A primary school in Wiltshire, placed in special measures in March this year, has started to make outstanding progress in the early years by working with Red Panda Learning. The school had gone through mixed fortunes and this led to Ofsted placing the school in special measures but within a short time with a new philosophy the school is making positive steps to be graded as good at its next inspection.
“At Key Stage 2 SATs the school improved by more than 100%”
The new philosophy focuses on providing clear next steps for all children. Teachers meet each child individually every 10 days and provide detailed feedback about what each will need to do to progress in each subject. This has led to remarkable improvements in results. At Key Stage 2 SATs the school improved by more than 100% this year.
The most notable improvement has been in the early years phase. This year the outcomes for the proportion of children reaching a good level of development have drastically improved and what is remarkable is it has happened in such a short period of time.
“Three months after being graded as inadequate by Ofsted nearly all children (88%) achieved a GLD”
Three months after being graded as inadequate by Ofsted nearly all children (88%) achieved a GLD. This rapid improvement, which is significantly above the nationally expected standard, is due to a new approach to teaching. The way we teach now is really helping children to make rapid progress. The EYFS lead who has been at the school for three years and has met with numerous advisers, explained that all the advisers gave different views about how to make improvements but none of these were effective in making significant improvements as the school ended up in special measures. However, now that the new way of teaching is being used, the EYFS have the confidence that the new curriculum will allow all children to make outstanding progress and she expects the school to maintain GLD which is better than the national expectations.
“What is making the difference? The new curriculum is Red Panda Learning”
What is making the difference? The new curriculum is Red Panda Learning developed by Beth Harris. It doesn’t use Development Matters but offers a different way of approaching children’s individual needs. Beth Harris explains that the curriculum is based on what children can and cannot do. It focuses on the child’s developmental stage rather than looking at their age. It is a curriculum designed for children from birth and links with the national curriculum through Key Stage 1.
“Our aim”, Beth says, “is for all children to reach a GLD”. She is passionate about stressing that given the right circumstances all children will make the progress necessary to meet all the ELGs.
“The skills and abilities children have on entry are embraced within the curriculum”
Children start school at different stages of development as they come from different backgrounds so will have a range of skills. Some have good communication and interact well; others may have limited communication skills and may not relate to other children but these children may have good physical skills, good technological understanding and knowledge of the world. Red Panda will use the knowledge and understanding that children have already acquired and used its curriculum to plan a learning route for all children to make the progress needed to reach each Early Learning Goal. The skills and abilities children have on entry are embraced within the curriculum.
In all schools which employ the Red Panda Learning philosophy, all are successful. In all schools, outcomes improve and moreover, each school’s Ofsted rating improves to at least good.