Ysgol y Moelwyn, Gwynedd, identified the need to establish a robust tracking system and a specific follow-up intervention procedure in order to improve achievement. The school successfully implemented a new system, developed ways to support those children identified as requiring help and raised attainment levels.
Number of pupils: 332
Age range: 11 - 16 years
Date of Estyn inspection: February 2014
Context and background to sector-leading practice
Ysgol y Moelwyn is a naturally bilingual secondary school for pupils aged between 11 and 16. It is situated in Blaenau Ffestiniog in Gwynedd. There are 332 pupils on roll. There has been a small decrease in pupil numbers over the last three years.
Approximately 12% of pupils are eligible to free school meals, which is a reduction on the figures in recent years. Although the current figure is lower than the national figure, namely 17.7%, the Blaenau Ffestiniog area has been identified as an area with high levels of social deprivation.
Thirty-six per cent of pupils are on the school’s additional learning needs register and nearly 4% of pupils have a statement of special educational needs.
Eighty-two per cent come from Welsh-speaking homes. A very few pupils are from ethnic minority backgrounds, along with a few pupils who speak English as an additional language. A very small number of pupils are in the care of the local authority.
In light of the area’s deprivation, the school identified the need to establish robust tracking systems, along with a specific follow-up intervention procedure in order to ensure that all children succeed.
Nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice
The whole-school tracking system is based on a procedure of completing assessments in the following:
In all individual subjects, an assessment is completed on the following: grade target; progress towards the target; homework; effort; and behaviour.
The following assessments are completed at whole-school level:
- Whole-school indicator target, including 8 A*- G and 5A*- A
- Progress towards each of the above targets
- Reading in Welsh and English
- The level of a pupil’s support need
The school’s entire tracking system is based on these ten areas. All assessments are reviewed each term and shared with parents. The data is analysed concisely, ensuring that suitable action plans are produced and implemented in light of the analysis at school and departmental levels.
The support level assessment is a key part of the procedure. All pupils are assessed on a scale from one to four on the level of support that they require considering their maturity, support at home and motivation. The procedure therefore allows the school to target resources and support effectively to the most vulnerable pupils.
Another important element is the departmental tracking system in KS4, which feeds into the whole-school assessments. Spreadsheets are provided for key stage 4 courses, which analyse pupils’ achievement in different aspects of courses. These include formulae that convert raw marks to UMS marks, enabling individual teachers to see exactly which aspects of a course are the weakest and who exactly the borderline pupils are. These systems are dynamic and are reviewed continuously throughout the course. Within courses such as mathematics, performance in narrative/non-narrative questions is also identified.
The tracking system leads to an intervention programme for specific pupils and specific aspects of those pupils’ work.
Here are the intervention arrangements:
- The most important and most effective element by far is the high expectations from teachers, who insist that pupils succeed.
- Practical day-to-day support is provided by the Head of Year 11, particularly in co-ordinating different methods of support.
- A homework club is held four nights a week. Subject revision workshops are held, for example mathematics, English, music, once a week from 3.30 to 4.30pm. Most pupils in Year 11 stay after school on three nights.
- Some pupils are withdrawn from individual lessons and arrangements are made for them to work individually or in a small group under the guidance of an assistant or senior assistant. Good communication between the teacher and assistant is considered core to the success of this arrangement.
- Three mock examinations are conducted in Year 11 in some subjects, such as mathematics, in order to ensure the accuracy of tracking and target setting, and to maintain motivation. Parents are provided with information about targets between each examination. All results are converted to a grade and the number of marks needed to achieve the goal. A period of formal revision is held three weeks before each examination, which includes a revision checklist and a revision booklet to be completed and signed by parents each night.
- An assistant is provided in sets on the borderline of a C grade in core subjects.
- There is a system to agree formally with parents that a pupil will stay at the Homework Club, for example twice a week, and receive support from an assistant to work. This mainly occurs in KS3, as pupils in KS4 are used to the system.
- Two parents’ evenings are held in Years 9, 10 and 11, and this helps to maintain better contact with parents.
- Specific aspects of a GCSE course are targeted in light of WJEC’s ‘walled garden’ analysis.
- Parent workshops are conducted in order to improve awareness of pupils’ work and give parents a better opportunity to support their children’s work.
Impact on provision and learners’ standards
Results in KS4 are excellent. This was reflected in the school being placed second from the top of the banding category throughout Wales in 2012, and top of the banding category in 2013, gaining a score within 0.5 points of the highest score possible on the scale. Results based on quartiles are also excellent. In 2011, 30% of indicators placed in quartile 1. In 2012, 70% of indicators were in quartile 1. Also in 2013, 70% of indicators were in quartile 1, and mathematics and the level 1 threshold were also very marginally within quartile 1.
|Capped points score||2||1||1|
Progress in value added in KS2 - KS4 and KS3 – KS4: This aspect is excellent. The analysis confirms that progress in value added in KS3 – KS4 is within quartile 1 in all aspects. Also, all but one of the indicators show significant progress in value added (S). This progress in value added is excellent.
|Wider points score||1S 1S||1S 1S||1S 1S|
|Capped points score||1S 1S||1S 1S|
|Level 2 Threshold||1S 1S||1S 1S||1S 1S|
|Level 1 Threshold||1 1||1S 1S||1 1|
|CSI||1S 1S||1S 1S||1S 1S|
|Level 2 +||1S 1S||1S 1S||1S 1S|
|5 A* - C||1S 1S||1S 1S||1S 1S|
Attendance is excellent. Attendance rates have been in quartile 1 in four of the last five years, and have shown an annual increase almost every year.