Inspiring and Empowering People
St. Michael's Learning Culture
St. Michael's staff are dedicated and inspiring people who are key to our learning culture. We are fortunate to work in a school where a wide-variety of professional development is important. We engage in research, collaborate with other schools and work with a wide range of professional partners to ensure we are always learning, innovative, reflective - all leading to the highest possible quality provision for our children.
The start of 2018-19 means a focus on all things 'Church School' and building on the fantastic work done since 2014.
We are looking at:
- RE teaching and learning - including continuing to lead the local NATRE Group for Bishop's Stortford and surrounding areas.
- The effectiveness of Collective Worship
- The school environment and how it reflects and enhances our Christian values
INSET Day Oct 2017
We enjoyed an INSET Day Conference alongside with local primary and secondary schools in October 2017 entitled 'Resilience and Well-being'. We were fortunate to hear from an excellent key speaker - Andy Cope - who is part of a company called 'The Art of Brilliance'.
We bought two books that Andy signed and these are currently being passed around the staff team to inspire us even further!
In the autumn term 2017 we worked on aspects such as...
- Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) Inspection framework - following our outstanding SIAMS inspection in Feb 2014 and mid-term health-check in the summer term 2017, we have created an action plan as to our next steps for further improvement and to ensure the highest quality provision continues.
- Subject Leadership - each member of staff leads a subject or area of school life, such as School Council. The staff are expected to closely monitor and develop the quality of provision in their area via a wide variety of activities on an ongoing basis. This is in addition to their classroom responsibilities.
- RE - We are implementing 'Understanding Christianity' across the school and the staff have worked with Mrs Halliwell to plan a scheme of work that builds on our RE Quality Mark Gold.
- Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) - We are working on implementing a whole school scheme of work for PSHE to add to the work we already do with the children in this area and compliment our values programme. The staff were able to work with Nancy (who teaches on the Life Bus) and develop their understanding of the scheme of work we have purchased.
INSET Day January 2018
During our New Year INSET, the staff worked on further developing our Mathematics teaching and learning led by Mrs Pickering as our Maths Leader and resident maths expert!
We explored new ideas for the delivery of engaging maths lessons and are looking at a new maths planning system, published by Herts for Learning. This is currently being rolled across the whole school and has a focus on maths mastery; problem-solving, applying maths skills in a variety of contexts, investigating, asking questions, breadth, depth and challenge for all.
Our focus in the spring term is based around the curriculum and ensuring it is as creative and innovative as it could be, linked to the new school vision.
Subject Leader Cluster Meetings
In January, our subject leaders are hosting schools from the Bishop's Stortford area and beyond, to discuss best practice in their subjects and share ideas, strategies, projects and other aspects of high quality teaching and learning. This is something we have chosen to do as a school as we feel collaborating with other schools helps ensure we are improving our provision and keep up to date with developments in education. It also means we are forward thinking and are supporting colleagues in what they are doing in schools.
We already lead successful cluster groups for RE and Modern Foreign Languages for Bishop's Stortford and surrounding areas and are branching out into other subjects, hoping for the same level of success!
In a February 2018 speech given by HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, she says: "...long-lasting improvement is the work of teams within schools and collaboration between schools. This is what we see in our best schools..."
During the Spring Term, we have looked at our school curriculum, carrying out an audit using Ofsted headings. We have produced a 'Curriculum Statement' that is now published on the website (under Curriculum) that gives a detailed picture of our curriculum ethos and activities.
In the Summer Term, we have enjoyed training from The Woodland Trust (linked to our recent awards) and other schools joined us, as we tried out lots of different activities and resources in our school grounds. We have also looked at RE and the assessment of this subject - which can be rather challenging!
Another main event this term, has been the Subject Leader Cluster Meetings, where we hosted over 100 colleagues from the local area to discuss best practice and innovative ideas for the curriculum and SEND. Most of our staff led these meetings.
We are open to new ideas, innovate and share best practice
Much of our work this year, linked to the School Improvement Plan and School Vision, is around ensuring the high quality teaching and learning continues, with creativity, outdoor learning, mindfulness and spiritual, moral, social and cultural education embedded.
We are also preparing for the next SIAMS (Church School) Inspection - due in Spring 2019. Lots of work on the Spring INSET Day and subsequent staff meetings will be around this theme.
In addition, there are focuses on:
- Equality and Diversity
- Relationships Education (with new guidelines expected in 2019)