Although Burnside Primary School in Cramlington, South East Northumberland, currently has a ‘Good’ Ofsted mark, it is not resting on its laurels and has taken the conscious decision to invest further for future success as it integrates a new senior leadership team under head Jane Ramsay, while simultaneously ensuring it maintains the high standards of teaching provision and performance standards that mark it out as one of the best primary schools in Cramlington.
One of Ramsay’s ambitions is to make sure her senior management team is up to speed quickly with the school’s management and operational running through more active engagement in the process of self-evaluation and development planning. She also has to reconcile this with increasing Ofsted expectations of the governors, who are naturally keen to ensure the school continues to succeed and meet the needs of pupils and parents.
To achieve this, there is now a greater demand for the improved sharing and management of important documents and information around the school and among the board of governors. But this presents a challenge in itself, as Ramsay explains: “The senior management team and others need to be able to have access to lots of data and information, so there’s now more demand than ever on the co-ordination and management of many Ofsted critical administrative tasks and functions.
“But from the position of a lay person this process can be both daunting and challenging, creating lots of emails and paper. So, to improve matters and give ourselves a head start to being ready for inspections, which take place at very short notice, we have implemented the Mesma improvement planning software school-wide.”
Using the Mesma online tool has proven particularly beneficial for the board of governors, giving them immediate access to key information required to fulfil their duties in overseeing the strategic direction and performance of the school.
She says: “Mesma is an adaptable, versatile and cost effective web-based resource, which enables us to quickly and easily set-up our own accounts and allocate important areas of the self-assessment report and improvement plan to authorised people within the school.”
A key feature of the software is its intuitive properties: head teachers can incorporate their guidance notes to allow other members of staff to add and store their own information to ensure all relevant documentation is up-to-date and readily accessible during inspection. The system allows the user to devolve responsibility for self-assessment contributions, saving time while enabling them to retain overall control of the process and view information, which can be accessed at the touch of a button.
School improvement plans can be better managed and completed utilising the advanced, easy-to-use tool and features incorporated within the software before being linked to self-assessment reports for improved overall system control and monitoring. Ofsted reports, policy documents, quality assurance processes and guidelines and other important documentation can all be stored on line in one place within Mesma for quick and convenient access and reference from any location. The system can also monitor activities allocated to other staff to track progress and completion.
Ramsay adds: “Mesma is a key strategic tool that how has allowed us to create a central resource of information for governors; minutes of meetings, research, recommended reading, school performance data that can be accessed at any time from a simple to use, secure platform.
“It also provides greater visibility for governors of the activity that sits within the school development plan allowing us to focus energy on discussing and challenging content with the head.
“Here at Burnside, we firmly believe that we are in the vanguard of changing the way primary schools can embrace technology and exploit the potential of education provision through new technologies.