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Private School

Inspection Report

Abu Dhabi Island International School

Academic Year 2015 2016

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Abu Dhabi Island International School

Inspection Date May 9, 2016 to May 12, 2016

Date of previous inspection May 18, 2014 to May 20, 2014
General Information Students

Total number of
School ID 239 344

Opening year of Number of children

2013 98
school in KG
Primary 209
Number of students
Principal Brendan Aspell Middle: 37
in other phases
High: 0
3 years 8 months to 12
School telephone +971 (0) 3 722 7666 Age range

Grades or Year
School Address Al Towayya, Al Ain KG1 - Grade 8

Official email (ADEC) adisland.pvt@adec.ac.ae Gender Mixed

% of Emirati
School website www.adiips.com.ac 83%
1. Jordanian: 5%
Fee ranges (per Low to Medium: Largest nationality
2. Syrian: 3%
annum) AED 15,000 AED 23,100 groups (%)
3. Omani: 2%
Licensed Curriculum Staff

Main Curriculum American Number of teachers 28

Number of teaching
Other Curriculum --------- 4
assistants (TAs)
External Exams/ Teacher-student KG/ FS 1:20
Standardised tests ratio Other phases 1:18

Accreditation --------- Teacher turnover 50%

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Inspection activities
Number of inspectors 3

Number of inspection days 4

Number of lessons observed 72

Number of joint lesson 11

Number of parents
28; (return rate: 8.1%)
Meetings with staff with specific responsibilities, the
Details of other inspection proprietor, parents, students and teachers; scrutiny of
activities students written work in key subjects; review of
schools policies, planning and other documents.


To provide its community with high quality education

in a safe and secure environment, espousing equal
School Aims opportunities for all, tolerance, respect for differences
and the promotion of national identity.

Graduating devoted, lifelong learners who cherish the

School vision and mission interests of their societies and embrace their cultural
identity yet are flexible and open to world cultures.

Students are admitted after an interview. Older

Admission Policy
students sit tests in English, Arabic and mathematics.

The owner of the school is also the chair of governors.

Leadership structure
The senior leadership team consists of the principal
(ownership, governance and
and vice principal, that is supported by six faculty

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SEN Details (Refer to ADEC SEN Policy and Procedures)
Number of students
Number of other students
SEN Category identified through external
identified by the school

Intellectual disability 0 0

Specific Learning Disability 0 0

Emotional and Behaviour

2 0
Disorders (ED/ BD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder
1 0
Speech and Language
0 0
Physical and health related
15 0

Visually impaired 0 0

Hearing impaired 0 0

Multiple disabilities 0 0

G&T Details (Refer to ADEC SEN Policy and Procedures)

Number of students
G&T Category

Intellectual ability

Subject-specific aptitude (e.g. in science, mathematics,


Social maturity and leadership 1

Mechanical/ technical/ technological ingenuity 1

Visual and performing arts (e.g. art, theatre, recitation) 1

Psychomotor ability (e.g. dance or sport) 1

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The overall performance of the school
Inspectors considered the school in relation to 3 performance categories

Band A High performing (Outstanding, Very Good or Good)

Band B Satisfactory (Acceptable)

Band C In need of significant improvement (Weak or Very Weak)

School was judged to be: BAND (B) Acceptable

Band C
Band A Band B
In need of significant
High Performing Satisfactory


Very Weak
Very Good


Performance Standards

Performance Standard 1:

Students achievement

Performance Standard 2:
Students personal and
social development, and
their innovation skills

Performance Standard 3:
Teaching and assessment

Performance Standard 4:

