Basic Skills Quality Mark Programme – Visit Feedback Report

School name

Yew Tree Community School


Shaukat Islam

School and/or

HT email

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel no

0121 464 2967

Alliance QM Assessor

Nigel Edge

Visit date


Purpose of


The Assessor spoke with the following people


Senior Leader/

deputy Head YES

Literacy Subject Leader YES

Numeracy Subject Leader YES

Assessment Manager





Pupil representatives YES

Governor representative(s) YES

Parent representative(s)YES


‘Learning Walk’ completed? YES

Relevant evidence-base reviewed? YES


The previous development points have been considered and are being implemented.


Suggested area for development in preparation for the next Quality Mark visit:

  • To continue with the high focus for reading for pleasure and improving pupils reading skills across the whole school.
  • To continue to share the schools strength in writing with other schools. (talk for writing)
  • To continue to embed the new curriculum and assessment process across the school

‘Good practice’ identified in relation to the 10 Elements of the Quality Mark:


There is a warm welcome from the moment you enter Yew Tree Primary School. You are met by quality displays sharing achievements and children’s writing as well as displays celebrating recent events. This is obviously an important aspect of teaching and learning at the School and valued by everyone. Everyone articulated their enthusiasm and appreciation for the school and felt valued as an individual. The staff, both teaching and non- teaching have developed excellent relationships with the pupils in their care and this was evident in the pupils’ attitude to those around them and their learning.The school has a consistent approach to writing across the school, with all year groups learning to write using the Talk for Writing process. In all of the classrooms there is evidence of Talk for Writing processes such as text maps, hand actions for connectives, “magpie” word banks and vocabulary books; alongside shared writing and box-it-up grids relevant to the genre being taught. The school is a training centre for Talk for Writing and supports a number of schools through its workshops.

The Head Teacher supported by the Wider Leadership Team provides strong leadership and has a clear, vision for the role the school plays in the education of the whole child. The passion and enthusiasm for the established philosophy is to be commended. The social, emotional and academic development of each individual pupil is an important focus. Everyone with whom I spoke commented on the positive ethos within the school and numerous comments were made about the friendly atmosphere and the exciting experience in all aspects of school life. The Management Teams vision is shared through the School Improvement Plan. There is a firm commitment to creating a caring environment, where individual needs are met. There was a range of different teaching styles, which were demonstrated as being very effective. They have maximised the learning opportunities and the impact of high quality feedback by reducing the size of all groups across the school. Targets are discussed with pupils and objectives for lessons are shared with them. Children were very clear of expectations and there was clear evidence of differentiation, they are encouraged to be involved in their next steps through both verbal and visual prompts. Pupils are involved in target setting and are well used to self-assessment using a variety of strategies. A positive marking system is in place to inform next steps. Teachers’ marking gives pupils a good idea about how well they are doing and how they can improve their work. Outcomes in 2014 at the end of KS2 show good progress in maths and outstanding progress in writing. Attainment in writing and spelling, punctuation and grammar is above average. Maths was in line with national standards. A significant proportion of the pupil premium is used to enable teaching groups to operate successfully in all year groups so that pupils identified for pupil premium will receive high quality feedback in smaller teaching groups. There is a focus on improving reading as last year’s year six cohort did not achieve as well as compared to national, this being addressed with a focus on comprehension skills, particularly inference and deduction.

Assessment is continuous and informs planning with a range of assessment strategies used as evident in the information provided. This data gives a picture of strengths and weakness for individuals and this information is used to inform future planning, learning and teaching.

Literacy and numeracy continue to be the main focus of the School Improvement Plan. There has been an investment in Reading. This has included Family Library visits on Monday afternoons, the introduction of Book corners in all classrooms and there is a reward culture for reading. The Wider Leadership Team is a strength of the school. Together they are valued team members, who work alongside their colleagues to share their skills and develop good and consistent practice across the school. The School is a very inclusive establishment. Throughout the visit there was clear evidence of some excellent inclusive practice. The inclusion agenda is wholeheartedly supported through an ethos of well-embedded values and there are good structures and systems in place to ensure an open dialogue with all stakeholders to continue to improve the experiences for all pupils. This is driven by the SENCO.

The parents commented highly on the relationships that the staff have with the children. They feel the school supports the family as well as the child. One parent commented that “Yew Tree is a healthy school for the mind as well as the body.”

Many strengths have been identified at this visit, including the following:

Element 1 - A whole school strategy and planning to improve performance in basic skills


  • The School Improvement Plan is a clear, precise and an informative document. It is thorough and detailed, including relevant data on attainment across the school.
  • Priorities in SIP are identified through a thorough evaluation of provision and standard.
  • The plan includes expectations regarding on pupil outcomes and is fully costed.
  • A Teaching and Learning policy linked to the Marking policy is in place and are reviewed and monitored regularly along with all policies and, more importantly, practice to ensure good learning.
  • Comprehensive assessment procedures with a good use of tracking systems.
  • Target setting at all levels.
  • Support programmes for underachieving children have clear impact.


