The Bushey St James Trust is fully committed to improving the schools within the Trust and has an excellent track record of this work over recent years. Systems of local and trust wide governance fully support the school improvement agenda and regular scrutiny of key performance indicators (KPIs) at both Local Governing Body and Trust Board level monitor progress over time. This ensures that appropriate interventions and resource capacity are in place to support both rapid and sustainable transformation.
The BSJT has a proven track record of school improvement and the key leaders within the BSJT have first-hand experience of improving schools in both the primary and secondary sector; they themselves have led schools from the spectrum of inadequate to outstanding using proven school improvement models.
Within the BSJT there is a real focus on making teaching as good as it can be and enabling the key school leaders’ to have the time to do this by centralising administrative, finance and HR functions where and when appropriate. Data is used effectively to hold the school leaders within the BSJT to account for performance and as far as possible all unnecessary burdens have been reduced for leaders and teachers by streamlining information management processes across the Trust.
The BSJT adopts a standardised approach to using and sharing information in regard to quality assurance across the schools. This enables the Trust Board to be provided with consistent information so that they can quickly see and make comparisons of the performance of each school, both as a whole and in particular areas (such as the impact of pupil premium funding). It is also easier to identify areas of strengths and weakness within individual schools and, where support needs and can be provided. There is an expectation that every school within the Trust will be both a giver and receiver of support as there are pockets of outstanding practice and areas for development in each school.
All staff are able to learn and share good practice. Teachers across the schools (both primary and secondary) observe and learn from each other to improve the quality of teaching for all pupils. This helps to reduce teacher workload and increases creativity. The Headteachers also work together and support each other to manage change.
All school leaders work hard to ensure that every member of staff within the Trust has a personalised and bespoke professional development plan, irrespective of their position or seniority. Being in a MAT can facilitate greater opportunities for all staff which helps to attract, retain and support the improvement of high quality teachers and Associate Staff.
Self-evaluation at Bushey Meads School in September 2014 rated the school as requiring improvement and plans were rapidly implemented to secure a thoroughly Good Ofsted rating in September 2015 under the new rigorous Ofsted framework. During that academic year GCSE results improved in 80% of subjects at Key Stage 4, by an average of 16.5%.
“Driven by high aspirations, a wide range of improvements have been planned to make sure that all students benefit from good teaching in all years and all subjects.” Ofsted September 2015
Results at AS Level in 2015 were the best ever for 6 years and this translated into similar results at A level in 2016. Indeed Level 3 Sixth Form ratings in 2016 indicated a 0.28 value added score meaning that on average, every student in the sixth form achieved nearly a 1/3rd grade higher than their aspirational target grades in all of their subjects.
“The school has gone through a huge transformation over the past year. The changes have certainly been positive for the school and its learners.” Ofsted September 2015
For vocational courses the value added measure was 1.11 meaning that every student studying one of these courses achieved more than 1 grade higher than their predicted grade.
For some faculties the results were even more impressive and the Maths Faculty’s results for example gave them a value added score of 1.45 meaning that on average every single student achieved grades that were between 1 and 2 grades higher than their predictions.
In 2017 the Progress 8 Score for Key Stage 4 GCSE results was 0.11 and higher than the previous year’s measure of 0.02. This positive score placed the school just below the top 30% of schools nationally. For all other key measures related to attainment, performance in English and Maths and student destinations beyond Key Stage 4, the results were above Hertfordshire and also above the national measures.
“Staff are very positive about working at the school.” Ofsted September 2015
At Key Stage 5 A level results placed the school in the top 12% of schools nationally with a very positive score of +0.29. For Vocational Courses at Key Stage 5 the DfE ranked the school in the top 4% with a positive value added score of +1.1.
Although there was still work to do, the whole school focus on More Able and Pupil Premium students continued to close the gaps for students with data demonstrating an upward trajectory in this important area of school performance.
In March 2019 the school received a one day inspection and the final report was a superb endorsement of the outstanding work of all students, staff, parents and carers and Governors and Trustees over the last 3 ½ years. You can access the report, via the link here: https://busheymeads.org.uk/about-us/ofsted/
“The school has improved significantly overall” Ofsted March 2019
“Staff are very proud and motivated to be part of the school.” Ofsted March 2019
The latest inspection report indicates that, whilst the school remained good there was sufficient evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school would be judged outstanding if it received a full 2 day Inspection now.
