going forward. Pleasingly these priorities chime very neatly with and build upon our existing plans.
Some really important questions and themes have emerged out of the review that will help us to refocus our vision and embed the next stage of it. It is no accident that they have the name Challenge Partners and no accident that I chose to engage with this national organisation and network of excellent schools. Challenge is a key part of what they do and challenged we were: challenged in our thinking; challenged in our perception of things and challenged to improve. Not, as Dylan William says, because we are not good enough, but because we can always be better.
I found the experience to be an insightful audit of where we are in our journey. It is easy to lose sight of the journey and I had to remind myself of what we have accomplished and changed over the last 18 months. The team created a great set of probing questions that we were challenged to demonstrate at various levels. Some key questions included:
 How are we using our 6 capitals to drive pupil progress?
 What are our Key priorities?
 How are we developing character?
 How are we implementing our curriculum plans?
 How do we know that assessment is accurate?
 Are we able to identify our disadvantaged learners and what are we doing to close the gap?
We should receive a report in a couple weeks which will summarise the findings in the form of what is working well and even better if’s. I met with the leadership team and the reviewers last night to discuss what these might look like and will be feeding back to you once they have written to us. Early indicators suggest that continuing to embed our curriculum plans and linking these more explicitly to assessment will be key, along with a focus on modelling and scaffolding to enable sufficient challenge at all levels in lessons.
Thank you everyone for your support as we continue to implement our improvements of the school. Have a great weekend.
Brilliant Club deadline
There is only one week left to get applications in for the next Brilliant Club cohort. Anyone in C7 or C8 interested in participating in the scholars programme need to get their applications to Miss Harrington ([email protected]) in by the end of next week (Friday 24th Jan). Here is what needs to be included in letters to Miss Harrington:
 Why you would like to be considered for The Scholars Programme.
 Why you are interested in The Scholars Programme.
 Why you would be a great candidate.
 Your in-school and out-of-school achievements. Perhaps you are involved in a sports club; have entered competitions; have completed volunteer work; have a part-time job; have been recognised for a special achievement.
Best of luck to those that apply.
Thanks to:
our Lead Learners who met with the Challenge Partners this week. The panel were really impressed with our Learner Leaders, their maturity and the passion they have for our school.

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