Group targets, class mission statements and pupil progress towards achievement have been discussed and tracked with class tutors in an on-going dialogue with pupils in a daily designated ‘learning time’. One of these each week is devoted to developing criteria specifically related to ‘Investors in Pupils’. The dialogue I witnessed in one such tutorial was impressive.
Personal targets are in place throughout the school and have been devised by a combination of pupils with staff guidance. The tracking of these targets is done weekly with pupils accumulating points and discussing their progress at tutorials. Pupils value this points system and make great efforts to progress. Points can be accessed for any type of achievement towards their targets and these mainly support either main curriculum learning areas or meaningful challenges taken from the five main sections of ‘Investors in Pupils’.
The school offers many after-school clubs ranging from sport, music and creative activities through to a continuation of academic and cultural opportunities.
Achievements in both academic and non academic areas are rewarded and celebrated publicly in tutorials, all academic faculties and through house assemblies. This is in a variety of ways including stars of the week, student of the week/month, photographs on display, points progressing towards bronze, silver, gold and diamond awards, assemblies, certificates and extra privileges.
The displays throughout the school are outstanding. They are creative, promote learning, celebrate achievement and are extremely informative, e.g. some including details about healthy lifestyles and the budget of the school.
Staff give pupils details of their own continuous learning through conferences, meetings, INSET days and courses.
“This has opened their eyes to the fact that you don’t just get a job and then stop learning.”
"Pupils are courteous and considerate. They conduct themselves with commendable maturity in lessons and around the academy.”
My observations in all social areas both inside and outside the school buildings, were extremely positive with polite and well-behaved pupils showing care and consideration for each other and adults.
Although pupils agree there is no problem with bullying they have identified potential on-line bullying on social media as the most likely area of concern for pupils everywhere. In response to this a small group of pupils have undergone training in this area and with staff support these anti-bullying ambassadors have plans to raise awareness of this with pupils, staff and parents.
A few pupils have targets which they have agreed are aimed at improving their occasionally less than desirable behaviour. Once again the points system is utilised and negative points are recorded as well as positive. All are reviewed weekly and tutors enthusiastically encourage greater efforts to return to positive points.
“Let’s get back to positive points next week but a fantastic improvement from where you started.”
School and Class Management including knowledge of school finance
Tuxford pupils have the opportunity to take on a variety of responsibilities either as a supporter working in a group or as a leader as they gain in confidence. Many roles have already been mentioned in this report but others include …form representative on Student Forum, student ambassadors, midday supervisors, helpers, sports leaders, charity event organisers, student host, taking a lead in an assembly, offering advice on staff interviews and bus monitors.
Tuxford Academy Student Forum is a truly elected democratic body with representation from all age groups, houses/colleges and tutor groups and it has been instrumental in considering and promoting elements of ‘Investors in Pupils’ throughout the whole academy. With the academy being so large there are a variety of smaller pupil voice groups that take on their own agendas and running of meetings with the aim that major items discussed are then taken to their overall Student Voice Conference led by pupil presidents and vice presidents plus senior staff. A comprehensive feedback to all pupils follows any meeting. Items such as … school bus problems, inadequate Wi Fi service in school, charity support, lunchtime changes, bullying policy changes and corridor congestion have all been given full consideration and wherever appropriate linked to any necessary budgetary implications.
Students and staff have prepared and circulated widely an A5 leaflet connected with the breakdown of the budget of the school. All age groups interviewed had a good understanding of where and why money is allocated and the process, involving governors and of prioritising the many areas of the school with their budgetary needs. The pupils are truly financially aware (copy of leaflet available here to download - click here).
Knowledge of the roles of governors was good and they have a high profile in the school through visits, attendance in assemblies, attending some Pupil Voice meetings and hosting some meetings of the full governing body with pupil presidents in attendance.
The school has encouraged pupils from every tutor group to interview members of staff and then feedback in the tutor group time. This has been very successful in enhancing relationships between staff and pupils and giving them a much greater understanding of adult roles in the school. This has even had a positive impact on wastage and resources as e.g. the site manager had the opportunity to relate how much time he spent on litter clearing and how that had a big impact on his time and budget. Since this interview the litter problem has improved greatly.
Since 2012 there has been a big improvement in attendance and punctuality and staff attribute this to the linking of attendance targets, both personal and group, and a better pupil understanding of why it is important to come to school regularly.(June 2014 – 95.74%).
“Since Investors in Pupils targets have been introduced, methods used to improve attendance have had significant impact. Pupils are far more aware of the importance of good attendance and just love being a member of the 100% club.”
Member of support staff
There is healthy rivalry between all tutorial groups to have the best weekly attendance and they all know their own and their group percentage each week. Once again points provide a good incentive but also those who achieve 100% have the possibility of a small weekly cash reward and/or a photo and certificate if maintained throughout the year.
Year 11 act as buddies for the new Year 7 pupils and tutor group ‘welcome teams’ do a similar service for anyone starting midway through a term. Induction booklets have been prepared by students from each form, guided by representatives from Student Voice. These worthwhile booklets and particularly the Frequently Asked Questions section could be developed further to offer even more empathy as to what a new starter needs to know. They are added to by a host of information leaflets, booklets and magazines devised by Tuxford pupils. It is reassuring to see that pupils have readily acknowledged the importance of induction and enjoyed taking the responsibility for helping new people settle into their school.