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Whole School Letter – 05/06/2018

Dear Parents and Carers

It Is hard to believe that the end of the academic year is fast approaching. As usual, it has been a very busy term with many successes including a university visit for Year 10 students, athletics tournaments, Head Boy and Head Girl interviews, rugby tournaments, parents’ evening for Year 10 students and a 2 day training programme for our peer mentors. In addition, the national reading and numeracy tests have been completed by students in years 7, 8 and 9. Students in Year 11 are in the midst of their GCSE examinations and students in Year 12 and 13 are undertaking their AS and A level exams.

Progress with Estyn recommendations

After their inspection, you will be aware that Estyn gave the school five recommendations for improving our work. Following this we had to detail the strategies we intended to use to address these recommendations in a Post Inspection Action Plan. A copy of this plan is available on the school website. Estyn made a two day visit to the school during the last half term. They looked at our plan and met with staff, local authority representatives and governors to review the work we were undertaking to make improvements. Estyn were positive about our approach and the work being completed and have fully endorsed the plan.

I can confirm:

• Recommendation 1 was linked to improving our exam results and I can already let you know that GCSE results in 2018 will be much stronger than those achieved in 2017. Already, 57% of our Year 11 students have achieved A*-C grades in their GCSE English Language examinations. We have yet to receive the results of the GCSE English exams which are being taken as I write, but I can confirm that these results are already a 6% points improvement on the results we achieved last year and will increase further. In addition, 45% of Year 11 students have already achieved C+ grades in either the GCSE Mathematics or the GCSE Numeracy examination with 13 students achieving A*/A grades. Again, as students are currently sitting their GCSE exams, these results will improve even further.

• Recommendation 2 was linked to improving teaching and assessment. We have provided training for staff, making use of EAS resources and toolkits to support this aspect of our work. Teachers have also reviewed the schemes of work they are using for all courses at KS3 and KS4.

• Recommendation 3 was linked to the coordination of skills. We have provided staff with training and reviewed the provision for skills across the curriculum. We have set up staff working parties to strengthen the teaching of literacy, numeracy and digital competency. We have also looked at our transition projects involving our cluster primary schools to ensure progress is consistent from Year 6 into Year 7.

• Recommendation 4 was linked to improving our provision for students with additional learning needs (ALN). Following the appointment of our new Additional Learning Needs Coordinator at the start of the year, the Local Authority conducted a week long review of our provision for students with additional learning needs (ALN). They specifically looked at the changes that had been implemented since the Estyn inspection and the impact this work is having on meeting the needs of students with ALN. The outcomes of this review are again very positive.

• Recommendation 5 was linked to leadership and self-evaluation. Based on specific advice from Estyn about leadership, changes have been made to roles and responsibilities in school. We have also advertised new posts for Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators. Senior and middle leaders have also accessed training on using data and self-evaluation practices. In addition, there have been a number of changes to the governing body and the way they work. Governors are fully committed to ensuring that changes are made in school that will be long lasting and will ensure every learner can be successful at Newport High.

Estyn are due to make a longer visit in the next few months where they will look at the changes we have made in further detail. Following this visit I will arrange a parent meeting to ensure that everyone is kept up-to-date with Estyn’s feedback, our work and our progress.

Calendar

The Summer Term is a very busy time in school. Please find below an update of upcoming events:

29 June – Sports Day (weather permitting)
5 July – Year 6 parents transition evening
6 July – Year 5 and Year 6 pupils transition day
13 July – Sports Awards afternoon
20 July – End of summer term
16 August – A level and L3 results day
23 August – GCSE results day

Thank you, as always, for your continued support. I look forward to keeping you up-to-date with information about our progress and successes in an academic year where we are on target to achieve our best ever examination results.

Yours faithfully

Karyn Keane
Headteacher

Lucy Jackson
Chair of Governors