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Karen Stocks

School: Arundel Court Primary School & Nursery
Context: Arundel Court Primary school also has an 80 place Nursery.

  • Name of LA or sponsor: Portsmouth
  • Number of pupils: 572
  • Number of members of staff: 105
  • Headteacher of current school: 10 years in total. Appointed the HT of Arundel Court Infants in 2005 and then became the HT of Arundel Court Juniors in Jan 2007. Executive HT arrangements were put in place for 5 years until Arundel Court became an official Primary School in September 2013
  • Previous headships: 2 terms Acting Head teacher at Charles Dickens Infant School
  • Recent Ofsted judgement (Overall and Leadership): 2 – Overall 1 – Leadership & Management

Current developments/focus in own school to secure further improvement:

Writing is a challenge for us and we’re tackling this from all sides! The whole school ‘Talk for writing’ project is helping to really embed those key language patterns and this is certainly having an impact on the children’s vocabulary and confidence to write like a champion.

The project has helped with teaching composition & effect and also supported the new demands of the new English curriculum expectations around drafting, editing and publishing.

As a school we are working our way through improving our ongoing assessment to show progress over time in books. We have worked hard on developing our assessment principles and practice to capture learning. The books need to tell the learning story. The early year’s team have definitely had a part to play in sharing good practice across the key stages.

The Maths team, which includes our very experienced number counts teacher are working alongside teachers to support with planning, teaching and assessing the new maths curriculum. We are using lesson studies as one of the CPD tools to improve pedagogy and understanding of the NC.

Attendance. We continue to work hard to keep above the national average and particularly around reducing the number of PA and improving punctuality in the school. Two walking bus routes have been designed and will be launched after half term. Our free breakfast club has grown through need and has enticed many vulnerable children to come to school early. A large pastoral team work tirelessly to phone, text and collect children who are living in chaos and crisis.

Membership/lead of local improvement groups:

  • SSIG group ( school support & Improvement group)
  • Primary rep on Schools forum
  • Executive board for Portsmouth SCITT – ACPS is the named school for this organisation
  • Supported the IEB for CDJS
  • HT rep for the temporary governing body for the new Copnor Primary school.

Membership/lead of national improvement groups:

  • Worked with 5 HT from Kent to explore pupil premium and values led school

Particular area(s) of expertise/strength:

  • Leading school through change. Supporting staff, leadership and governors through a federation journey & amalgamation.
  • Supporting schools through creative use of space and any building projects.
  • Effective staff recruitment, staffing structures and creating a positive ethos for a climate of educational & staffing change. Developing this through a values led school community.
  • Visited Finland with 3 early year’s practitioners from my school. We focussed on early year settings, forest school and primary education when we were over there at the end of the summer.
  • ACPS has the largest Primary Pupil Premium budget in the city and so I feel I would be able to support leaders with best practice ideas on effective use of pupil premium funding.
  • CPD and early career development, particularly around recruitment and retention
  • Helping leadership teams prepare for Ofsted and external reviews
  • Inclusion & SEN agenda
  • Developing the accountability of the governing body
  • Staff morale through personalised CPD. Building a coaching and mentoring culture within the school.