“We were looking for a system which ensured that staff and governors could be actively involved in the development of the school,” says Claire, head of William Barcroft Junior School in Cleethorpes.
“We wanted something that increased accountability and strengthened performance management processes – and went hand in hand with the staff’s desire to make a real difference,” she explains.
“We always strive to be transparent and gain trust, so I wanted a shared location for all the schools documents that was easily accessible to staff, regardless of where and when they were working
“Another important element was to make sure that school self evaluation was constantly informed by the great work being done throughout the school.”
“The impact of Bluewave has been huge to the progress of children in our school.
William Barcroft Junior School is located in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire. They have approximately 270 students on roll and have been using Bluewave.SWIFT since September 2010.
Increasing accountability and giving staff the power to make a real difference were two key drivers behind headteacher Claire Constantopoulos’ search for a new school improvement management system.
Bluewave.SWIFT School Edition was chosen because it answered all these needs, says Claire. “The online system helps schools link together and drive improvement processes including self-evaluation, school inspection reports, school development planning, professional development and performance appraisals. The system also helps schools keep ahead of ever-changing accountability and inspection requirements while saving time and cutting costs
Says Claire: “When the leadership team was led through the demonstration, we discussed the benefits of the system. It had to become an integral part of the way the school worked. This needed to be modelled by the senior leadership team. Bluewave.SWIFT needed to become an everyday word in school.
“It was also clear that as a speedily developing school the implementation needed to be planned carefully and the staff had to understand the benefits of learning a new way of working.”
When Bluewave.SWIFT went ‘live’ at William Barcroft the first action for Claire and her team was to build up the system as a resource bank by putting all documents into the resource area.
“We were very strict and it became a joke in the school. The response was always ‘That’s great, have you uploaded it to Bluewave?’”
Before Bluewave.SWIFT the school’s leadership team did all the SEF. Now school self evaluation and action planning is much more of a shared endeavour. “The staff are amazed that many of the pieces of evidence they have already put onto the system are crucial to informing self-evaluation and in turn action planning,”says Claire.
The next step was to move the performance management process into Bluewave. This has helped William Barcroft Junior School make significant strides in the way teachers conduct pupil assessment for learning.
“When we did a round of lesson observations a common thread that emerged was the need for assessment training as most of the staff were quite inexperienced in this area. This was flagged in performance management as an issue so we found some training which the staff completed,” explains Claire.
“In a recent round of lesson observations, Assessment For Learning has become good to outstanding throughout the school, from what was a very mixed picture.”
The Bluewave.SWIFT system means that Claire gets an instant picture of the school’s progress in any development area – and this helps her justify spending decisions.
“When I have done a round of lesson observations I go back to the lesson observation section of the Bluewave system which brings up all the data. I can explain to governors why I am spending so much money on school training.”
“I input straight into Bluewave.SWIFT during the lesson observation and then the teacher can see exactly what I have written straight after the lesson has finished.
“I can also shoot a video of the lesson and take pictures of materials such as lesson plans and attach them to the observation record.”
Claire is convinced that the Bluewave.SWIFT system is making a major contribution to the progress of children at William Barcroft.
“The impact of Bluewave has been huge to the progress of children in our school. The way in which staff and governors are interacting with the action plans and creating evidence means that they always keep the Ofsted criteria in mind and this has created many questions which of course leads to discussion and the team generating ideas. Our team feels empowered and valued. The easy access to all evidence has made us all feel more secure that we are working in the right direction.”