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What value added makes a department outstanding?

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by almostafish, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. almostafish

    almostafish New commenter

    I work in a school whose value added was -0.25 last year which was obviously disappointing. Over the year there were problems within the department (Staff leaving with stress, being asked to enter weaker students for double science (Starting the course in December of year 11) and my department achieved a value added of +0.25. In my performance management I have been told that the department isn't outstanding yet. How else would you ultimately judge the department? The marking scrutinies always return positive results, as do the learning walks and lesson observations.
  2. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Sounds like you've made a good start. Id suggest having a look at the Ofsted subject-specific criteria for your subject, to give you more ideas. There will be things including curriculum, participation, etc.
  3. CandysDog

    CandysDog Occasional commenter

    As muso2 says, rating a department is about much more than results. Even within results, everything is subjective. I know of a school whose results are in the top 50% of the country for progress but had its outcomes rated as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted because – apparently – students underachieve based on their starting points .

    Nevertheless, even if we go purely on results, most wouldn’t consider +0.25 as ‘outstanding’. To be considered ‘above average’ in Progress 8, a school needs a score of +0.25, which you just get. However, it is a long way off the +0.5 needed to be ‘well above average’. 12% of schools are ‘well above average’, with a further 18% being ‘above average’. Therefore, +0.25 puts you in the top 30% (or thereabouts – statistics are complicated!) of the country.

    However, only 22% of secondary schools are rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. This would indicate that your department’s results need to be higher to be considered ‘outstanding’. They don’t need to necessarily reach the ‘well above average’ score of +0.5, but do need to get closer.
  4. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    I hate those bloody ofsted judgement words. When you talk +0.25 are you talking GCSE VA, A level or is that your P8 figure? If it's P8 that's pretty good. How does it compare to the VA of other departments in your school? Perhaps that is why they are not considering you "outstanding" yet as well?

    As HoD for me it's about the team - knowledgable, interested in teaching, talking regularly about pedagogy, all pulling in the same direction, genuine care for the students and their results... whatever the eventual outcomes, that would be an outstanding department in my book and I'd fight (probably not physically!!) any senior person who told me otherwise.

    Personally I wouldn't get too hung up on it. If they rate you as outstanding they're not going to suddenly back off and stop setting anyone targets for improvement. Just keep telling your leadership everything brilliant you do every time you meet with them. They'll soon learn that whatever the outcomes you're doing everything you can.
  5. almostafish

    almostafish New commenter

    Thanks for the replies, very useful. Our GCSE value added for the school is -0.25 so within the context of the school I would have thought it would be outstanding, although that doesn't make it an outstanding department though. The department regularly runs interventions but is now running far more trips. Our A level value added was positive for all subjects. I guess it's just continuing to work hard and hope that the results continue to improve. Thanks for all of the responses.

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