Quality Mark Case Study: Millthorpe School

Quality Mark Example

Hello, I'm Ruth Lingard, one of two curriculum leaders for history at Millthorpe School in York. Millthorpe is an average-sized secondary school with a below average proportion of students eligible for the pupil premium. Millthorpe includes an average number of students with special educational needs among its intake and most students are from a white British background. The school has close links with the wider community and we in the history department take part in this. Students at the school make good progress.

We have recently been visited for a history subject inspection and the findings of this also contribute to all of the key areas of the Quality Mark framework.

We really appreciated the rigour of the Quality Mark assessment and I think with new lighter touch Ofsted's and the breakdown of regional subject networks, the Quality Mark is going to fill a really useful professional development hole!

We hope you enjoy reading this case study of our experience along with a selection of examples taken from our full portfolio.

1. Teaching and Learning

Lesson observation and talking to students will bring this section into focus for your assessor. We tried to put things in our portfolio which we felt would replicate what would be seen in the classroom. Subject knowledge and engagement are particular strengths that we identify in lessons at Millthorpe. Below are examples of lesson observations and resources as well as a summary of our own internal observations.

We monitor the quality of teaching, learning and feedback and the progress of our students closely and ensure that we intervene appropriately where necessary.

2. Leadership

Leadership will vary depending on the size of your department. Leadership is not just managing people, or structures. Ask yourself what you are doing to lead history education in your school, your local area, and more widely.

At Millthorpe there are two curriculum leaders for history we keep this goal in mind continually and are working towards making greater links and taking a lead in history in our local community. Below is a sample of some of our thinking, discussion, planning and analysis. We plan a full calendar of departmental meetings in advance which helps creativity and professional development.

3. Curriculum

A good curriculum is one always in a state of development and flux. We continually reflect upon our curriculum and use what we learn through CPD, practice and student voice to influence our curriculum development. Our curriculum is inclusive and allows for local community links and for partnership enrichment work and this is something we are continuing to develop.

4. Achievement

We regard timely and individual conversations with learners about their progression as the gold standard. Student progress is carefully monitored as seen in section 1 of this case study. Results at GCSE are very strong and have been improving, following a three year positive trend and Predictions for 2014 are also promising. Progress and learning are strengths for us.

The achievement of our students goes hand in hand with the improvement of our department. Students who feel that they are listened to are more likely to be motivated to achieve. Partnership projects and learning through shared practice and experiences can be a wonderful catalyst and one that we hope to continue and extend at Millthorpe.

5. Enrichment

We want to share our passion and curiosity for History with all our students. We are working to build contacts that will provide enrichment opportunities for our students.

Final report

We have one or two suggestions to make improvements for the full roll out of the award. We would like to see the initial audit that participant schools carry out, match the QM framework more closely. This is when participant schools will need the greatest level of support in order to make sure that they have mapped their department against the criteria in order to see what they need to do to achieve the mark more clearly. At this point the school should have a clear idea of whether they are aiming for a silver or gold award. This would enable a more formative approach and allow the final assessment to become more of a dialogue.

Millthorpe School was assessed in October 2014. They were awarded a Silver Quality Mark. You can read their report below.

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