Westfield is a friendly, inclusive and highly ambitious school in the south-east of Sheffield, with direct links into one of the highest achieving Sixth Forms in the city.
We are on the cusp of achieving great things. Over the last year leadership has been under Chorus Education Trust – an inclusive and aspirational local Trust that is drawing on the very best teaching and learning across South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. The school officially joined the Trust on 1 December 2018. This has provided students at Westfield with priority access to Silverdale Sixth Form, where students have consistently achieved some of the best results in the city.
With solid foundations in place, a new Headteacher, Mr J Birkbeck, is working with staff to ensure that the Trust’s ethos of ‘Outstanding Achievement for All’ is at the core of all work at Westfield. The school has a strong tradition of inclusion, whilst aspiring for the very best education, opportunities and results possible for all students. This is a school where, if you have the passion, talent and commitment, you can make great progress. It is a happy school with supportive and willing staff, students and parents.
Our students show leadership, drive and commitment. Many take part in the Sheffield Cutlers' Scheme, with placements in local businesses. Others are Sports Leaders, volunteering across Westfield's feeder schools at sporting events, acting as positive role models to younger children.
Westfield has excellent facilities, particularly for sport – with a sports centre, indoor swimming pool and gym. The school is an 11-16 comprehensive with over 1,000 students on roll, located in the south-eastern suburbs of Sheffield. It sits within the centre of its catchment area and enjoys excellent, modern facilities.
What changes have been made?
Leadership and management
Ofsted recommended rapidly improving leadership and management by ensuring that:
- leaders raise their expectations of what pupils can and should achieve;
- leaders monitor the impact of teaching on pupils’ progress and learning more effectively, including for different groups of pupils across all subjects;
- subject leaders check rigorously the consistent application of school policies;
- senior leaders accurately evaluate all aspects of the school’s work and use this evaluation to develop an effective plan for improvement;
- senior leaders and governors plan effectively to diminish the differences in outcomes and attendance between disadvantaged pupils and those of other pupils nationally;
- governors hold leaders to account for the school’s performance robustly;
- an external review of the school's use of Pupil Premium should be undertaken.
Changes we have made:
- recruited a new Head of School with a primary focus on moving the school to a 'good', then 'outstanding' Ofsted judgement;
- restructured leadership team to ensure their roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and sharply focused on the school's improvement priorities;
- taken Head of Hall responsibilities out of leadership team, so that leadership team members can concentrate on strategic roles;
- restructured middle leadership to ensure there are clear lines of accountability and strong leadership;
- introduced a new target setting and assessment strategy that ensures each student has a target that challenges them to achieve well in excess of national expectation;
- introduced the ARKS ethos, to ensure aspiration and ambition are at the heart of all we do;
- introduced new policies for Teaching and Learning, Marking and Assessment, and Behaviour Management, with training for staff on how to apply them;
- revised the Quality Assurance system, to help ensure consistent and effective teaching and learning across the school;
- developed a strategy for tackling the differences in outcomes and attendance between disadvantaged students and those of other students nationally;
- reviewed the staff appraisal process to ensure it has rigour and SMART targets;
- reviewed the curriculum so that higher expectation of students is embedded with it;
- recruited some new staff to support subjects where progress is most needed;
- commissioned a review of governance, and put support in place for the Local Governing Body, and started a campaign to recruit some new governors;
- commissioned an external review of the use of Pupil Premium and integrated the recommendations into our action plan, which is being led by one of our Deputy Headteachers.
personal development, behaviour and welfare
Ofsted recommended improving pupil's behaviour and attitudes to learning by ensuring that:
- all adults consistently apply the school's behaviour policy and challenge any poor behaviour around the school site;
- teaching engages all groups of pupils so that they are motivated to participate and do well;
- pupils are punctual to lessons.
