Stockham Primary School

An Achievement Coach helps engage parents, boosting the atmosphere.

The Context

Situated in Wantage, Oxfordshire, Stockham Primary School has approximately 200 pupils aged 4 to 11. Built in 1971, it was recently renovated, and was graded good in all areas by Ofsted in December 2013. Stockham has seven classes in total, of which two are specifically for infants.

The Impact of Achieving Schools

Parental engagement was a big issue for Stockham Primary School, and one of the programme's main areas of focus. Of particular concern was the need to engage with parents of vulnerable children – namely pupils who were underachieving, or who had special educational needs and disabilities [SEND].

Teacher and SENCO, Louise Bradley, reported a noticeable improvement in this area thanks to the support of Achievement for All, and their highly experienced Achievement Coach, Peter, an advisor with 30 years experience in teaching and senior leadership roles.

One solution involved cutting down the number of meetings that parents and carers were invited to attend, and offering Structured Conversations alone. Louise said: “You can see that the children have had significant improvements since then. The parents that we have engaged with have all said that it's been nice to have an informal conversation where it isn't teacher talking at parent, but where parents have time to actually say what they feel and what they'd like from the school... that has been really beneficial.”

Peter, who also coaches seven other schools in the area, said that the Structured Conversation approach was an important tool, as it “opens up a dialogue, where you get information that assists... with teaching and learning.”

Louise added: ““It's nice to have a coach that is in a supportive role rather than coming in judging what you're doing and saying 'This has to be done; this has to be done'... The children come over to Peter and share. They know who he is and they want to show him what they've achieved, and that in itself has brought a really positive ethos and atmosphere to the school, so that everyone knows that we're working together to achieve the same thing.”