Performance Standard 5:
The protection, care,
guidance and support of

Performance Standard 6:
Leadership and

Summary Evaluation:
The schools overall

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The Performance of the School
Evaluation of the schools overall performance
The overall performance of the school is acceptable. The school has trebled in size
since opening three years ago and the current principal is new in post. The senior
leadership team (SLT) have a good understanding of the schools strengths and
areas for development and the school self-evaluation plan is mainly accurate. The
school development plan is detailed and broadly matches the requirements for
further school improvement. The most significant aims are related to some of the
recommendations made in the previous inspection report.
The staff are caring of the students and relations are positive. The school has
improved attendance significantly. Students enjoy coming to school and have
positive attitudes to learning. Their behaviour is managed well, particularly in
lessons when the quality of teaching is acceptable or better. There is some
inconsistency in the quality of teaching across the school.
Children enter the school speaking little or no English. On entry to the
kindergarten (KG), their basic skills are assessed and the large majority make
expected progress in these as they proceed through the school. In primary and
middle phases, internal assessments are undertaken at regular intervals during
the school year. Students class work is not marked regularly and the quality of
marking is variable. The school has broadened the curriculum and a period a week
is allocated to extracurricular activities. Students are safe at the school. The
school started the current academic year with ten teachers short of the full
staffing complement.
Progress made since last inspection and capacity to improve
Overall, progress made since the last inspection is acceptable. Subject leaders in
English, Arabic and science have recently been appointed. The approach to school
self-evaluation and improvement planning is now inclusive. There is a whole
school approach to lesson planning. These plans usually include differentiated
learning activities but these are often not used or applied during the lessons. The
principal has implemented performance management and teachers are now
assessed against specific competencies. Accommodation has improved: a shaded
area has been provided on the playing field and there is a play-based learning
room in the KG; specialist accommodation has been developed for physical
education (PE) and music. The accommodation for physical education (PE),
however, is too small and the school is finding it difficult to recruit a music
teacher. The school does not currently administer externally moderated or
standardised tests to measure attainment or progress; this was a
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recommendation at the previous inspection. The schools senior leadership team
(SLT) demonstrates an acceptable capacity to improve the school further.
Development and promotion of innovation skills
Opportunities for students to develop their innovation skills have improved and
are integrated into mathematics, information and communications technology
(ICT) and some science lessons. In mathematics, students are encouraged to
develop their own projects; for example, on money or linear equations. In science,
students in the middle school have created 3D models of a DNA molecule, the
reproductive organs of a flower and an anemometer to measure wind speed.
Students undertake entrepreneurial actions such as a fundraising event for The
Red Crescent. There is an interesting weekly programme of extracurricular events,
which include chess, cookery, ICT, recycling, art and games. Mathematics and
science clubs are held weekly, and although membership is small, students are
able to extend their knowledge and understanding of these areas of the
curriculum. Students demonstrate that they can think critically, solve problems
and work creatively but there are insufficient opportunities during the lessons for
them to practise these skills.

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The inspection identified the following as key areas of strength:
a clear sense of purpose and commitment to school improvement by
senior leaders
students enthusiasm and positive work ethic
students responsible and positive behaviours
students attendance which is 98%
student-teacher relationships which are warm and caring
students respect for the culture and heritage of the UAE.

The inspection identified the following as key areas for

management of staff recruitment processes and the impact that turnover
of staff has on continuity and school improvement
developing the role of subject leaders so that they are able to support and
challenge teachers more effectively
raising the levels of attainment and progress and increasing the level of
challenge for all students
consistency in the quality of teaching so that fewer lessons are weak and
more lessons are good or better
assessing students work so that it is regular, provides feedback and
informs lesson planning
providing high quality standardised tests that enable teachers to track
students attainment and progress more effectively.

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Performance Standard 1: Students Achievement

Students achievement Indicators KG Primary Middle High

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Progress Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Weak

(as a First Language)
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Weak

Arabic Attainment N/A N/A N/A

(as a Second
Language) Progress N/A N/A N/A

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Social Studies
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Progress Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Progress Acceptable Acceptable Good

Attainment Acceptable Weak Acceptable

Progress Acceptable Weak Good

Language of
instruction (if other Attainment N/A N/A N/A
than English and
Arabic as First Progress N/A N/A N/A

Other subjects Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

(Art, Music, PE)