Changes we have made:
- behaviour expectations have been simplified and are reinforced regularly and clearly to students, in particularly through the ARKS ethos;
- a 'choice, chance, consequence' strategy has been introduced to support behaviour management in the classroom, with staff training in how it works;
- work is being undertaken to ensure that rewards for making the right choices are a meaningful incentive to students, and that the negative consequences of making poor choices are an immediate and effective disincentive to negative behaviours;
- new uniform protocols have been introduced and as a consequence uniform has improved and more students are wearing it with pride. There was an excellent level of engagement from students across all years when we consulted about the new logo and its impact on uniform, with their idea about hall-specific ties being implemented;
- a new Teaching and Learning policy has been introduced to ensure that all groups of students are engaged, so they are motiviated to participate and do well, and this has been supported by additional training for staff;
- a strategy has been developed to improve punctuality. The implementation of a next-day detentions as a sanction for students who arrive late to lessons has resulted in decreased incidences of lateness to school and lessons.
- the school's safeguarding protocols were recognised as being strong in the Ofsted report. In order to further improve safeguarding, we have recently completed the local authority safeguarding audit and developed an action plan of next steps;
- student participation has been high in our large range of sporting activities, as well as the expressive arts. Thirty Year 11 students have taken part in the Cutlers' Better Learners, Better Workers programme. One student has achieved an apprenticeship with the aerospace company with whom he was linked for this project. A further cohort of Year 10 students are currently following this programme.
Quality of teaching and achievement of students
Ofsted recommended improving the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in order to accelerate pupils’ progress in all subjects, by ensuring that:
- teachers apply leaders’ expectations for teaching and learning consistently;
- we raise teachers’ expectations of what pupils can achieve and that they provide pupils with appropriately challenging work, especially the most able pupils;
- pupils’ writing and oracy skills are developed more effectively across all subjects;
- good practice that is already available in the school is shared;
- there is effective intervention for boys, disadvantaged students and those with special education needs and/or disabilities so they can achieve well.
Changes we have made:
- created a new Teaching and Learning policy that says the basic expectation is that all lessons should be: well-planned around differentiated learning outcomes, and include differentiation to facilitate progress towards these outcomes; engaging; include modelling of work and learning/thinking processes; include opportunities to apply learning; appropriately challenging; include opportunities for assessment for learning;
- the Deputy Headteacher with responsibility for Closing the Gap is leading a review of target-setting to ensure that targets are suitably challenging and facilitate excellent progress.
- introduced 'Thinking Hard' activities to challenge students further. In addition to this, various out-of-class initiatives have been put in place to promote academic excellence, these include the English masterclasses led by colleagues from Silverdale, and the Level 2 Further Maths qualification that over fifty of our high-ability mathematicians in Year 11 have opted into. Results from mock exams suggest that the Level 2 Further Maths qualification has had a significant impact on the exam performance of high prior attaining students;
- established a policy of 'priority status' for Westfield students applying to Silverdale Sixth Form. This means that, as long as Westfield students meet the entry requirements, they will gain priority over any other external applicant for a Sixth Form place. Given that Silverdale Sixth Form is always heavily over-subscribed and last year achieved the best A-level results of all state providers in the city, this provides a great advantage to Westfield students, and seeks to raise aspirations of students in Key Stage 4. At present 25 Westfield students have applied and been given conditional offers to study at Silverdale;
- recruited a new Co-ordinator of Whole School Literacy, whose work will be central to our plan to accelerate the progress of disadvantaged students;
- provided staff with access to a range of professional learning through our strong links with the Sheffield Teaching School Alliance (Silverdale's Teaching School). This includes the Outstanding Teacher Programme, Middle Leadership Development Programme, NPQML, and in-school CPD in which colleagues have chosen to focus on how to accelerate the progress of boys/disadvantaged students/high prior attaining students;
- a SEND review is planned for this academic year in order to baseline the quality of provision and develop an action plan as necessary;
- made both differentiation and challenge core expectations within our Teaching and Learning policy, with supporting training;
What are the plans for the future?
We know that we need to keep improving the school and so further actions are planned. These will help embed the changes already made, as well as drive us further forwards.