Marks Gate Junior School, Dagenham

 Marks Gate Junior School- the impact of SfA over 5 terms 

Written by Susan Burton, July 2018 

 The Challenges faced by the School 

 The challenging context of Marks Gate Junior School is highlighted by 49% of children qualifying for Pupil Premium. FSM (48.6%) and EAL (45.6%) are significantly higher than national averages. The school is three form entry. As with many Junior Schools, achieving expected pupil progress has traditionally been a challenge because actual attainment on entry has failed to consistently match that which has been recorded at the end of Key Stage 1. 

Between 2008 and 2014 Ofsted ratings were sequentially; Outstanding; Satisfactory; Requires Improvement; and Good. In 2016 only 55% of children met or exceeded the required standard in reading. The current Executive Head teacher, Jacqui Barnard, was appointed in September 2016. Ofsted inspected Marks Gate Infant School, of which Jacqui is also Executive HT, two weeks after she took up her post, and judged them to Require Improvement. Criticism of the Governing Body, responsible for both schools, resulted in a review of governance and a subsequently, a new Governing Body was appointed. 

 How the SfA Programme addresses these challenges 

 SfA was implemented across both the Infant and Junior Schools in January 2017. Grouping children by ability, with regular reassessment and regrouping enabled children to develop their reading skills and achieve accelerated progress. 

Accurate assessment is fundamental to SfA and is moderated by the close connection between children’s levels and the texts they read. As a result, discrepancies in attainment data of children when they transition from Infants to Juniors have been eliminated. In addition, the shared, consistent practice has resulted in children experiencing a much smoother transition when moving up to the Junior School. 

 Fig.1 

Key Stage 2 Sats Results for Reading in 2016 (before implementation of SfA) and following implementation in 2017 and 2018 

 In 2017, Year 6 teachers used the SfA Year 6 Revision Programme from January to prepare children for Sats and achieved a 9% increase in children achieving the expected level (despite an increase of 5 marks to achieve a pass). In 2018, after 5 terms of SfA, a further 9% of children achieved a pass. The percentage achieving Greater Depth increased by 20% from 2016 to 2018. 

 “The impact of implementing SfA across both schools is clearly evident in our data. In addition, engagement with high quality texts and the use of co-operative learning strategies heighten the enjoyment of these lessons and drive the learning forward.” 


 Jacqui Barnard, Executive Head teacher, Marks Gate Infant and Junior Schools 

1st July 2018

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