17 Mar HT Blog 25 – Feedback
Last week, we analysed the results of our termly student survey and, as always, they gave us plenty of things to think about so that we are able to ensure even better results when we next send our online questionnaire out in the summer. In order to look at patterns over time, the questions are always the same, namely: do you feel safe at school?; do teachers help you when things go wrong?; do you understand how you are progressing academically? & do you know what to do to make further progress in your lessons? For the first question, 88% of students confirmed that they do indeed feel safe at school, and although this is clearly an overwhelming majority it could also be possible to flip this around and state that 12% of students feel unsafe, which is obviously of great concern to leaders. When we probe deeper into this question, I would predict that those students who indicated that they did not yet feel completely safe in school are worried about the lack of perimeter fencing during PE lessons and the potential for strangers, dogs or motorbikes to cause them harm, the clear need for improved resources and facilities on our site and the dangers that often occur when drivers without permits try to enter our car park at the beginning and the end of each school day – all of which we putting a great deal of thought and effort into addressing as quickly as we can. To the second question, do teachers help you when things go wrong?, 84% of our students responded positively, and again, although it pleases me that so many students clearly feel that they will receive help whenever they need it, it also concerns me that there are 16% who think that this isn’t the case. 73% of our students also confirmed that they know how they are progressing academically, with a further 80% stating that they know what to do to make further progress in their lessons. Ideally, of course, we have 100% positive answers to all of the questions posed, but we know that realistically it is always likely in any large community that there are some who feel that improvements could and should be made in certain areas, and this is exactly why we offer this survey to our students each term – if something isn’t working, we need to know what this is so that we can address it. Interestingly, the section at the end of the survey (we always offer an open box into which general comments can be typed, although this often lead to posts about much longer lunch times and new swimming pools being built!) gave us an insight into what our students are currently thinking about our school, with the following (paraphrased) suggestions being perhaps the most noteworthy:
- Our playground is too small – can we use the field as well?
- We want more ICT on our curriculum
- We would like more green zones outside
As always, there is no point in our school’s leaders conducting surveys of our students if we don’t then act, wherever possible, upon the results and the feedback that we receive. How we respond to this survey will be similar to how we always also respond to the half-termly year and student council meetings that take place, when we produce documents with two clearly labelled columns: what you said and what we did. This way, our students can see that we not only value their suggestions (the sensible ones, not so much the ones about the swimming pools!) but also that we aim to actually do something about any concerns that are raised. Our community is a strong and thriving one, with a great deal of mutual appreciation on all sides, as can be evidenced by the huge amount of Golden Apple postcards stuck on teachers’ classroom walls and the enormous piles of values postcards that are sent home to students each week because of the way that they conduct themselves and meet our agreed values at school each day. Last week, we also welcomed colleagues from Challenge Partners to our school in order to conduct an annual review, and it was not only remarked on a number of occasion by our visitors how rooted our harmonious school is in its community but also mentioned by the students themselves during their meetings with reviewers just how much they value the calm and purposeful climate of their school and the quality of the education that they receive. Daubeney Academy has been a school on a journey for a few years now and it will always be the case that we are constantly looking to improve everything that we do, and a major part of seeking to improve is listening to the views of the people who are most directly connected with it.