“Leaders build your ‘mind to be kind’ culture by prominently displaying signs, weekly emails, daily character-development sessions, pictures and promoting random acts of kindness.” Ofsted March 2019
“We saw exemplary behaviour in lessons, at breaktime and at lunchtime; good behaviour is a strong feature of the school.” Ofsted March 2019
The journey here simply continues as we move towards greatness and we look forward to our next Ofsted visit that will very likely endorse the exciting journey that we are on.
“Innovative school-wide continuous professional development ensure a constant focus on sharing great teaching practice.” Ofsted March 2019
As always there are a few areas to improve, however we are certainly not complacent and will continue to embed our outstanding practice across all aspects of our superb learning community here at Bushey Meads.
In November 2019 the school received a two day inspection under the new framework September 2019 and the final report rated the school as outstanding in two key areas: Personal Development and Sixth Form provision.
The glowing report reflects the continued exciting journey that our superb school is on, and was another strong endorsement of the outstanding work of all students, staff, parents and carers and Governors and Trustees over the last 5 years. You can access the report, via the link here: https://busheymeads.org.uk/about-us/ofsted/
“Leaders and staff have created a positive environment founded on the principle that the school, ‘has a mind to be kind’.”Ofsted November 2019
“Pupils and staff reach for excellence in all that they do; this is particularly the case for students in the Sixth Form.” Ofsted November 2019
“Leaders have created an exciting and ambitious programme of learning.” Ofsted November 2019
“The Sixth Form stands out as an area of excellence within the school.” Ofsted November 2019
“Leaders have placed pupils’ well-being at the heart of what they do.” Ofsted November 2019
Little Reddings Primary School has had an equally exciting recent journey. The Ofsted Inspection in November 2014 concurred with the school’s own self-evaluation and rated the school as requires improvement. The report however strongly recognised the impact that the new Headteacher (appointed in April 2014) had already made – particularly in the key areas of safeguarding that had, until recently, been inadequate. Ofsted also commented positively on her accurate knowledge of the school, the morale and commitment of the wider staffing body and the obvious capacity to improve.
“The strong leadership of the headteacher, since her appointment, has ensured that the school site is safe for pupils, the Nursery provision has improved, attendance has increased and expectations of teaching and pupils’ achievements have been raised.” Ofsted November 2014
“All staff who responded to the staff questionnaire praised the impact of the headteacher and commented on their involvement in school developments. As a result, staff morale is high with all staff actively supporting the headteacher’s drive for improvements.” Ofsted November 2014
“The headteacher knows the strengths and weaknesses of the school well. The accurate self-evaluation informs a development plan which includes all the right priorities for the school. In a short time, theheadteacher and senior leaders have shown that they have the capacity to improve the school further.” Ofsted November 2014
The Multi Academy Trust provided a secure platform for rapid transformation. This started with a full review of Governance, undertaken by the Executive Principal, which complimented the work within the school to improve teaching and learning and outcomes for all pupils.
In November 2016 the Primary School was rated by Ofsted as thoroughly Good with Outstanding features and is continuing to improve in all areas.
“The headteacher provides strong, committed leadership that is focused on providing a high standard of education for all pupils. As a result, the school is rapidly improving. Teaching is now typically good across the school. Teachers plan activities that interest and engage pupils in their learning.” Ofsted November 2016
“Governance has improved since the last inspection. Governors now support and challenge school leaders to produce good outcomes. Appropriate systems are in place across the academy trust to manage the performance of all staff.” Ofsted November 2016
In terms of outcomes for pupils Ofsted recognised that Phonics teaching is good at the school and attainment at the end of Key Stage 2 continues to improve, with results showing that pupils were making progress at least in line with the national average and attainment being broadly average in English and mathematics. At the end of Key Stage 1 pupil attainment was also broadly average. They also identified that work in pupils’ books shows they are making good progress over time in a range of subjects. Disadvantaged pupils in the school are making good progress. In Early Years Children are making good progress in all areas of learning.
Hartsbourne Primary School has also been on a journey of significant improvement, moving from a Requires Improvement Ofsted category in November 2014 to that of Good in October 2016. The latest report highlighted many real strengths within the school, particularly in maths and English.