Progress Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Learning Skills
(including innovation, creativity, critical
Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable
thinking, communication, problem-
solving and collaboration)

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Students achievement is acceptable overall. Attainment in grades from KG to the
middle school is broadly in line with age related expectations and progress is
acceptable overall; there are weaknesses in science in the primary grades and Arabic
in the middle school.
In Islamic Education, children in KG make acceptable progress in developing a good
understanding of Islamic values in their daily life. Their knowledge and
understanding is in line with curriculum expectations for their age. In Arabic,
children make expected progress in relation to the learning objectives aligned with
MoE curriculum standards. They gain confidence in identifying letters and their
sounds. In KG2, most students are able to identify the letter given and its sound;
most are able to give three words that begin with the letter. In social studies, most
students in KG2 show acceptable attainment against expectations and make steady
progress in their knowledge and understanding. They are, for example, able to
identify the mosque of Sheikh Zayed and describe adequately what Muslims do at
the mosque.
Children enter the KG with little or no English and weak numeracy skills. By the time
they leave KG2, the large majority demonstrate acceptable skills in speaking English
and can use simple sentences and phrases. The majority can read simple words.
Most children acquire numeracy skills at an acceptable pace. By the time children
leave KG2, they have developed basic counting skills and can recognize patterns.
Children make acceptable progress in Arabic medium subjects. Children are assessed
on their conversational, participatory and physical skills in line with the American
core curriculum. Most develop an acceptable level of skills in these areas.
Throughout the rest of the school in Grades 1 to 8, Students attainment in Islamic
Education is acceptable. By Grade 3, most are able to recite Al Bayyena verses and
explain the vocabulary adequately. Grade 4 students can read the verses of Al
Inshiqaq with correct intonation. In the primary stage, the majority of students can
reflect on Islamic values in their daily lives and on their behaviour.
Most students make acceptable progress in social studies. By Grade 8, their
knowledge of the features of the UAE is secure. Most students, for example, have
an adequate knowledge of the different types of farming in the UAE. All students
demonstrate a respect for their heritage and the culture of the UAE, both in lessons,
and during school life.
In Arabic, the attainment of most students is in line with Ministry of Education (MoE)
curriculum standards and their progress is acceptable. Girls make better progress
than boys in Grades 1 to 5. Most students in Grade 4 are able to write three
sentences about what they do in their leisure time and in Grade 5, most students are

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able to narrate the events in a story with confidence. Attainment and progress in the
middle school are weak. In Grade 7 most students are unable to write a coherent
descriptive paragraph. More-able students do not make sufficient progress. This is
due to a lack of challenge, learning activities, which are not well matched to their
needs and more challenging work to support their development in critical thinking
skills. Lower ability students do not make sufficient progress because some of the
teaching does not cater for their different learning styles; there are too few
opportunities for them to think for themselves and gain confidence by applying
what they know to practical tasks.
Students attainment in English is acceptable in all sections of the school. By Grade 3,
the majority of students communicate effectively and by Grade 6 students are able
to read and comprehend age appropriate texts. Students in Grade 8 are able to
write using complex sentence structures. More-able students, and those finding
difficulty with learning English, are not making acceptable progress because their
learning needs are not being met consistently.
Students make acceptable progress in mathematics in the primary grades. In Grade 2
for example, students are able to identify the equipment used to measure length
and most can measure physical objects with appropriate accuracy. Grade 5 boys can
competently estimate quotients of decimals using UAE dirhams and cents. They
develop proficiency in problem solving and can manipulate fractions and decimals.
Progress is good in the middle school. By Grade 8, students are making good
progress and most have mastered algebraic equations. They are secure in their
understanding of rotations and can draw these in co-ordinate planes.
In the primary grades, progress in science is weak. Lessons lack systematic strategies
to build on students prior knowledge or extend thinking. There are few
opportunities for students to engage in practical investigative activities. Students in
Grades 5 to 8 make good progress in science. They widen their knowledge of
scientific vocabulary and their understanding of scientific concepts. They undertake
investigative work and develop their critical thinking skills.
Students make good progress in their technological skills using ICT. They are
particularly interested and skilled in using a computer programme to create dialogue
and stories using cartoon figures and backgrounds. Progress in art and gymnastics is
acceptable. The extracurricular period enables students to extend their physical,
problem solving, creative and critical thinking skills. The progress made by students
with special educational needs (SEN) as well as those who learn at a faster pace than
their peers is inhibited by the lack of high quality intervention strategies to support
Students are developing acceptable learning skills. Most are eager and enthusiastic
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learners particularly in the middle school. Lessons are sometimes over-directed and
students are not given sufficient opportunities to reflect on the quality of their
learning. This limits students responsibility for their own learning. They collaborate
well and communicate confidently. Learning activities in a minority of lessons
support students to make a connection between the learning and their living
environments. Insufficient resources, particularly books and technological
resources, in the classroom limit research and critical thinking.

