Mari Sutherland, curriculum and assessment manager at St Helena School, explains how switching to EduKey’s products helped her school boost its Ofsted grade.
When Mari Sutherland became curriculum and assessment manager at St Helena School in 2018, she made it a priority to introduce EduKey’s products, having seen how effective they were in her previous school – a 11 to 16 coeducational school in Essex with 648 pupils on roll.
When Mari arrived at her previous school, it had been experiencing problems with pupil behaviour and engagement and had never got a good grade from Ofsted in its entire history. The hope was that Class Charts, combined with other EduKey products, would create a joined-up approach to pupil welfare, performance and behaviour. The results were impressive.
“After using EduKey’s products to revamp behaviour we have achieved goods in the behaviour category from Ofsted, then went on to achieve an overall good grade,” says Mari.
At St Helena School, EduKey’s products have been enthusiastically embraced by the staff.
The system the school had previously used for recording behaviour and setting detentions was widely seen as “clunky” and the result was that staff avoided using it.
“We found this led to inconsistency applying the behaviour policy across the school – you can have a good policy but if everyone is not applying it in same way, it won’t work,” says Mari. “As well as having a good policy you need consistency, and Class Charts gives you that. It’s easy to use and it’s very open: everyone can see which teachers are using it and what pupils are getting from different teachers.”
The senior management team have been pleased with the impressive take-up not only among staff but also among parents, who say it helps them stay informed on what has happened to their children in the course of each day.
“When the children arrive home, their parents already know how their day was,” she says. “If children are consistently late, their parents are alerted every time. It means the parents are a lot more engaged with the school. For example, if we tell them their child is not doing something, they are immediately on the case.”
Meanwhile, the pupils have responded enthusiastically to the system, especially the function that enables teachers to award them with positive behaviour points. These count towards rewards ranging from hot chocolate and cookies at break to permission to jump the lunch queue.
“A lot of children who were used to being told off suddenly had a carrot being dangled in front of them,” says Mari.
From a teachers’ point of view a big benefit is that Class Charts links up with another EduKey product, Provision Maps, giving them a quick and easy overview of each child’s specific needs.
“A quick look at Class Charts will tell the teacher what they need to know. Staff have become much more engaged in what they need to be doing for the students and it has cut down on bits of paper – previously the school would have had folder in class for each pupil, so the form tutor knew about each child but not necessarily the teachers.”
Class Charts has also made it easy to identify pupil premium or SEN pupils and high prior attainers.
“This means we can be more adaptable in our teaching,” says Mari. “For example, brighter boys sometimes do not draw attention to the fact they have finished and need more work – now we can single them out and make sure we stretch them.”
The school is continuing to add to its collection of EduKey products, having recently introduced Literacy Assessment Online.
“As licenses for other products run out, we adopt EduKey products because they are better,” says Mari. “We like them, and the standard of support is excellent. To any other school considering using EduKey products, I would say go for it – it’s very easy to train people to use them because they’re so intuitive, and they keep the teachers happy – which keeps me happy too.”
Curriculum and assessment manager
St Helena School
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