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The 'War Room' at Neale Wade

Our journey towards Progress 8

Principal Jason Wing explains how Neale Wade Academy is preparing for the changes

Posted by Stephanie Broad | January 23, 2016 | Teaching

The new Progress 8 measure for GCSE students is a welcome change at Neale Wade Academy. We believe that it will incentivise all our students as they will be able to measure their progress against their individual starting points. We recognise that every single grade for every student is crucial, and we are working hard to ensure that all students make expected progress. However, what we are striving for is a culture where all students make more than expected progress. We set targets at ‘plus one’ above target grade from their KS2 level so that we can add as much value as possible.

To ensure that all of our teaching and support staff understand the new expectations, we have spent a lot of time working with our heads of subject at the all-important middle leadership level. They have been given specific worked examples of how Progress 8 and Attainment 8 are calculated. This has enabled us to see just how important all the grades are, and where they can target individual students to make sure that progress happens. We have a "War Room" with photographs of each individual student along with their current performance in comparison to where they should be by the time they sit their GCSE examinations. Being able to clearly see each student allows me to speak to individuals, often informally, when I see them in the corridors with a high degree of knowledge about their progress. Students really appreciate the fact that the Principal of their academy knows how well they are doing. This is key to developing rapport and gives students confidence in our systems.

Neale Wade Academy tracks progress in their War Room

We have a Vice Principal who responsible for raising standards and she does a magnificent job of analysing performance data which the senior leadership team of the Academy use to target intervention, look at teaching performance in key areas, and ensure that students are following the flight path that is required for examination success. The SLT meet every morning in the ‘War Room’ at 8am and conversations are always student focused, it is essential to drill down to individual performance to maximise progress. We have produced a single postcard for all staff that has our targets for three key areas: behaviour and attendance, student outcomes and teaching expectations. All staff know exactly what we are striving for and they are reminded of our targets on a regular basis.

To enable students to know how to be successful we make sure that they experience the rigours of examinations by testing them on a regular basis. We have an experienced examiner who works with groups of students explains the grade boundaries and how many marks separate each grade. We talk about using examination time effectively and how to "salvage" marks by going over the exam paper to add as much as possible or to have a go even if they are struggling with a particular question. 

At Neale-Wade our ethos is that progress is king and as such everyone can be successful.

Jason Wing is Executive Principal at Neale Wade Academy, part of the Active Learning Trust.    

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