Performance Standard 2: Students personal and social development,

and their innovation skills

Students personal and social

development, and their innovation skills KG Primary Middle High

Personal development Good Good Good

Understanding of Islamic values and

Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable
awareness of Emirati and world cultures

Social responsibility and innovation skills Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Students personal and social development, and their innovation skills are
acceptable. Most students enjoy school and are enthusiastic learners; they like their
teachers and respond well to them. Most students usually engage actively in their
learning and are developing self-reliance. The large majority of students are well
behaved during lessons but this depends on the quality of the teaching.
Inappropriate behaviour is rare but can occur occasionally when students are not
sufficiently engaged in their learning. The majority of teachers use the schools
incentive and reward system effectively and this provides students with motivation
to follow school rules and work hard. Students have positive relationships with each
other and are usually respectful towards adults. They are encouraged to share
concerns with the newly appointed social worker through a communication box.
Their concerns are addressed consistently and effectively.
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of safe and healthy living, which is
seen in the choices students make; for example, during the snack time in KG. Wise
snack choices are not so evident by students in the middle school. Attendance has
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improved significantly and is currently outstanding at 98%.
Students demonstrate an acceptable understanding of Islamic values but only a
basic awareness of other cultures. The national heritage is emphasised during
assemblies and Heritage Day and the students council actively contributed to the
creation of the Heritage Village which is placed in the school entrance. The school
celebrates national and religious days such as Al Adha day They sing the national
anthem enthusiastically during assemblies.
Students are aware of their responsibilities within the school community.
Opportunities to take responsibility within the classroom or the school are limited.
There are no established links with the local community and few students are active
volunteers. A few students help their teacher during the lessons. There are limited
opportunities to engage in environmental activities such as recycling although a
large minority took part in the Recycling Day. Project work is undertaken by students
in mathematics and in the higher grades in science but they often rely on the
teachers to direct the learning objectives and are not confident in initiating plans
based on their own ideas.

Performance Standard 3: Teaching and Assessment

Teaching and Assessment Indicators KG Primary Middle High

Teaching for effective learning Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Assessment Weak Weak Weak

