In 2012, Applegarth Junior School had been labelled a school that could not be fixed. Extreme behaviours were being demonstrated by some pupils, including graffiti and smashed windows. Attendance sat below 90% and exclusions were high. The school had also been in special measures for 15 months and for the 300 pupils, aged 7 to 11, there was a culture of low expectation.
Despite these challenges, the newly appointed Headteacher, Paul Glover, believed there was no excuse for the school to be failing and took the school from ‘Special Measures’ to a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating in just six months.
Although the school already used SIMS to collect data on pupils’ progress and assessments, the recording of data was very poor. “Without good data it is impossible to set targets for improvement. SIMS needed to be rolled out to the entire school staff so that they could get an accurate picture of where children were and to make it possible to measure overall performance.”
To tackle attendance, Paul enlisted the help of all teachers to record more pupil data in SIMS to build a complete pupil profile. “To bring about rapid change,” Paul says, “We needed to be able to set targets and monitor progress. Attendance was a key focus and using SIMS, we hit our attendance target of 96%.”
Behaviour was also an area where Applegarth set targets which were no less ambitious, with a zero tolerance approach and a 100% good behaviour target, as Paul explains. “Tracking behaviour in SIMS meant we could quickly follow up on every reported behaviour incident. We could also easily spot any patterns.”
“Pupils now have the right environment for learning. At KS2 SATS we saw a 17% increase in Level 4 and a 24% increase in Level 5 in maths. Attendance continues to rise and the school is at last helping children get the education they deserve. “We have a fantastic teaching team, totally committed to improving performance and progress at the school, and SIMS is an invaluable asset in helping them do this.”
Read the full Applegarth Junior School case study