Broadstone Middle School was last officially inspected by OfSTED in July 2014 and the outcomes of that inspection led to the school being placed under the care of the Headteacher and Governors of Broadstone First School, forming the Castleman Academy Trust. In the last three years there is no doubt that Broadstone Middle has become a VERY different place – a vibrant, enjoyable and exciting learning community which continues to develop and grow.
Castleman Schools are regularly reviewed by external agencies, including the Department for Education. In May 2017, we commissioned what we call a “MockSTED” – our term for a review that is carried out in the same way as an official OfSTED inspection but isn’t reported as genuine inspections are.
Di Wilkinson visited the school just before half term to carry out the review. Di has 19 years experience as an OfSTED lead inspector and provides school improvement support to a large number of schools locally and further afield for Dorset Education Service. We were delighted to receive wonderful feedback from her. She said,
“This is a different school from that seen at the time of the last visit by two Ofsted inspectors in July 2014. There has been a considerable turnover of staff and a new Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team are now in place. Leaders praise the inspirational leadership of their Headteacher and, together, their hard work over the past year has seen the introduction of rigorous and effective systems for monitoring the school’s work. As a result, teaching has improved across all year groups. Pupils’ progress has accelerated and has made up for the slow progress evident in the past. Staff are strongly committed to achieving a high quality education for pupils and are well set to do so. Pupils clearly enjoy school and work hard to meet the higher targets teachers now set for them.”
Since 2014, the school has worked incredibly hard to improve all aspects of teaching and learning. Findings from the review showed,
“Good provision for the curriculum requirements for each year group, notably in English and mathematics means that most pupils acquire the skills and knowledge that are expected of them. Pupils do this well in all year groups, including in other subjects such as science and technology. Pupils are well prepared to move on to the upper school.
Staff are rigorous in ensuring that pupils who might be in danger of falling behind make up ground on their peers. In most cases this is successful, with both SEN and disadvantaged pupils making good progress. Where those, mainly SEN pupils, do not achieve age related expectations this is due to their needs rather than inadequate progress.
The most able pupils make good progress and consistently achieve a greater depth of understanding. This is also the case for those disadvantaged pupils capable of achieving greater depth. Further ways are being sought to enhance the most able pupils’ attainment further.”
We have worked hard to radically improve the learning environment for the children and Di noted that “the school ethos is premised on ensuring that pupils make as much progress as they can and develop into reflective young people who aim high for themselves and are resilient, learning from their mistakes. There is a strong focus on ensuring pupils gain the key skills required and are able to use these widely and in different contexts so that they are well prepared for the future.
All classrooms are well organised as learning spaces, with key tips and advice easily available so that pupils do not have to waste time asking for adult help. There are good opportunities to work as part of a team, learning how to come to a consensus and value others ideas.”
We are currently developing plans for further improving the learning environment, particularly with regard to technology, computing and library facilities and hope to have this completed over the Summer break.
The review found that the school teaches the National Curriculum subjects well but also places great importance on developing the “whole child”. Broadstone Middle School wants pupils to enjoy coming to school – successful learners are happy and active. The reviewer found that “Broadstone Middle works hard to prepare pupils for the future. A most notable way of doing so is seen in the ‘University of Broadstone’ curriculum that allow pupils to apply their skills in simulated ‘real’ situations. These are very popular and allow pupils to test out their strengths and shine at what they do well and might like to pursue as a future career. During this visit, amongst many other activities on offer, pupils were acting as ‘Sports Ambassadors’ helping to run a football tournament for First School pupils, forensic scientists, using mathematics and science skills, to help identify a culprit or synthesising music using computer technology as in a music studio.” Learning is exciting at Broadstone Middle School!
We were particularly pleased that the behaviour of our pupils was a highlight. “Without exception, in all lessons and other activities observed pupils uniformly behaved well. They respond well to what their teachers ask of them, work hard and exhibit good attitudes to learning.” The behaviour of pupils at Broadstone Middle School is outstanding.
Broadstone Middle School has changed beyond all recognition since the OfSTED inspection in July 2014. Dawn (Wilks) as Headteacher with her staff team and the Governors, have worked tirelessly to rapidly improve all areas of school life and I am delighted that this has been recognised. I am sure that you will want to join with me in congratulating and thanking all involved.
I would like to add my thanks to you as parents and carers of the youngsters in our school. Your continued support and encouragement has helped to make our work more enjoyable and satisfying. We hugely appreciate the faith you have placed in us and I hope this report is proof that your faith was well placed.
However, a huge thank you must go to the pupils themselves. They are an absolute credit to you and to the school. Their views and opinions were used by Di to make her judgements about us. I was extremely proud of how articulate, thoughtful and reflective they were – all with a sense of humour. They were our best advertisement of just how far our school has come.
However, our work continues. We have wonderful plans to make Broadstone Middle School even better! Please continue to let us know what is working well and what you would like to see us improve on. Your feedback and comments are always welcome – we do listen!
If you have any further questions, or would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via the school office. As ever, thank you for your continued support.