Castle Academy shares their school’s journey to improvement from being judged ‘Inadequate’ to becoming ‘Good’, and how their focus on putting coaching at the heart of everything has been instrumental in its progress and success.Infographic of coaching impact

Why were we drawn to OLEVI?

“Our relationship with OLEVI started in 2014. The school had just been judged ‘Inadequate’, and the school was in the process of converting to an academy. Initially, OLEVI facilitated a visioning day for the new leadership team, helping us to unpick and clarify the academy’s vision. From this a coaching relationship developed between the two organisations, with a focus on improvement in teaching and learning.

The professional development offered through the OLEVI Teaching & Learning, Leadership and Coaching suite of programmes gave all our staff members the opportunity to improve and grow their own practice, whilst uniting the team around a common understanding of what good looked like and how it could be achieved.

All staff were introduced to key models, such as the TLC model and DR ICE. Strong teachers engaged with the Outstanding Teacher Programme (OTP), with leaders receiving coaching. DR ICE became the shared language, not only used as a format for driving improvements but also judging impact and setting targets for individuals.

Opportunities were given for all teachers to complete regular ward rounds to develop an open and collaborative learning culture. Our strongest teachers then went on to become trained facilitators of the OLEVI teaching programmes, ensuring all staff members received continuously professional development around the key models from the programmes.

The OLEVI coaching approach has given the school the models and tools to continually drive improvement in teaching and learning. More importantly, it has created a growth mindset within the school which looks to embrace cultural change.

As our relationship has developed over the years, the shared vision of Castle and OLEVI has come to underpin the culture and ethos of our school, with all staff committed to their own self-development.

In 2018 we became an OLEVI Designated Centre of Excellence. An achievement of which we are very proud. We have opened our doors to other schools in order that we can share and learn from each other. The continuous challenge that this brings is welcomed by our staff and ensures that they maintain high expectations of themselves and their pupils.”

Proven impact

  • When the relationship started in 2014 the school had been judged Inadequate. When re-inspected in 2016 the school received a judgement of Good.
  • Results across the school have improved to be in line or better than national. EYFS has improved from 31% (2013), achieving a GLD to 75% (2018).
  • KS2 results improved from 47% combined (2014) to 73% (2018), with progress measures in the top 10%.
  • Disadvantaged pupils are broadly in line with or outperforming other pupils achieving the expected standard or above in their year groups.
  • The CPD and development opportunities are valued by our staff, with many of our Middle Leaders having been promoted from within the school. A number of our teachers were initially teaching assistants who were offered the chance to gain QTS through the culture of continuous improvement and development that is now embedded in the school. Applicants for positions are attracted by the opportunities on offer and the drive for excellence in our profession.

What value would you place on your relationship with OLEVI?

“The relationship creates long-term sustainable change and therefore the value should be measured against a different set of criteria.

“The change the relationship brings should be measured against long-term improvement in pupils’ education rather than a short-term intervention.

“As a school we would argue: ‘Are you so successful that you can afford not to consider an improved culture and ethos for your pupils?’”

“The relationship with OLEVI has been the single most effective tool in our school’s improvement journey. Whether you are looking for a short-term intervention or a package to develop the core principles of a Good school over a sustained period of time, OLEVI will have a solution. Our relationship with OLEVI continues to grow and is as important to us now as it ever has been. Whether you are a school in Category or a school looking for the next challenge, I cannot recommend them highly enough.”

Lorna Beard, Principal, Castle Academy

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