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Annual Statement

Annual Statement for Academic Year 2015/16

The Department for Education no longer requires school governing bodies to publish an annual statement setting out the key issues that have been faced and addressed by the governing body over the last year, including an assessment of the impact of the governing body on the school.


For Vale School we have chosen to continue to do this as we believe it is a vital component of engaging with parents, carers and stakeholders in the school. We have chosen to structure our statement using the same headings that Ofsted use in their inspections of schools in order to help you make a direct comparison of our work as a school.


Overall Effectiveness: The Quality and Standards of Education

We believe we are a ‘good or better’ school, a judgement that will at some point in the future be determined by our next Ofsted inspection, which is now due this or next academic year.


We are good because through our work and that of the Senior Leadership Team, we can demonstrate that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare of the pupils and ultimately the outcomes for pupils is good or better. This is shown in the attainment outcomes for the school in 2015/16, where pupils have met or exceeded both county and national levels at all the key stages.


Through our curriculum, assemblies and other activities we have embedded the spiritual, moral and cultural  development of the pupils. Developing their ability to be reflective, to understand and respect other religions, to recognise the difference between right and wrong and take this through to their social development, the children are encouraged to participate in their local community. We aim for them to become involved in local decision making, recognising the value of where they live, and their contribution and that of others to life in modern Britain.


This is promoted through our ‘HEART values at Vale School’ :


H = Honesty  E = Excellence  A = Appreciate  R = Respect  T = Teamwork


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We are a good school, a school that values all of its pupils equally as individuals. The governing body believes that through the school’s aims, ethos and values we offer every pupil the best foundations to be a successful learner, a responsible citizen and allows them to grow into confident individuals. An individual who will be able to go on in life and enjoy personal achievement and economic well-being and in doing so be able to appreciate and contribute to the community they live in.


Effectiveness of Leadership and Management:

Again over the last year the governing body, together with the senior leadership team of the school, has invested significant time in reviewing the working of the school, its structure and school practice and policy to ensure that Vale School has good or better teaching and outcomes, modern learning environments and an operating structure that delivers our vision of maintaining a school that is ‘good or better’ in all areas of its work.

Regular audits of the school’s Financial and Health & Safety processes have again shown that the work of the school is of the highest quality and in the case of the Health & Safety audit remains an exemplar of how a school should work to safeguard pupils and staff.

The governing body is an active and knowledgeable group with new members having joined in the last year. It has skills and experience from the public sector, financial world, industry and education.  It is constantly seeking to improve, and values the feedback from all stakeholders. We undertake annual parent/carer and staff surveys and are routinely present and visible within the school and at key school events, such as ‘Meet the Teacher’ and other parent/carer events. We encourage stakeholders to continue to provide feedback, either positive or developmental, using the link on the Website or in one-to-one conversations.


Looking ahead over the next few years, whilst we anticipate a Government review of the funding formula for schools in 2018 we are facing severe financial challenges now. Whilst we have not had our budget cut, it is effectively frozen which will see it fall in real terms by between 8 to 12% or more by 2020. As a school and governing body we have put plans in place to deal with this by reviewing all areas of our business and have strong financial plans that set medium and long term targets.


Parents and Carers have been briefed of this by a West Sussex led ‘ Worth Less’ campaign;  but the challenges we are facing are real and no longer hypothetical. We will need to look hard at all areas of business, including school trips, extra curricular activities and review staff roles, responsibilities and numbers until such time we receive additional financial support. We simply cannot sustain what we are currently doing in the same way and parents, carers and staff must be aware that changes will need to be made.     

In 2015/16 we remained without an effective school field, but after lengthy and detailed canvassing with West Sussex County Council a solution has been found that will see an Artificial Grass Pitch built in Autumn 2016. This will be a major contribution to the school site and the pupils well-being.

Having listened to our stakeholders, who have told us that they wish to see greater childcare provision at the school. We are exploring with West Sussex County Council the release of the Children & Family Centre on the school site. The outcome is uncertain, but any opportunity to support these families and make provision that will improve children's start of life opportunities and enable families to become more economically active is welcome.


It is our belief that as a governing body we fulfil our strategic and leadership roles effectively to the benefit of the pupils and the school as a whole.


Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment:

A continuous programme of internal review and inspection by the school’s leadership team, supported by the governors, coupled with an effective CPD process for all staff, confirms that the quality of teaching in the school is consistently good or better. Teachers all share high expectations, in lesson planning they set extending and challenging targets for themselves and pupils alike.

The new national curriculum is now well embedded in the school across all year groups with clear lesson plans that deepen pupils knowledge and understanding of the curriculum.


The governors are determined that Vale School, through its curriculum plans, will continue to deliver a broad rich and inclusive curriculum for all our pupils, that includes a focus on British Values alongside our Prevent duty; as well as delivering a broad spiritual, moral, social and cultural content. Extra-Curricular opportunities for pupils are strong and well attended.


Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare:

We firmly believe that behaviour in the school is a strong contributor to pupils attitudes to all aspects of their learning. Our principles include school agreed routines to encourage good behaviour and that undesirable behaviour is discouraged.

