The Hertfordshire Primary School

A school overcomes every-day disruption to achieve near-perfect levels of attendance.

The Context

 This primary school near Hatfield is a two form entry school with a nursery. It has around 484 pupils on roll. The proportion of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium is above the national average. The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is below the national average. Just over half its pupils are from white British backgrounds, with the rest coming from a variety of minority ethnic backgrounds – the largest group being African. Just over a quarter of pupils speak English as an additional language.

The Impact of Achieving Schools

The greatest impact of Achieving Schools for the school has been in relation to parental engagement, which was rated as being extremely poor before the programme's support. A leading representative of the school said: “Parental engagement has increased massively since our involvement with programme. The Structured Conversations have been key to achieving this…Following AfA, parents were given better advice and support on how they could best help their child. Now home learning has changed so that it engages the child and parent with a variety of activities.”

There has been improvement in learning and improved attendance, with some children who were rarely attending school now averaging 99% attendance. Before the programme, there was “lots of low level disruption”, whereas now staff have strategies to deal with these behaviours.

The school has been able to track an increase in reading, writing and maths since its involvement with Achieving Schools:

Reading: average 5.9 point increase
Writing: average 6.4 point increase
Maths: average 6.4 point increase

In terms of wider outcomes, the school representative reported that: “Before AfA, we didn’t have very much in place. Now every club is oversubscribed.”

In addition, the programme has focused on professional development, and its staff are now offered one to one support. The School Champion reported positive impacts on staff retention and professional satisfaction. The school has built up a reputation as an excellent place for children with behavioural issues and SEND.

The school's representative said: “Before AfA, some staff thought that perhaps some children couldn’t achieve. By the end of the two year programme, the attitudes of staff were changing as they began to work with parents and children. Now, the view is that every child is going to achieve and if they are struggling, it is about looking at what we can do to support them in school and at home, even if that means providing equipment or resources, if they don’t have those.”

After the initial two year programme, the school extended its involvement for a further two years. The programme has now become a focus across all of Key Stage One and Key Stage Two.