In July 2015 the school was very proud to achieve the Investors in People Gold Standard again. Information and feedback from the assessment follows.
As part of the three day assessment a cross-section of people (taking into account role, gender, new starts, governing body and the IIP Gold Assessment) were interviewed. This representative sample of people was interviewed face-to-face in 1-1 or groups.
The report identified the following:
- the Values and Expectations are introduced at the interview stage and are talked about continuously at induction and then in everyday life in the school. They are visible around the school and used throughout every aspect of the school day with students and staff. They are fundamental to the fabric of how Cockburn operates. They are well embedded and staff who do not believe in those values and expectations would not fit in here. As one interviewee said “the Values and Expectations are at the core of what we do and imprinted through us all like the words in a stick of rock”
- the strategy for developing teachers by using the Teaching and Learning communities in order to raise the standard of teaching enables people to take ownership of their own development and also utilises the strengths of individuals to support and develop others
- Cockburn does not operate a blame or fear culture, people are encouraged to learn from their experiences and constructive feedback is regarded as an important tool to enable people to do that. When new or revised initiatives from government are introduced the school adopts a can do approach. People don’t sit back and wait but start looking at the impact that any changes will have and what they need to do to make it work in Cockburn
- the school makes the most of people’s talents and this is demonstrated through the opportunity people have to take on different roles and responsibilities combined with the organisations willingness to play to individual’s strengths. In addition, people have the opportunity to undertake external professional development
- the Leadership at Cockburn recognises the effort people put in and always makes time to acknowledge this with thanks and treats (end of term meal and Christmas celebrations). This does not go unnoticed and people really appreciate those efforts
- people talked about the passion they had for ensuring all the students were given the opportunity to be able to succeed and be the best they could be. This can only be achieved if the staff are also the best they can be. There was a desire from everyone interviewed to be just that. People talked about how supportive the school was in helping people to develop their careers even if it meant they ended up moving to another school (which most people were reluctant to do!). Others talked about how they had been supported to help them become better teachers
- people at all levels are involved in reviewing the strategies for improvement and these are continually being evaluated to ensure they are giving the desired outcomes. Regardless of what role people have within the school the common denominator was the drive for excellence in all areas of the school
- people expressed a pride in working for the school that had a great reputation in the local area. Some said they felt very lucky to be working at Cockburn and without exception everyone interviewed liked coming to work here and loved their job.
In July 2012 the School achieved the Investors in People Gold Standard for the first time, achieved by less than 3% of organisations.
The report identified the following:
- Cockburn School lives by its vision, “Transformation to Excellence” (to be an outstanding school), and its values and expectations
- many areas of good practice have developed since the school’s last Investors in People Review
- the school has continued to develop and improve in all aspects of what it does using effective evaluation mechanisms to measure and improve performance. People see the changes that have taken place as having a positive effect on the way they are managed and developed
- no opportunity for development is missed. Resources and development interventions are numerous, varied, cost-effective and make effective use of internal and external resources
- the revised management structure comprising the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and the Middle Management Team (MLT) is seen as being effective and an improvement to that which was in place prior to the appointment of the current Head Teacher
- managers are visible throughout the School and are viewed as being credible, professional, approachable and supportive.
- people acknowledge that the communications and meetings structures have improved and are effective. They also recognise the numerous opportunities they have to give and receive feedback as well as to contribute ideas to improve performance across the school
- there is strong evidence to show that people are encouraged to develop and use their interests/ specialisms/talents for the benefit of the school, for the benefit of students, to gain further experience and to develop their careers
- Despite being in an area of high social deprivation, people are committed to the success of the school and to improving the achievements and aspirations of students. They clearly feel valued for the contribution they make, are proud to be part of the school and believe it is a ‘great place to work’
- the school has strong community links through The Learning Trust (South Leeds), its involvement with community groups and local businesses and by inviting residents in the local community to make use of the School’s facilities and to attend School drama/dance/music productions.
- there is a strong focus on the well-being of staff through the support of work-life balance requests of staff wherever possible, and the policy/activities proposed by the Well Being Group.
What staff told the Assessor:
“Satisfactory isn’t good enough.”
“The bar has been raised and everyone given an opportunity to be part of it.”
“We’re all aware of what we need to achieve: everyone is made to feel important and has their part to play.”
“It is every member of staff’s responsibility to drive standards.”
“Transformation to Excellence has become the driving force of how the school is developing.”
“People who are not performing to the values are challenged rather than being allowed to languish.”
“We strive for outstanding in everything we do: some people have realised it’s not for them but most people are striving to achieve the values and expectations.”
“The values are integrated into everything we do and we abide by them.”
“I quite quickly realised (as a new member of staff) that they’re part of the school’s make up.”
“Managers are more approachable than they have been in the past.”
“The leadership team is really strong – I aspire to be like that one day: I see things I’d like to do in my practice.”
“The management team are experienced and credible: they are good at living the values.”
“There is lots of trust demonstrated by managers, they show integrity and professionalism and are able to communicate.”
“The SLT are visible throughout the School: they walk around and call into lessons to check all is ok.”
“Staff are hardworking and passionate about the job they do.”
“I feel trusted and valued: the management team know how to get the best out of staff.”
“I’m really happy with work and how I’ve been treated over the years.”
“I don’t think I would leave unless there is no opportunity to progress.”“I love the School and see my career developing here.”
“I feel part of a team and have a responsibility not to let anyone else down.”
“I’ve been approached to work in other places but choose to be here.”
“I have frustrations now and then but I enjoy my job and love what I do.”
“It’s a wonderful place to work and I would find it difficult to move on.”
“When I meet ex-colleagues outside of work they remember Cockburn fondly – the grass is not always greener on the other side.”