“Procedures for assessing pupils’ progress in English and mathematics are highly effective. Teaching in English, in particular, has improved markedly as a result of this strong and systematic leadership and is now being shared across other areas of the curriculum.”Ofsted October 2016
“They have established highly effective systems for assessing and tracking pupils’ progress in reading, writing and mathematics.” Ofsted October 2016
“Pupils in Year 4, for instance, were able to use very sophisticated language when explaining to an inspector the different strategies employed by authors. The school actively promotes a love of reading.” Ofsted October 2016
The report highlighted how the work of different stakeholders at the school brought about the significant change:
“Pupils show high levels of respect for each other and have a deep understanding of equality. A strength of the school is the positive relationship between pupils and staff. Pupils work exceptionally well with each other, discussing their learning or sharing their ideas to improve their written work or solve problems.” Ofsted October 2016
“All of the parents spoken to by inspectors were very supportive of the school and the improvements that they have seen.” Ofsted October 2016
“Governors bring a wide range of professional experience to their role. Governors have an accurate view of the school’s strengths and weaknesses, both in provision and in outcomes. They routinely come into school to find out for themselves the quality of teaching and the outcomes for pupils. Governors use the school’s plans for improvement to hold leaders to account robustly.” Ofsted October 2016
Other key strengths focus on how gaps in attainment are identified and then closed for all pupils:
“Teachers and teaching assistants are proficient at identifying any pupils who may need extra support and helping them to make better progress. The school is very effective at using the additional money it receives from the government to support disadvantaged pupils. As a result, these pupils make good progress and there is no difference between their progress and that of other pupils.” Ofsted October 2016
Leadership was also identified as a clear strength in the school:
“The headteacher has established a very caring culture for these pupils, and all staff fully subscribe to it. Pupils have total confidence in adults to deal with any issues that arise either in class or in the playground. The school is rigorous in its recording of all incidents and concerns, and the school’s leaders are constantly striving to seek ways to support individual pupils.” Ofsted October 2016
Over the last two years outstanding staff have been recruited to the Trust and, together with existing outstanding staff, professionally developed along with all colleagues within the Trust.
Regular personalised staff training and collaborations are planned across the Bushey St James Trust to ensure the school improvement journey continues and the very best quality first teaching takes place in all classrooms.
Lead Practitioners, Specialist Leaders in Education and Advanced Lead Teachers lead Professional Learning Groups across the Trust to facilitate the ongoing sharing of best practice. Many of them showcase their practice locally, regionally and also in the national arena.
These staff include the following key leaders of learning:
Greg Harper – Deputy Headteacre
Greg has been a qualified teacher for ten years, all of which have been spent in the employ of Hartsbourne Primary School. Having joined the school as an NQT, he was appointed subject leader for English in 2009, before being promoted to Assistant Head and SENCo in 2011 and finally Deputy Head in 2013. Greg currently leads English and Music in the school and has been at the forefront of establishing links with Bushey Meads and Little Reddings, as Hartsbourne prepared to join the Bushey St James Trust.
Graeme Searle – Assistant Headteacher
Graeme has worked in several schools around London starting his career as a teacher of PE and Geography in a large mixed comprehensive school where he was promoted to the position of House Manager – responsible for the academic and pastoral welfare of 300 children. He then moved to become the Director of Sport at a large multi-academy trust containing seven schools where he oversaw physical education and sport from Key Stages 2-5, before moving to Bushey Meads School as an Assistant Headteacher in charge of Teaching and Learning and Staff Development.
Sean Power – Assistant Headteacher
Sean began his career by working with children who had severe special needs, providing much needed outreach and support to their parents and carers. After fully qualifying as a teacher, he moved into mainstream teaching within a challenging London borough school. Within that school he was promoted to Science and Computing Coordinator and then a year later, head of year. Most recently, after moving to Little Reddings School where he qualified as a SENCo, he is now an Assistant Headteacher.
Danielle Bowe – Lead Practitioner English and Whole School Literacy
Danielle has over two decades of experience of successfully teaching English at KS3, 4 and 5 in two inner London comprehensives. After being a highly successful Head of English she gained full accreditation as an Advanced Skills teacher in 2008 with Teaching and Learning and Behaviour Management as her specialisms. She has genuine passion for teaching and being in the classroom and her enhanced role of Lead Practitioner within the Bushey St James Trust allows her to do that, along with whole school development with the literacy strand. She contributes regularly to the comprehensive school CPD programme and effectively develops many staff with aspects of their classroom practice. She has worked with other local schools and disseminates good practice, sharing and developing resources – currently taking a leading role in the development and implementation of the new GCSE changes in the English curriculum through the creation of resources and schemes of learning as well as support and training of staff. Her classroom and marking practice is frequently used as a bench mark for excellence; through an enhanced repertoire of teaching and intervention strategies, she targets students’ needs in a personalised way that aims to foster creativity, life-long learning and achievement. She has presented at a number of recent national conferences including the SSAT Achievement Show.