Element 2 - An analysis of the assessment of pupil performance in basic skills


  • There is a range of assessment strategies used across the school.
  • There is a moderation programme to verify teacher assessment.
  • The analysis and comparison of teacher assessment and test results assists the school in monitoring the learning across the school.
  • A thorough and detailed tracking system is in place, supporting pupil progress throughout the school.
  • Assessments are detailed and thorough, and include expectations for all year groups.
  • Pupil progress meetings are held with all teachers highlighting both achievement and attainment each term.
  • Book scrutinises are carried out and also cross-referenced with planning.
  • Parents are informed of their children’s levels in English and Mathematics.


Element 3 - Target setting for the improvement of the school’s performance in basic skills


  • There are very good pupil tracking records for individual pupils and analysis of cohort performance.
  • Targets in the core subjects are set for all cohorts, with progress being tracked throughout the school year.
  • Targets are set for individual children, based on their learning needs as identified through on going assessment.
  • Discussion with the leadership team and coordinators clearly emphasises the commitment to the development of the basic skills across the school.
  • Predictions for future achievement are formulated by all staff, taking into account the specific cohort of children, but also incorporating a ‘value-added’ element.
  • Discussion with the Wider Management Team clearly emphasises the commitment to the development of the basic skills across the school.

Element 4 - Basic skills improvement planning for pupils underattaining and/or underachieving


  • The school has very clear well managed support, intervention and mentoring strategies for under attaining and/or underachieving pupils.
  • Teachers’ planning takes into account those children who may need extra support and the differentiation they may need. This may be in different forms and may be individual or within groups.
  • The assessment and review process involves parents, pupils and school staff and has clear outcomes which impact upon the learning needs of pupils.
  • The highly motivated Teaching Assistants play a vital role in supporting all pupils, with particular emphasis on specific groups and individuals, as well as playing an important part in wider school developments.
  • Support plans are detailed and focused on specific learning needs where necessary.
  • The provision made for Gifted and Talented pupils has clear impact upon basic skills performance.

Element 5 - Regular review of the progress made by pupils underattaining and /or underachieving in basic skills


  • The school uses Intervention planning to achieve successful outcomes.
  • Monitoring and evaluation procedures of under attaining and/or underachieving pupils are comprehensive.
  • Support Plans are reviewed regularly.
  • Children and parents are involved in the review process.
  • A variety of assessment tools and Tracking systems identify underachievement.
  • Interventions are well thought out and pupils are correctly matched to the right intervention to enhance their development.

Element 6 - A commitment to improving the skills of staff to teach and extend basic skills


  • Staff CPD needs and opportunities are well planned.
  • The school is a training centre for Talk for Writing.
  • Training needs of all staff including support staff are identified and addressed.
  • There is a training plan for all staff based on the School Improvement Plan.
  • Monitoring systems are comprehensive and have clear outcomes.
  • Support staff are fully involved in CPD and have clear opportunities to develop their knowledge and expertise across the basic skills.
  • Coordinators monitor planning.
  • Good quality support staff are in place for a number of support programmes set up in school.
  • Performance management is linked to pupil progress and assessment data.
  • There are links with King Edwards School Aston for high achieving pupils including master classes for children in Year Five for raising aspirations including music and sports.

Element 7 - The use of a range of teaching approaches and learning styles to improve basic skills


  • The curriculum is stimulating and engaging, including a wide range of visits and visitors to support learning.
  • Homework is in place across the school, differentiated appropriately and valued by parents.
  • Inclusion is a distinct feature of the school.
  • A range of teaching and learning styles is clearly evident.
  • Pupils are clearly proud of the work.
  • Teaching quality is monitored formally and informally, as part of a comprehensive monitoring plan.
  • All provision is rigorously planned and pupil progress is thoroughly assessed, with good communication with parents, through regular meetings including detailed reports on children’s achievement.

Element 8 - The use of appropriate teaching and learning materials to improve basic skills


  • The learning environment is supportive, e.g. learning prompts for Literacy can be found in all the teaching areas which is driven by Talk for Writing.
  • A wide range of different resources is in use, supporting learning effectively.
  • Books and materials are in very good condition.
  • Children’s work is celebrated through displays in shared areas and classrooms.
  • A whole school approach to the learning environment is apparent.
  • Children have a good understanding of their school, and show obvious pride in their surroundings.
  • Effective use is made of teaching materials throughout the school.

Element 9 - The involvement of parents and carers in developing their child’s basic skills


  • Parents are well informed about basic skills provision in the school.
  • Parents are very pleased with relationships and communication between home and school they feel valued.
  • Parents are very well informed about their child’s progress.
  • Parents are very well informed about children’s transition from class to class.
  • Workshops take place on a regular basis and are valued by everyone in the school community.

Element 10 - An effective procedure for monitoring planning and assessing improvement in performance in basic skills


  • Governors are well informed about planning for, and assessment of, basic skills.
  • The Headteacher has adapted the school SEF to match the new Ofsted framework and produces excellent reports to keep the governing Body fully informed.
  • There is a very thorough monitoring programme in place.
  • The Governing body challenge the Senior Leadership Team.



Congratulations to the whole staff team at Yew Tree Primary School for their daily very                                                                               good teaching of basic skills. The school was very well prepared for the visit. A wide range of up to date evidence had been gathered against each of the Quality Mark standards. The synopsis of developments in each area was particularly useful.


The school clearly meets the standards required and the Quality Mark has successfully been renewed.