The Giles Nursery and Infants' School

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Hertfordshire Improvement Partner report from Spring Visit now available

We have now received the Spring Report. The first section outlines the Main Findings as reported to our Governors. The school was graded Outstanding and this section reads: The HIP and senior leaders explored the quality of provision offered to families during the period of lockdown starting in January 2021. Much had been learned from the partial school closure in March 2020 and senior leaders had researched digital platforms that would best suit the school’s context. Purple Mash was introduced to children and families in the autumn term and, therefore, parents and pupils were familiar with its format when schools were asked to switch to remote learning in January 2021. The learning activities provided were linked, as much as possible, to the school’s intended curriculum. Pupils had access to a wide range of subjects which were evidenced throughout the HIP’s visit. Senior leaders have an in-depth knowledge of their school community and were rigorous in monitoring engagement to ensure equity of experience for all pupils. Unable to take advantage of the government’s laptop scheme, leaders were determined to provide as many devices from school stock as possible and prepared iPads for distribution to families, with priority focused on disadvantaged pupils. Leaders have been proactive in evaluating the quality of provision. For example, they worked through the DfE’s remote education provision framework to identify the strengths of the school’s provision and areas for further enhancement. Small tweaks were designed to increase connectivity with families unable to engage fully in digital learning. This included preparing comprehensive paper versions of the weekly curriculum offer for parents to collect from school. Staff capitalised on these opportunities to have conversations whilst the packs were collected which gave positive, encouraging feedback to parents about their children’s achievements. Carefully designed learning activities were prepared to ease pressures on family life and to inspire the children to be creative away from screens. Parent feedback has demonstrated how appreciative families are of the support shown to them during periods of great uncertainty. Excellent communication has been evident in keeping families informed, helping to overcome difficulties with technology and to remain connected with each other. Dedicated class email accounts were set up immediately the lockdown was announced. Therefore parents were able to keep in touch with teachers and maintain a dialogue that may ordinarily happen at the classroom door. The HIP includes a small selection of emails, representative of the many received by leaders, which evidence the impact that the bespoke approach to home learning had on families. The HIP spent a great deal of time reading your comments and feedback and here she goes on to cite a number of quotations. We will publish the Report on our website; all names she has of course removed but some of you might recognise your own comments. I would like here to thank you from the bottom of my heart and to express the deep appreciation of all the teaching staff for the generosity, detail and quality of your feedback. The HIP then went on to spend several hours examining the actual work that the children had done during lockdown. Again, she judged this to be Outstanding. I would like to praise you for the dedication and commitment with which you supported your children’s learning during the lockdown. What she was judging was a combination of the range and variety of the work the school provided combined with the passionate support by you as parents, working each day with your children to do the best you could under such terribly difficult circumstances to make sure that your children were missing out as little as possible. Every school and every family in the country has struggled – it has been such an extraordinarily difficult time. But the HIP is able to compare the achievement of our pupils during this period with those of other schools and the quantity and quality of our children’s engagement was exceptional. The judgement of Outstanding is, therefore, a recognition of all of us, our school community – we, the school staff, together with you as parents and carers - and how we have worked together in this wonderful way to support our children’s learning during this pandemic. I extend my thanks and congratulations to you all.