Quality Assurance in our school is not bureaucratic. The Phase Leaders and their teams, alongside the Head of Distance Learning, the cross-phase coordinators and working groups, and the School Counsellor collect information that enables the Senior Management Team to make strategic decisions about quality.
There is a structure of Senior Management meetings throughout the school year at which questions of quality are always attended to. These questions are considered in hierarchical sequence:
- Health and Safety, with a review of incidents
- Happiness: engagement with learning
- Are the children happy, safe and supported?
- Are there gaps in provision?
- Functioning of community meetings
- Is the Community functioning well?
- Do the institutions of self-government work?
- Use of facilities: physical resources; online resources
- Do children initiate projects?
- Do they use activity rooms?
- Do the online portfolios work?
- Academic results
- Does the Tracking Mechanism show the level of children’s attainment in core competencies?
- Is it acceptable?
Our system of Quality Assurance arises directly from the experience of the children. As you can see from the hierarchical list, health, safety, engagement, community and happiness are essential measures of quality at MBAT. We do not think that because Attendance and Test Results are easily measurable, they should underpin our school strategy. We are attentive to our higher values- community, compassion and dialogue. In meetings issues of quality arise in natural dialogue: there are transparent channels of communication to the SMT and the Principal.
We do not systematically test solely in order to make statistical surveys: we use the Tracking Mechanism to guide our daily practice. Testing and formal information-gathering are not a normal part of everyday good practice in the school. When a member of staff perceives that there is an issue of quality, the SMT will start to gather evidence. For example, if reading is identified as an issue in Year 2, we may test to see whether the perception is accurate. Any changes in policy, procurement or hiring will always be made on the basis of evidence.
The use of testing and the Tracking Mechanism is explained in more detail in the Assessment Policy.
There is some evidence that is systematically recorded and is addressed in SMT Meetings:
- Statistics for attendance and punctuality
- Statistics for the use of the Online Learning Environment
- Statistics for take up of activities
- Statistics for engagement by parents
- Examination results.
- OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) may be used in Year 10-11
- Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in Year 9
- Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study (PIRLS) in year 5.
Teachers and Quality Assurance
Each phase has an assessment cycle, which is coordinated and led by the phase leader. There are weekly team meetings for information-sharing. When the Upper and Senior School become operational these meetings may call on subject coordinators from that phase. They may call on the cross-phase liaison staff from the phase above or below.
The teachers use the same hierarchical list of criteria as Senior Management. Every child has an online portfolio of work and progress in the Core subjects of the curriculum is recorded on his personal tracking sheet. The Phase leader uses this material to present information at the Senior Management meetings.
Teachers work in a collegiate atmosphere, planning work around the big themes that guide them.
Each Phase Leader has a formal minuted chat with every member of her team every term. The key questions are:
- What went well/badly?
- Do you need any training or support?
- Do you need any extra resources?
Evidence must be presented. This does not have to be grades or marks in tests, but it can’t just be talk. It can be projects or photos. Team leaders bring the results of these chats to the post-term SMT meetings.
After the end of each term the SMT meets to consider the following questions:
- Do you know what is happening at each level?
- Is there a continuous educational experience from 5-18?
- Are there gaps? Are any kids failing?
- Do the phases link up?
- Do staff need additional training to work effectively?
- Are policies in place? Do they need revising?
- Does the school need to invest in equipment or material?
Requests for resources and training are considered in the light of whole school planning. For example, individual teachers may find their personal need for IT training incorporated into a broader training program at school level. Requests for capital expenditure must go through this procedure. It is up to the Principal and Bursar to make sure that this is the case.
The SMT will produce an Action Plan to address deficits in quality. This Action Plan will be available to all Parents and Teachers and there will be a formal mechanism for recording comments and suggestions, either online or through the office. Any member of MBAT, including students, may make suggestions. Community meetings may discuss proposals for the Action Plan and present them formally to the school.
Teacher, parent and student satisfaction surveys
School and parents create a relationship that is engaged, with fluid dialogue and mutual respect. The school may devise satisfaction surveys either for specific components of its program or more generally. Parents may be involved in the creation of these surveys. SMT has an obligation to respond to the results of surveys to the stakeholders either through a formal meeting or in writing.
Student interviews will frankly consider the quality of the teaching and improvements needed year on year for the School Action Plan.
The surveys and interviews are undertaken following the core principles of community, dialogue and compassion.