Kate Hoskins – Advanced Lead Teacher
Kate has over twenty years experience teaching in several schools in Hertfordshire. She started her career as an Art teacher and now teaches four subjects up to A-Level: Art, Graphics, Photography and Media. When Kate joined Bushey Meads she was promoted to Deputy Head of Sixth Form, a post she held for over ten years. During this time she led a team of tutors, and was responsible for the academic and pastoral well being of the sixth form students. Kate is a passionate Art teacher and believes that every student should be given the ability to express themselves and be guided. She encourages students and other staff members to achieve their best standard without fear of failure as it can lead to self discovery and personal well-being. Kate has been a mentor to newly qualified and student teachers and her lessons are often observed by other teachers in the school. Kate regularly contributes to CPD by running workshops and presenting to whole school INSET and Trust conferences.
Sarah Davey – Advanced Lead Teacher for Science
Sarah has six years of teaching experience, and began her career at a mixed comprehensive in Essex. In her NQT year she was nominated for an Essex Teaching Award for ‘New Teacher of the Year’, and won a ‘Team of the Year’ Award working as part of the Science Department. She gained promotion to STEM Co-ordinator and took on responsibility for the extra-curricular programme of events. In September 2018, Sarah joined Bushey Meads School as Advanced Lead Teacher for Science and is leading staff development strands focused on differentiation and retrieval practice.
Hannah Wells – Maths Teacher Key Stage 2-3
Hannah has over 7 years experience of teaching KS2 at a Watford primary school. During her time at this school, she undertook a number of roles, such as PE co-ordinator and mathematics leader, before progressing to become Deputy Headteacher. Hannah has always had a passion for the teaching of mathematics and previously worked for Hertfordshire County as a mathematics leading teacher, whereby she worked at a number of other primary schools raising teaching and learning standards. She has a strong understanding of the progression of mathematical skills and is able to draw on her primary knowledge and expertise when planning for progression across KS3. Hannah is passionate about building students’ confidence in mathematics and scaffolding learning to support students to reach their full potential.
Gary Johnson – English Teacher Key Stage 2-3
Gary Johnson has been teaching for nearly ten years, having mainly worked in the primary sector. He has previously worked for Hertfordshire Constabulary and British Transport Police. He was initially employed as a teaching assistant in his previous school and was inspired by the staff and students to join the teaching profession. Gary possesses extensive experience in both KS1 and KS2 and was responsible for planning and overseeing the SATs examinations. Furthermore, in his role as phase leader, he was responsible for the teaching and learning of KS2 in the school. Bushey Meads has provided him with the unique opportunity of teaching both KS2 and KS3. Gary adopts a creative approach in all aspects of his teaching and is passionate about utilising the environment and physical aids in order to create an educational environment whereby pupils can interact with resources to develop understanding of subjects and pertinent issues.
Aneeka Ahmed – Maths Teacher Key Stage 2-3
Aneeka has over 7 years of experience of teaching Mathematics; ranging from K2-K5. She has previously worked in schools in Brent and Barnet and worked as a private 11 Plus tutor for 4 years. She is currently taken on the role of K2 and K3 Maths Teacher and works in Bushey Meads and Hartsbourne Primary. At Hartsbourne, Aneeka works with the most able students in Year 2, Year 4 and Year 5. She enjoys imparting her knowledge and love of Mathematics to young minds who are excited to learn.
Charlotte Hewitt – D&T Teacher Key Stage 2-3
Charlotte teaches Design and Technology to students across a range of years at both primary and secondary level. Her broad knowledge of the subject and ability to tailor her lessons to a wide range of skill levels has allowed her to get the best out of students across all years of education.
Andrew Symeou – Advanced Lead Teacher
Andrew was appointed as an Advanced Lead Teacher in April 2019, almost 3 years after joining Bushey Meads School as an NQT. Andrew has worked hard to ensure high levels of teaching and learning across his two subject areas (Science and PE) since his arrival. In this time, Andrew has contributed to staff development days and regularly shared good practice across the trust. Andrew has a particular strength in assessment for learning and has also had a large impact on how we record and make use of verbal feedback given in the classroom.