This is seen on a daily basis as pupils move around the school, commented on by visitors to the school and observed by governors. We believe that there is a positive ethos in the school with pupils conducting themselves well at all times and acting in accordance with the school's ‘golden rules’. The school makes every effort to reward and promote high standards by following an ethos of ‘catching them being good’. There have been no significant incidents of bullying, racist behaviour or safety concerns.

Outcomes for Pupils:


Many of you will now be aware that how we measure pupils attainment and progress has significantly changed in the last academic year with the introduction on the new National Curriculum in September 2015, albeit Vale School introduced the new curriculum from September 2014 in many of the year groups to prepare them early for the new rigour and raised expectations that it demands. We continue to have ‘National Curriculum Assessments’ at the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2) and Keys Stage 2 (Year 6), you may have previously heard them referred to as SATs tests. Reading; Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar and Maths are all tested by the National Curriculum Assessment, with ‘Writing’ still measured by ‘Teacher Assessment’.


In other year group assessments we now determine a pupils attainment / progress in one of three terms:

‘not attaining the expected standard / attaining the expected standard / attaining greater depth standard’  


With all these changes the challenge posed to pupils and staff was immense, but we are pleased to report that despite all the criticism in the local and national media about pupil attainment and especially pupil attainment in West Sussex, the pupils in Vale School bucked the national and West Sussex trend and had an amazing year.


In the year 2015/16 the levels of attainment and progress of pupils continued to be good.


Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)


Year 1 Phonics - attaining expected standard: Vale = 88% / County 78%

End of Key Stage 1 (Year 2) attaining expected standard or better:

Reading (TA): Vale = 76% / West Sussex = 69%

Writing:           Vale = 62% / West Sussex = 53%

Maths (TA):    Vale = 71% / West Sussex = 64%  


Key Stage 2


Our end of Key stage 2 (Year 6) results were significantly above or in line with the national average in all areas of reading, writing, maths and GPS (grammar, punctuation and spelling)


End of Key Stage 2 (Year 6) attaining expected standard or better:

Reading (exam):  Vale = 81% / National = 66% / West Sussex = 64%

GPS (exam):        Vale = 84% / National = 72% / West Sussex = 67%

Writing (TA):         Vale = 73% / National = 73% / West Sussex = 60%

Maths (exam):      Vale = 82% / National = 70% / West Sussex = 63%


The school and the governors also apply close scrutiny to pupil data from across the whole school to ensure that the proportion of pupils attaining the expected standard or better in each year group in Writing, Reading and Maths is good. Focus is given to disadvantaged pupils to ensure that their progress is similar to those for other pupils; whilst the school has been successful in closing the gap between these two groups of pupils,  work is still required to ensure that their attainment is in line with other pupils at the school.

Progress is now measured by an ‘average progress score’ from the end of Key Stage 1 to the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6) and for Vale School at the end of Year 6 the pupils achieved this progress:


Reading: Vale =  + 1.4 /  National =  -0.1  /  West Sussex =  -0.6

Maths:     Vale =  +0.3 /  National =  -0.1  /  West Sussex =  -0.1

Writing:    Vale =  -1.0  /  National =  -0.1  /  West Sussex =  -3.4


We can see that in Reading and Maths our pupils made above expected progress by their end of KS 2 from their end of KS 1 starting point. In Writing we were not so successful and this will continue to be an area of focus within the school.


In our Early Years Foundation Stage the attainment of pupils in both the prime and specific areas of assessment all increased against last year and 74% of the pupils made a Good Level of Development (GLD) against a West Sussex county average of 68%, the boys in this cohort achieved 67% of GLD exceeding the county average of 61%. 81% of the girls achieved a GLD exceeding the county average of 76%.

Over the next academic year we will focus on reading, particularly for the younger pupils, further developing the writing skills of all the children across the school by widening their opportunities to write in a variety of genre. As well as acting to close the gap between boys and girls where it exists and disadvantaged pupils.

Our overall pupil attainment not only meets, but exceeds the national floor standard set by the Department for Education.

Effectiveness of the Early Years Provision, Quality and Standards:

The Early Years provision has seen further investment and the development of ‘zoned areas of play’, all designed to provide a highly stimulating outdoor learning area. With adapted classrooms and a canopied area to allow for all year round learning through play, our EYFS allows for a rich, varied and imaginative experience that meets the needs of all children.  

Through our induction programme, going out and visiting the local nursery/pre-school settings we actively engage with the providers, parents and carers to make an initial assessments of a child’s starting point. Using these assessments staff then set high expectations of children ensuring that they make good progress relative to their starting point. All children, including disadvantaged children make good progress to prepare them for the next stage of their education. In the last year our EYFS team have worked with local nurseries, providing them with training and resources to help them develop children's phonic learning in their time at nursery ahead of their transition to full time education.

The governing body is determined to ensure that appropriate investment continues to be made in the early years in terms of staff, facilities and resources to ensure that each pupil makes the best of their first year in school and that they are able to achieve at least a good level of development and appreciate an understanding of how to learn, to keep themselves safe, manage risks and develop positive behaviours.