The quality of teaching and assessment is acceptable overall. Most teachers have
secure subject and pedagogical knowledge. In science, students attainment and
progress in the primary stage are hampered by teachers lack of knowledge of the
subject and how best to teach it. The majority of lessons are planned according to
school requirements though teachers do not always adhere to these plans and the
management of time is occasionally a challenge. Students interact well with their
teachers in most lessons. They express themselves confidently and this creates a
positive learning environment within the classroom.
The best lessons in the school are characterised by teachers effective use of
questioning to monitor their students knowledge and understanding. However, this
is not a consistent feature of all teaching. In a minority of lessons, students call out
answers all together and this uncoordinated response to questioning impacts on the
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continuity of learning. Where the quality of teaching is good, teachers develop their
students critical thinking, problem solving, innovation and independent learning
skills. In the least effective lessons, low teacher expectations, slow pace and
insufficient challenge limit students progress significantly. These weaknesses have
a notable impact on students achievement in Arabic in the middle school grades. All
classrooms are equipped with an interactive whiteboard and a computer but there
is little use of these facilities by the students.
Strategies for matching work to the needs of different ability groups are
incorporated into most lesson plans. These are not acted upon in the majority of
classes. Consequently, there is not enough challenge for more-able learners. In
addition, the provision of support for slower learners and those with SEN is
insufficient in most lessons.
Teachers use a variety of assessment procedures to measure students knowledge
and skills. Tests are aligned to American Core Curriculum Standards as defined by
the text book. There is no consistent approach used across subjects or grades.
Students are assessed termly using these internal tests and a variety of quizzes and
assignments. The school does not currently administer externally moderated or
standardised tests to measure attainment or progress. Students follow the MoE
curriculum in Arabic subjects and the school plans that students will take the
External Measurement of Student Assessment (EMSA) test in 2017. Performance
data, from the internally set assessments, is analysed by subject, year group and
gender. There is no evidence that this data is routinely used to inform lesson
The use of assessment for learning on a day-to-day basis is not embedded in
practice. Feedback is limited and children are often unaware of how to improve
their work. In weaker lessons, teachers do not regularly check that knowledge and
understanding is secure and thorough. As a result, teacher expectations and
students performance are not sufficiently aligned. There is little utilisation of
workbooks and the quality of marking in these books is variable. Few teachers
provide suggestions for improvement when making written comments and students
are not routinely involved in assessing their own work.

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Performance Standard 4: Curriculum

Curriculum Indicators KG Primary Middle High

Curriculum design and implementation Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Curriculum adaptation Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

The curriculum is acceptable overall. The curriculum framework has a clear rationale
and is aligned to the State of Ohio Common Core Curriculum Standards. The
curriculum content is broad and balanced and has the scope to meet the learning
needs of all students. It provides for students to acquire knowledge and develop
skills in a continuous and progressive way; it prepares students adequately for their
next steps in their education. Three heads of subject are newly appointed and this
has impacted on the continuity with which the school reviews and develops its
Curriculum provision in the KG is disadvantaged by the limited provision and space
for more creative activities, independent enquiry and their personal and social
development. Music is not offered. PE is provided but the indoor facilities are
cramped. An innovation room has been developed to showcase project work and
this has encouraged enterprise and creativity in the middle phase. Extracurricular
options are offered. These foster enthusiasm, aspiration and innovation. There are
plans to expand this provision further in response to students additional interests.
Students say that field trips are limited although they enjoyed the visit to a local
book fair. Students also report that they enjoy opportunities for horseback riding
and participating in the football championships. The school has made some useful
links between the content of subjects; for example, between science, English and
ICT. These links are focused on enabling students to access and develop the
vocabulary and concepts used in science textbooks.
Most teachers do not modify the curriculum to meet the needs of all groups of
children. The curriculum is not adapted to provide additional challenges for more-
able students. They frequently complete the same learning activities as other
students. For example, children in KG1 with good numeracy skills were restricted to
counting to 10. Provision for students with SEN, or who find learning difficult
because they cannot access the language, is limited.
The values and culture of the UAE are celebrated during assemblies and in the
Traditional Club where traditional games and music are played. Throughout the
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campus there are interesting displays about the history and culture of the UAE and
this is also celebrated with artefacts and photographic images. A traditional heritage
area is located in the grounds of the school.

Performance Standard 5: The protection, care, guidance and support

of students

The protection, care, guidance and

KG Primary Middle High
support of students Indicators

Health and safety, including

arrangements for child protection/ Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Care and support Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

