At Chelmsford County High School for Girls, we are committed to pursuing excellence in Teaching and Learning, and so, offering an outstanding experience for every one of our students. Our curriculum is ambitious, rich, and challenging and we are continually looking for ways in which we can deliver highly academic subject content in a research engaged, dynamic, and successful manner for all students.
We take a holistic view of education, which ensures that our Teaching and Learning strategies and our Pastoral support and services are closely linked to ensure that barriers to learning are challenged and overcome.
Developing Practice Through Research
We develop our Teaching and Learning practices through our own experience and reflections, as well as by engaging with academic research, on a local, national, and international level:
- Chelmsford Teaching School Alliance (CTSA)
- Billericay Teaching School Alliance (BTSA)
- Saffron Teaching Schools Hub (STSH)
- Prince’s Teaching Institute (PTI)
- National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE)
- Elevate Education
- International Coalition of Girls’ Schools (ICGS, based in the USA)
- ‘Advance Girls’ research projects
Working with leaders in educational research has allowed us to identify specific study skills and personal attributes that are beneficial for students at different stages of their secondary education. This insight has inspired a bespoke programme of Academic Enrichment and Resilience for our students starting in Year 7 and continuing through to Year 13.
The goal of this programme is to give each student the opportunity to develop, practice and build key academic and personal skills, which will benefit them throughout their school careers, as well as with their future ambitions.
Academic Enrichment and Resilience takes many different forms throughout curriculum and across our school. Student throughout their school journey engage with the work of Elevate Education, a company that provide guidance in relation to research-informed study skills and academic habits. In Key Stage 4 and 5, students have the opportunity to partake in the Higher Project Qualification (HPQ) and the Extended Project Qualification respectively. Through these courses, students are taught transferable academic and research skills, which can be applied not only in the chosen subjects, but also beyond in Higher Education.
As part of our Teaching and Learning practices, we track the attainment of all students using internal Teacher Assessment (TA) data, as well as using external data, for example, data provided by the Fischer Family Trust (FFT). This gives us insight into our students’ attainment and allows us to determine whether our students are on track to achieve their potential. Where we may identify a need for intervention, a holistic approach is taken in consultation with our Pastoral team, SENDCO, and Academic leaders.
Key Principles of Assessment and Feedback
Our vision is to have a key set of principles for cohesive marking across the school, inspiring all students and facilitating academic excellence, personalised feedback and individual support.
Please find below a summary of some ways that your daughter may receive feedback, including some of the assessment methods applied within the school setting.
Students can expect to have their work assessed in a variety of ways:
- Work may be assessed electronically or through marking of books and / or verbally, when beneficial to do so. Some lessons lend themselves more to discussion due to the nature of the subject.
- Teachers will make comments on literacy, using the school literacy codes, and students have a responsibility to respond to this feedback to move their learning forward.
- Upon completing summative assessments, students can expect to have dedicated time to reflect on their learning and discuss their own learning targets. Feedback may be given verbally either to a whole class or individually, written or online. It is expected that students should understand their strengths and areas for development after reflection and are able to articulate their own understanding. Students are responsible for ensuring they respond to feedback.
- Students may facilitate their learning across the curriculum by attending extra-curricular sessions, societies and the wider activities the school has to offer, as well as completing homework to the required standard in the time set.
- Students will have marked work relative to the number of lessons per fortnight. In a certain circumstance, it may not always be possible to mark within a specified timeframe and in this instance, this will be communicated to students.
- Teachers will use their professional judgement and experience to deliver feedback to students.
The CCHS Academic Excellence in Research Award
As part of our programme of academic enrichment, our Year 10 students are invited to participate in ‘The CCHS Academic Excellence in Research Award’.
Over the course of the academic year, students are given the opportunity to conduct a research project with a Social, Moral, Spiritual or Cultural focus. Guided by their course tutors, students plan their research, evaluate, analyse, and develop their project ready to present a final research piece at the end of the academic year. This course has been structured to allow students to develop critical thinking, time management, project management, as well as research and presentation skills.
We remain dedicated to offering all our students a caring environment in which they can learn and develop to their full potential. Each student is given access to our broad and rich curriculum and a range of teaching strategies are deployed to ensure the needs of our students are addressed. As outlined in our SEND information report, SEND needs are reviewed as a fundamental entitlement for our students.
Where appropriate, Pupil Premium Funding will be used to allow all students to access the same rich learning experience.
School Development Leaders
To help uphold the School’s vision and aims, we have created new roles for our senior middle leaders: School Development Leaders. The focus of these roles is to share the strategic development of the school through focusing on specific areas of the school and through leading professional development sessions aligned with our School Development Plan.
With a key focus on Teaching and Learning, the School Development Leaders take responsibility for developing the practise of colleagues and impacting on the educational progress for our students beyond their immediate departments.
The roles and responsibilities of School Development Leaders are outlined below:
- Mr J Harvey – Creativity (Arts Mark)
- Miss H Pocock – Excellence for All (SEND)
- Mr M Carter – Teaching Standards (Classroom Practice)
- Mr G Lodge – Learning Standards (Observations and Reviews)
- Mrs E Manning – Assessment for Learning
- Mr M Rowell – Data Literacy
Continuing Professional Development
Our CPD vision is ‘from teacher training to educational leadership – nurturing and inspiring the teachers and leaders of tomorrow through excellence in personalised training and development’.
To support our colleagues, we engage in professional development at all levels with whole staff training and department training, as well as reviewing the needs of each individual through our performance management process.
As with our approach to Teaching and Learning, we engage both in school and beyond CCHS to ensure that our CPD addresses our needs. Our well-established and distinguished partnership with the Prince’s Teaching Institute (PTI) has enabled us to share and develop the subject knowledge of teachers. We also actively participate in CPD offered through our partnerships with the International Coalition of Girls Schools (ICGS) and the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE). Colleagues also have access to an online learning platform called the National College, where they can access both subject specific and whole school CPD.
In school, we offer a number of professional development opportunities to support colleagues:
- The CCHS Leadership Development Programme: delivered by the Senior Leadership Team
- The New Starter Induction Programme: 6 sessions delivered by senior colleagues covering the key areas of school life
- Professional Studies Programme: run weekly throughout the year addressing topics to support our trainee teachers, with support staff colleagues also attending
We are committed to providing Initial Teacher Training (ITT) opportunities and welcome trainee teachers through different routes into teaching, based on their individual requirements.
We work with several training providers to ensure that training experiences suit the needs of individuals, and our school mentors engage with relevant professional development to ensure they provide excellent support and inspiration.
To support our Early Career Teachers (ECTs), we work with Saffron Teaching Schools Hub and the Education Development Trust.