Highlees, Peterborough

Accelerated progress in Key Stage 1 achieved 9 weeks after implementing Roots

Written by Louise Pike (February 2018)

The Challenges faced by the School

Highlees school is a diverse inner‐city school in a disadvantaged area of Peterborough and experiences the challenges associated with high FSM, EAL and pupil mobility. Progress Scores in 2017 were:

  • Reading average (‐1.7)
  • Writing well below average (‐4.9)
  • Maths below average (‐1.6)
  • The percentage of pupils at the expected
    standard in Reading, Writing and Maths was
    38% (61% nationally)
  • Progress of disadvantaged pupils was below
    average or well below average across all
    subjects. This was a particular concern.

How the SfA Programme addressed these challenges

The school decided to implement SfA because they wanted to improve pupil outcomes whilst keeping children’s challenging social and emotional needs, and well‐being at the centre of their decision. SfA’s programme met these needs as it provides a consistent approach from Reception right through KS1 and KS2. The structured programme met the need for accelerated progress in reading and writing, whilst the Cooperative Learning Strategies ensured a consistent approach to behaviour management. The regular
assessment and regrouping following each cycle ensured that maximum progress was being achieved, which was of vital importance for the school.

The Impact of the SfA Programme

Highlees School implemented the SfA programme in September 2017. A particular focus during the first cycle was to ensure that Roots enabled children in KS1 to make significant progress. It was vital for Year 2 to
make accelerated progress in order to ensure they were on track for KS1 SATs. Grouping by reading age had the instant effect of ensuring that the pitch of the lesson was right for every child. In addition to this, the Cooperative Learning Strategies provided adults with explicit, consistent tools to encourage and reward positive behaviour displayed by
pupils. This led to increased pupil engagement and motivation, securing accelerated progress.


“When you walk around school during SfA it is so calm
and there is a real sense of learning taking place. The
children have responded so well to the structure and
are at their best during this time.”


J Stroud, Head Teacher, Highlees

Fig 1. shows the progress figures for Key Stage 1. Accelerated progress is clearly indicated by the actual number of weeks progress made and the percentage of expected progress.
Fig 1: Progress figures for Key Stage 1 at the end of Cycle 1, following implementation

1st February 2018

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