Friday, 17 June 2022
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By David Gray
I was pleased, after the visit in March of the Education Development Trust based in the UK, with whom we are accredited, that they produced a report which was full of praise for the work that has been and is being done at Brummana High School. Here are some of the highlights of the report which identify areas of progress and of achievement at the school over the past couple of years as well as areas for Development:
After the second ISQM accreditation three years ago the key recommendations were about:
- The analysis and use of assessment information
- Development of careers guidance
- Transition from the elementary phase
- Feedback on learning
- Health and Safety and safeguarding practices.
Robin Attfield EDT Inspector, comments “Most of these have been addressed in detail and are now embedded; improvements have been made in all of the areas, but work is ongoing in the related areas of 1 and 4.”
He comments on the following improvements since his last visit:
- A changed culture with a clear focus and strategy for improvement to which staff have bought in.
- The introduction of the Cambridge curriculum in English, Mathematics and Science.
- GL testing for new students.
- Inclusion support more available with a growing department
- A new policy on assessment and reporting that has been implemented.
- This involves more personalised comments for parents, attention to areas of improvement, and grades rather than numerical scores.
- The introduction of a PSHE programme across the school.
- The role of HoD’s has been developed, but has been impacted on in the last two years by external realities.
- The introduction of a careers programme with responsibility for its leadership.
- Improved policies and arrangements for safeguarding
- Improved transition arrangements between the primary and secondary phases.
- Appointment at SLT level of someone to oversee performance management and staff development.
- Activities such as MUN have been maintained.
- Students’ roles, supporting staff, have been developed.
- The library has been undergoing refurbishment with external funding.
- The school has been reaccredited as an IB school, with a positive report.
- The introduction of ‘A’ levels, alongside the Lebanese stream and the IBDP.
- Outstanding IB results in 2021
- Improved IGCSE results year on year.
- The school is well organised and students, especially in intermediate and secondary school classes, are more focused.
- The development of the sports arena with a running track and football field.
- Clear signage across the school’s campus, including signage on the main road.
- A nurse on the Upper School site.
- The Governing Body is active in trying to support the school and provide financial solutions.
- An improved work ethic in students in the secondary school.
- All staff are working hard and remaining completely professional.
- The ongoing commitment of the school’s leaders is outstanding.
- Heads of Department are understandably worried about staffing next year and hope for some concrete recognition of the extra work they are completing and that decisions can be shared soon about packages for the coming year so that staffing clarity will emerge. They know that school leaders are pursuing this actively.
- The quality of teaching is better than that observed previously.
- Some classrooms, especially in older blocks in the intermediate and secondary phases, are ‘tired’ and not always well organised for learning.
Selected observations from teaching
- Overall the quality of teaching and learning was good across the school.
- Relationships in all classes were excellent with students showing great respect towards their teachers.
- Students, almost without exception, showed great levels of concentration, including those in the Infants’ Section classes.
- The pace of learning was exceptionally good in nearly every lesson.
- The introduction of the Cambridge curriculum is leading to greater focus on skills development.
- Teachers were well prepared.
- Technology is becoming more integral to learning with older students, with flipped learning, emails to students, video recommendations and other resources, integrated into lesson planning.
- The primary science lab is not suitable for work with a full class. There are health and safety issues to be addressed.
- In the Intermediate and Secondary classes, the culture was one of wanting to learn.
- The standard of spoken English is very high and most students, from an early age, can express themselves fluently in increasingly complex language.
There are, in the body of the report, many more observations of school life and of teaching and learning. These are almost without exception of a positive nature and reflect great improvements in the school which have taken place in the past three years, all of which is very heartening.
The following areas were identified for initiation, development and improvement:
- To revive work on differentiation, especially in the Primary School.
- To consider how the work of Teaching Assistants can support learning in the Infants and Primary classes, especially for students who find learning more challenging.
- To review the use of space across the school in light of emerging needs and, in the Upper School, to provide a suitable learning environment.
- To continue to support staff development and inclusion.
- To consider the appointment of an Academic Coordinator to support progression from Infants into Primary and Intermediate, especially in terms of the Cambridge Curriculum.
- To develop a formulised method of target setting and tracking of progress for individual students.
The report overall is very pleasing and is a great credit to our hard working and committed teaching staff at all levels in the school.
Undoubtedly there is much still to be done and improved upon but much progress has been made too, particularly in teaching and learning and in the provision of pastoral care. Teachers should be particularly complimented for their dedication and hard work.