Houldsworth Valley Primary Academy, Suffolk

Houldsworth Valley Primary Academy: Accelerated Progress in all year groups in the first eight weeks of implementation

School Name: Houldsworth Valley Primary Academy
Local Authority: Suffolk (Unity Schools Partnership)
Location: Newmarket
Ofsted Rating: N/A (since academisation)
Pupils on roll: 298
Age Group: 4 – 11
FSM: 16%
Pupil Premium: 21%
EAL: 1.7%

The Challenges faced by the school

Houldsworth Valley Primary Academy is a two-form entry school with a majority of white British pupils. Over the last year they have made significant improvements.  After being placed in ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2015 the school faced the following challenges:

  • leadership and management required improvement
  • progress for all pupils was inadequate
  • teaching required improvement
  • inadequate curriculum

How the SfA Programme addressed these challenges

The newly appointed head introduced SfA as part of the academisation process through the Samuel Ward Trust. 

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 throughout KS1 and KS2. The structured programme met the need for accelerated progress in reading and writing, whilst the Co-operative 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

Houldsworth Valley first implemented SfA in September 2017. The school’s end of KS2 reading scores in 2017 were 46% at expected and by March 2018 this was assessed by the school as 63%.

Fig 1 shows the progress across all year groups for the first 8 weeks following implementation of SfA. This shows on average that children made 23.8 weeks of progress in 8 weeks, which is 297% of expected progress. Clear modelling of key reading skills enabled children to use and further develop pre-existing skills that they did not know how to use effectively.


Fig 1: Number of weeks of progress achieved in the first 8 weeks of implementation

SFA is the best thing! The impact on behaviour for learning has been brilliant.

Lisa Tweed, Head Teacher

SfA has had a huge impact on the levels of attainment here at Houldsworth Valley. The quality of the texts and the support offered has been excellent. I cannot wait to start our second year.

Iain Hunter, Deputy Head Teacher
5th March 2018

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