The quality of protection, care, guidance and support is acceptable. The school has
adequate procedures for the safeguarding of students. It has recruited a significant
number of new staff. No bullying incidents have been recorded and the social
worker provides effective support for children on an individual basis when required.
Behaviour management is good and reinforced by effective systems which track
students behaviour during lessons and breaks.
The premises and facilities provide a generally safe and secure environment. Issues
concerning uneven tiles and a few window frames are in need of prompt attention.
Regular checks are made on electrical and fire-fighting equipment and fire drills are
conducted termly. School buses are regularly maintained. The buildings are
inspected monthly and maintenance records are up-to-date. School security
arrangements are robust. The school clinic is hygienic and well-equipped. The newly
appointed school nurse provides awareness sessions for primary classes on hygiene,
healthy eating, treatment for head lice and the avoidance of dehydration. Healthy
living is also highlighted in dedicated days for baking, shining teeth and salad
day. The nurse monitors individual students and those with SEN according to their
needs. The school does not have an elevator or a washroom for the disabled.
The school promotes safe and healthy lifestyles in PE lessons, awareness sessions
delivered by the school nurse and during specified activity days. Systems for
ensuring the attendance and punctuality of students are effective consequently
students attendance rates are outstanding.
The school ensures that SEN students feel safe and accepted at school. The staff
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provides care and encouragement. The provision of support for students with SEN is
not consistent. There is little academic support provided in the large majority of
lessons. The school does not have an adequate resource room to support the needs
of SEN students and their provision is currently overseen by the social worker. There
are few resources or interventions to support their requirements.
A small number of students with specific gifts or talents have been identified and
one has earned an international award. The needs of these and those of students
who learn at a quicker pace than their peers are not consistently met during lessons.

Performance Standard 6: Leadership and management

Leadership and management Indicators

The effectiveness of leadership Acceptable

Self-evaluation and improvement planning Acceptable

Partnerships with parents and the community Acceptable

Governance Acceptable

Management, staffing, facilities and resources Acceptable

The overall quality of leadership and management is acceptable. Senior leaders, new
in post, have quickly established a clear vision for the school, which is shared with
staff. They demonstrate an acceptable capacity to improve the school further. They
have an adequate knowledge and understanding of the American curriculum with
which to guide the developments needed in teaching. Some of the key
recommendations in the previous inspection report have not been fully addressed.
The current SLT are prioritising the strategies and systems required to address these
issues; for example, in implementing standardised assessment processes and
improving the consistency of the quality of teaching. Some key subject leaders have
recently been appointed and require support to develop their roles so that they can
assist and challenge the members of their team.
School self-evaluation and development planning are inclusive, realistic and address
the needs of the school. Senior and middle leaders are beginning to monitor the
quality of teaching on a regular basis but the rigour of this process is not always
consistent. Performance management has been initiated and teachers are assessed
against specific competencies. Each teacher has been allocated two targets based

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on their needs. These are reviewed termly.
Members of the Parents Council are involved in school development planning.
Parents say that communications between the school and home are good and they
are regularly informed about their childs attainment and progress. Academic
reports are issued termly and the school operates an open door policy for parents.
The school has few partnerships with local or national organisations.
The proprietor is supportive and visits the school regularly. He is the chair of the
Board of Trustees which meets termly. During these meetings, members are given
information about the schools performance. They approve the self-evaluation and
school development plans.
The school is well managed on a day-to-day basis. Throughout this academic year,
there have been significant staff changes; this has had an impact on the schools rate
of improvement, particularly in teaching quality. The school provides a pleasant
leaning environment. Resources are adequate although more books are required in
the KG and primary classrooms.

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What the school should do to improve further:
1. Develop effective strategies to manage teacher recruitment and address
the risks that the turnover of staff has on the continuity and speed of
school improvement as well as the quality of teaching.

2. Improve students overall achievement by:

i. raising teachers and students expectations
ii. providing greater challenge for more-able students
iii. providing more support and intervention work for those with
SEN or who are slower learners.

3. Improve assessment processes by:

i. initiating the use of externally standardised tests, which are
matched to the curriculum, to track students progress
ii. using the outcomes of assessment to set challenging learning
activities that are appropriate for the needs of all students
iii. marking students work regularly and providing guidance on how
to improve.

4. Develop the role of subject leaders so that they provide more support and
challenge for the teachers in their teams.

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