“We can then track children over time and not only address any areas of concern but hopefully evidence that children are enjoying school and that they’re motivated and happy in themselves.”
Tennyson Road Primary is historically a very successful school. We have some of the highest outcomes for children - at Key Stage 2 and we’re in the top 0.5% for progress in English and Maths, which is amazing, but it is worth knowing and pointing out that our children have some of the lowest starting points compared to other children around the area. On the whole, there are many areas of deprivation around Luton and our school sites are within deprived areas. We also have very high mobility throughout the school year and have done for the last 5 or more years. We also have very high EAL, with many children coming into school with little or no English language. So we have a lot of children who start off really low and we work really hard with those pupils throughout their seven years to get them up to expected standard or above, with many ending up at greater depth.
The staff at Tennyson Road work tirelessly through quality first teaching and try to take the burden off teachers by reducing unnecessary paperwork with high-quality planning and resources. We follow a mastery curriculum throughout school, especially in English and Maths. We teach in mixed ability groups with a lot of peer work, so children help each other within class. We try to ensure that everyone starts off with a similar starting point, rather than differentiating tasks or assigning ability groups. Challenge is embedded within the work, so we’re pushing the children on without their necessarily realising that. Teachers go around the class supporting and challenging as many children as they can in the course of every lesson.
During the Covid lockdowns, we provided our pupils with four hours of remote teaching and learning a day – two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon. There would be some adults answering the online chat and fielding questions whilst the teachers were teaching. However, despite all this, we’ve still found that by June pupils were averaging two and a half terms behind where they would’ve been at this time normally. Being in an area of disadvantage and also with high percentage EAL, not having the facilities at school and not being in the school environment has had a big impact.
Using Wellbeing and Attitudes to Learning Survey
So, we decided to use the Wellbeing and Attitudes to Learning Survey just after the May half term. All children in the school took the survey – classes sent their pupils out in groups of 5 or 6 as we had a few connection issues our end, not to do with the website. We sent out the template parent letter that’s provided first and thankfully none of the parents withdrew their child from the survey, so that was good. Teachers fed back that the survey was fairly straightforward – just some of the younger pupils or those with little English needed supporting with understanding of some of the questions – but in general the 20 minutes or so it took them to do the survey was absolutely fine. The children were engaged and comfortable using it and the audio worked well. None of the teachers said the survey was too hard for the children – it was pitched just right for them and they were able to access it fairly effectively.
Using the Reports
The various reports have been very helpful. We’ve gone through the comparison reports in our SLT meeting, looking at the overview of which areas were showing up green, amber or red. Generally, the area that shows most amber and red zones at the moment is ‘self-efficacy’; positivity, motivation and resilience are mainly green, although slightly lower in ‘intrinsic motivation’. So we are focusing on the red zones to start with for those pupils highlighted and teachers are looking at their ‘class list reports’ and ‘individual pupil reports’ from the Wellbeing and Attitudes to Learning tool so that we can put into place the recommended strategies and interventions, whether that’s in class, in groups, or in some cases, on a one-to-one basis.
These summer reports may well be helpful for the children transitioning to secondary, too, as it gives secondary staff an idea as to the current mental health and wellbeing of pupils moving up.
Implementing changes using Wellbeing and Attitudes to Learning Survey
We decided as an SLT that there’d be a well-being session every Friday, making it more distinct on the curriculum so that children know it’s about mental health and wellbeing, and so that it is evident to anyone from outside the school that we are resolutely addressing these areas. So, during this time, our TAs and Family Team go and work with some of the children that have been highlighted on the Wellbeing and Attitudes to Learning Survey and put in place some of the strategies and activities that have been suggested in the survey outcomes. One of the sub-dimensions of the survey also focuses on ‘belonging’ so there’s a lot of links with other areas of our school curriculum and pastoral care. We’ll repeat the survey at the end of the summer term and again around October half term so that we can look at the baseline and see how many children move from red to amber, or amber to green. That’s obviously what we want to see.
We also wanted to use the survey with Key Stage 1 pupils we’d identified as having a possible need after the COVID lockdowns, especially as we’d had a few emails from parents saying the children had struggled at home due to the lockdowns, so we got those children to do the Wellbeing survey with the support of a TA or class teacher, as the survey is intended for Key Stage 2 to access independently.
We use New PiRA (Progress in Reading assessments) and New PUMA (Progress in Understanding Mathematics assessments) to monitor pupils’ progress and for gap analysis in reading and maths. I think there could be some benefit in being able to link this hard data with the softer data of the Wellbeing survey strands so we can see if a dip in wellbeing is reflected in reading and maths attainment.
We intend to carry on using the Wellbeing and Attitudes to Learning Survey for whole classes across the school at various points across the year because there may be children that have all green areas at one stage of the year and then it might pick up that they’re moving to amber or red so might be an early warning sign for us and a point to put in some intervention sooner. We can then track children over time and not only address any areas of concern but hopefully evidence that children are enjoying school and that they’re motivated and happy in themselves.
Head of School – North Campus & MHWB Lead,
Tennyson Road Primary, Luton