Head’s Blog – Pupils Consistently Exceed Expectations

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people”
Chinese proverb

It seems appropriate as many celebrate the Lunar New Year, to reflect upon a Chinese proverb. I have written recently about our approach to character education; last week Mr O’Connell shared Heywood’s outstanding achievements in STEM, netball and athletics. The Heywood experience is undeniably broad and ambitious but above all, exciting. Days are spent in the warm environment of our listed buildings and grounds, the kindness and happiness of the children apparent to all who visit. Curiosity flows throughout the classrooms and, importantly, laughter resounds in the corridors.

I would never wish to devalue all of this, but it is simply the icing on the cake. At the core of Heywood is a fierce determination to ensure that each of our pupils fulfils their academic potential. As an academically non-selective school, our intake is broad and our classrooms welcome a range of children: those who are academically exceptional, through to those whose intelligence is not accurately measured through traditional testing. Our role as a school is to nurture and develop those young minds, to provide a ‘greenhouse’ that not only ensures they grow and develop in line with expectation, but that they exceed that expectation, maximising their potential.

Progress in our classrooms is measured against the national average. Whilst not shackled to the constraints of SATS examinations, it is still vitally important to us that our standards of teaching and learning are measurable against children nationally, to ensure our standards remain high. We use GL Assessment progress tests to track pupils’ progress over time, the results of these tests having been trialled with large nationally representative samples. We are able to compare pupils meaningfully with others nationally, and benchmark our standards of teaching and learning against the national average.

Tests produce standardised age scores (SAS) and the national average of these is 100. If a pupil achieved a maths SAS score of 100 in Year 2 and then 12 months later in Year 3 scored 100, they will have made progress in line with the national average. This would result in a horizontal trend line in the graph below, whereas Heywood’s data shows a steep upward line. At Heywood, we are hugely proud of our value-added data. Adding value to a pupil’s profile means ensuring progress is made beyond the national average. We consistently and proudly exceed progress compared to the national average and our success is highlighted in the graphs below, showing positive trend lines over a number of years and illustrating that a Heywood education pushes children beyond nationally expected attainment levels.

Our current Year 6 pupils’ journey through their time at Heywood Prep illustrates that their Heywood education has been fundamental to these children progressing at a faster rate than the national average, standing them in excellent stead for their senior school applications. It is important to note that periods of remote learning during national school closures have not negatively impacted the children’s above-average progress, due to the success of the ‘Heywood at Home’ programme of home learning.

We are educating these children for a lifetime – their lifetime. They will be equipped with the skills, experiences and character needed to empower them. All of this will rest on the most secure of academic foundations that ensure they exceed expectations nationally. Truly the icing on the cake.

Rebecca Mitchel, Headmistress