Hello! To introduce myself – I am Zara Peskett, Team Leader for Social Sciences at Shenley Brook End Secondary school in Milton Keynes. Shenley Brook End is a Whole Education school, and at the beginning of this academic year I had the opportunity to become our schools’ Whole Education champion, a role in the school whereby I help co-ordinate Whole Education projects and spread the Whole Education ethos among colleagues. This position gave me the opportunity to work further with a network of teachers on values driven education that aims to give children a Whole Education (it does what it says on the tin).
So I found myself on the Middle Leaders Programme with some like-minded people from different schools (they were lovely). The programme has two aims: 1. To consider leadership styles and skills in reflective sessions and 2. To carry out a project that furthers Whole Education values within school.
I settled on my project (action research if you like) – to introduce the Pupils Attitudes to Self and School (PASS) survey into school and to then consider the use of PASS data. The PASS survey is a way of measuring student’s attitudes to self and school in a standardised way with a national comparison (see the GL assessment website for further details – link to webpage).
The focus of the project was to identify students who have below average attitudes to self and school. Then to signpost / flag those students to various interventions within school (e.g. student services, Pupil Premium support, mentoring, Head of Year support). The aim was to improve student’s attitudes to self and school within a 6-month period. The first challenge, as silly as it sounds, was to get all of year 7 and 10 into a computer room to complete the survey. I found that once I had explained to staff what PASS actually is and the impact it would hopefully have, they were a lot more accommodating and having the support of our Team Leader for computing was key. Based on the survey we identified a cohort of 10 students who scored particularly low on the survey. I met with these students and looked at areas they had scored particularly low on. Based on our conversations, I then recommended them for interventions in school and alerted staff to their current views on self and school. For example, one year 7 student had scored particularly low on all the measures that are related to ‘self-regard as a learner’. Informed by this data and our follow up conversation, we were able to access our student services team for drop ins once a month and her form tutor recommended she could attend catch up sessions after school (she didn’t even know they were on!). Happily, I can report, that after supporting these students to access interventions within school, all 10 students PASS score improved when taking the survey for a second time. We are now starting to examine PASS data alongside traditional progress data, to give us a fuller picture of where students are and how they are progressing within school.
Now I am not saying my project was perfect! It wasn’t, but I feel I have done some good along the way, helped improve outcomes for students and learnt some things myself! The Whole Education Middle Leaders Programme is focussed throughout on developing a leadership style that is values led, I have really enjoyed this and my project has been a way of testing out my leadership skills and style in a practical way. When I reflect on my leadership journey I feel I have learnt that you have to be resilient when trying to introduce something ‘new’, be patient and keep talking with people and promoting your ideas. I feel that anything worth doing takes time and I am looking forward to embedding PASS within school further one teacher at a time – the project isn’t over!