Last month at Bernards Heath we had our JARV with our “HIP” (Hertforshire Improvement Partner). The HIP’s job is to work with schools to monitor standards across the school as well as tracke progress against our objectives and ensure we have the right priorities and the right approach. The annual visit is always a packed day. This time, our HIP carried out learning walks with English and Maths leaders, sat in on lessons, reviewed children’s learning in their books and talked to the children and staff. There is a lot to see and discuss in a day!  Our Chair of Governors then joined the senior leadership team to receive feedback.

The report makes for great reading and the HIP’s comments were a ringing endorsement of what he had seen. He went as far as to call our school “a stunning environment for young children to learn in” and “What you’ve got here is gold dust, I’d like to say its typical but its not”. The report noted good progress against our priorities since the November 2016 OFSTED report, with phonics teaching well supported by the English leader and “very strong” teaching of the technical aspects of English. Teaching as a whole was described as “consistently good and some is outstanding” and recent changes that have been made, such as to the guided reading timetable and in training Teaching Assistants to support children in choosing books, also received positive comments. Staff’s behaviour management was described as “skilled and highly consistent” and the children’s excellent attitude to learning, high standards of behaviour and ability to discuss and appraise their learning with each other were all remarked upon. The report concludes that personal development, behaviour and welfare at the school are outstanding.

Obviously the governors are delighted to see everyone’s hard work recognised, but the real value of the HIP is the continued involvement in the school’s planning and development with an external expert with knowledge of other schools across Hertfordshire. We will continue to work with our HIP to improve our school even further and benefit from his input as to where to focus our efforts. In the meantime though, the governors wish to extend our congratulations to all the staff for creating a learning environment that has drawn such strong praise.

Mr Bridge