Gold Star Federation
The Federation of The Orion and Goldbeaters Primary Schools. The â€śGold Star Federationâ€ť.
Jan 2004 â€“ Orion 6th in England for value added, made rapid improvement from previous failing schools in 1999. Goldbeaters identified by Barnet LEA as having serious concern. Head teacher took early retirement. Chris Flathers Head of Orion temporiarly placed as Head of both schools.
June 2004 â€“ communities agreed to Federate with single shared Head. Federation named â€śGold Star Federationâ€ť. Achievement at Goldbeaters already showing a rise.
July 2005 â€“ Goldbeaters successfully achieves OFSTED satisfactory grade with good features and very good leadership. Orion again in top 1% of schools for value added. Goldbeaters results rise again.
Details of strategies and difference in provision so far:
Headteacher of both schools with enhanced leadership management teams in both schools. Head is not an â€śexecutiveâ€ť role as schools identify that children still need a â€śHeadteacherâ€ť. Presence in both schools each day organised.
Management – The 2 management teams are different due to the stage both schools are at. Orion has only one deputy (2 P/T) with more opportunity given to develop middle managers â€“ a bigger team of staff supporting the leadership of the school. One member of the team is a lead senior manager. This has enabled fast promotion of talented teachers. At Goldbeaters 2 deputies have distinctive roles in enabling raising achievement quickly with a traditional management team.
Teaching and learning Expertise (shared expertise) â€“ each member of staff has a link person across the school. Teachers are matched with their year group peers and co-ordinators matched in their subjects. In an effort to raise standards Orion supported Goldbeaters in resourcing, schemes of work and other guidance. Teachers have made observations of each other and worked together on a joint strategy of peer assessment systems for pupils. Goldbeaters provided a link to new initiatives ie briefed Orion staff on LEA national strategies, and modelled some eg. wave 3 maths and literacy. Teaching assisstants and all other staff matched with good effect eg. admissions of pupils in the area, a shared intake has begun to occur, parents are offered the choice of two good schools for their children. Site managers have shared expertise.
Communities â€“ the biggest difference a Federation makes is the development of a learning community for pupils. Once rival schools children are now close friends and this has impacted on the estate and locality. Every term classes meet for events and learning together. Recent examples are a book week for all children in both schools, and joint school council meetings, federation day out (900 children), joint school fair. There has been significant work in extra curriculum activity and opportunity such as The Gold Star girls football team, cricket coaching and music festivals. Children have gone to secondary school together so there is a bigger emphasis on Y6 joint work. The Governing body has really taken a huge interest in shared approach and development of both schools eg. policy setting is easier and quicker, there is a wider level of expertise.
To build on the brother/sister relationship already established by:
- Expanding shared expertise ie. Appoint a music teacher work across both schools when vacancies arise.
- Extend brief of management team with others working across both schools apart from HT.
- Find ways of moving children from site to site to enable better joint work (the walk takes up curriculum time) â€“ 2 minibuses essential.
- Bring together the parent communities again.
- Events off site for the whole of both schools.
- Lead more community work. The children now are role models for their parents in how they can socialise with another school community.