Lyng Hall

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Lyng Hall School has experienced considerable success in recent years. Our last Ofsted inspection in June 2019 judged us to be good in all areas and judged the quality of pupils’ personal development and welfare to be outstanding . The report contains many positive judgements about our school.

  • Senior leaders are aspirational and have high expectations of staff and pupils. They have successfully created an ethos of ‘high ambition and relentless kindness’ which is widely shared and adopted. Consequently, the levels of consistency and commitment from all involved are ensuring that improvements are successfully embedded.

The school serves a catchment area that is socially and economically disadvantaged. Pupils are drawn from 6 main wards which are among the most disadvantaged in the country. All of these wards contain Super Output Areas and in 2 cases contain SOA’s which are in the 20 most deprived SOA’s in the country 44% of pupils are in the lowest 10% nationally re. social and economic deprivation; 70% are in the lowest 20%. Overall this is the second highest in the city. There is a significant amount of demolition and rebuilding taking place and planned to take place within the catchment during the next few years.

The prior attainment of the pupils is significantly lower than the national average.

There are currently 700+ pupils on roll which includes 100 in the sixth form. Inward transience is high: Each year we admit a significant number of pupils from other countries.

Over half of our pupils are eligible for free school meals. This is well above the city average of 17%. 23% of the pupils have been identified as requiring SEN support. However many more students receive significant support to help them and their families overcome barriers to learning. Most of these needs relate to poor literacy levels, particularly reading and poor social and emotional skills.

The ethnic mix of the pupils has changed in recent years. There is a wider range of ethnic groups represented in the school than was previously the case. There are still significant populations of Indian pupils (9%) and Pakistani pupils (8%). However 8% of the students are of Black African heritage and 19% of the students are white “other”, typically from eastern European countries. The school has a large population of Romanian students (currently 130).

61% of pupils have English as an additional language. This is above the City average of 17.3% and is an increase from 20% during the last 3 years. The main additional languages are Panjabi, Romanian, Polish, Urdu, Slovakian, Somali and Latvian. There are currently 47 first languages represented in the school, 16 by more than 5 pupils each. We run a separate induction programme for the many pupils who join us that are unable to speak English. Following an intensive 6 week English speaking course they are integrated and supported in lessons. They achieve good outcomes and many stay on into the sixth form.

The school became a specialist sports college in September 2005 and joined the Finham Park Multi-Academy Trust in 2016. As part of the Multi Academy Trust, we enjoy working in collaboration with three other schools. This provides fantastic opportunities for both our staff and students.

Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development are at the heart of Lyng Hall School and central to the improvement journey the school has undertaken. The last 5 years has seen the school transform into the exciting and successful learning community it is today.

Relationships are at the heart of what we do. We have developed a deep understanding of the needs of our students and their families through supportive relationships built on trust. Elements of SMSC are incorporated across the curriculum; however, changes in ethos, structure and approach that embed the philosophy into everything we do are of greater significance.

Vulnerable students in both KS3 and KS4 are taught together by our Foundation team, where they spend most of their week with 1 teacher in a nurturing environment and are able to focus on key skills such as resilience that enable them to make accelerated progress. In Key Stage 4, the flexibility of the curriculum enables us to provide highly individualised pathways to develop social and academic skills which has impacted hugely on exclusion figures and has raised the aspirations of a group of young people who may previously have become disengaged.

Many of our young people are burdened with adult responsibilities outside school, so it is important that at school they are able to throw off the burdens of adulthood and be teenagers. Lyng Hall has a team of 17 associate teachers, a group of multi skilled professionals including 4 staff trained as Citizens Advice Bureau advisers, whose principal task is to remove barriers to learning (details of their role can be found in the separate Role of the Associate Teacher document). This may be through individual or group support, through working with a family to resolve issues or it may be about building self-esteem and a clear understanding of right and wrong. This is achieved by focussing on their emotional development through a range of activities requiring social skills. We have an ethos that no-one walks past a problem, we all take responsibility for supporting our students when they need it, further creating the sense of a co-operative learning community developing together with empathy for each other’s needs.

Lyng Hall was the first school in the country to be designated as a Citizen’s Advice Bureau. The ability of our trained staff to access the resources of the Bureau is a huge advantage when supporting vulnerable families. This resource is available to the whole community, not just those with children at the school. The impact of this partnership was powerfully demonstrated in a ‘Newsnight’ film in which a parent says “The school saved my life”.

These approaches have seen attendance at school rise from below 90% to 95%, because students are happy, settled and supported at school and see it as a place they belong and can do well. This is also reflected in the very low incidences of bullying or racial harassment. Students are proud to be members of the Lyng Hall community. A good example of this is the work done with one Year 10 student and her family, filmed as a case study for Channel 4 news. This was a family struggling with debt, mental health and dysfunctionality, who were supported through moving their debt from a loan shark to an ethical lender, sourcing support for mum, encouraging the family to work together better through family group conferencing and thus enabling the youngest child to attend school, secure in the knowledge that all was well at home. Her attendance has doubled and her academic progress accelerated – a real success story.

Lyng Hall embraced Achievement for All and was part of the pilot scheme from the outset in 2009. The school was the first in the country to be accredited as an AFA Lead School and the Headteacher is one of 18 Achievement for All ambassadors. AFA and action to overcome barriers to learning are a common thread running through the school’s CPD programme, developing pedagogy, raising staff awareness of students’ needs and providing strategies to deliver appropriate on-going support.

We have developed a tradition of school concerts and performances. These are very important in helping students build confidence and self -esteem. All pupils who wish to participate are welcomed and the student support for these events on performance nights is very positive and enthusiastic. This year we are introducing Drama and Media as core subjects alongside Music in KS3.

The improved aspirations of the students has led to a rise in the number of students wanting to stay on in education in the 6th form. Students are keen to stay on at Lyng Hall because they feel happy and safe here and know they will receive plenty of support to enable them to achieve their potential. Academic mentoring by staff has further developed relationships alongside many opportunities for these young adults to take on responsibilities such as being a reading mentor to a younger pupil that have further enabled them to build their self-confidence and move on.

Our Year 11 Prom is part of the school’s annual calendar. It is organised by the students each summer as an opportunity for us all to celebrate their time at the school. Students work together with the support of a small group of staff to plan all elements of the celebration.

Our Careers’ Academy programme gives students a range of opportunities to work with mentors from the business world, to learn from their career stories and to experience the world of work. All of our CA students undertake internships in the summer holidays shadowing career professionals in fields they aspire to enter, giving up their time to work in accountancy offices at Price Waterhouse Cooper, support a Police Officer or develop resources for the staff at a firm of Architects for example. All thrive on the experience and gain a well-informed understanding of the options and challenges facing them as they move through school and on to the next stage of their education or training. Some even secure employment either as weekend staff or permanent staff through the success they achieve in their internships.

Like our Teachers Of Tomorrow scheme, these programmes are aspirational and about social mobility as most of these young adults will be the first person in their family to go into higher education.

In June 2019 we were successful in becoming a Careers Hub for Coventry.

We work closely with local partners to try to capitalise upon their skills and areas of expertise. Coventry Building Society have undertaken regular work with students from Year 7 up to the 6th form (including sessions with staff) to look at understanding money and the world of finance. This has been particularly valuable for some of our older students planning to go off to University and needing to manage on a budget. Coventry University gave students the opportunity to be part of a national Cyber Champions project that highlighted the many dangers of internet and social networking and resulted in them visiting the Houses Of Parliament to discuss their work with MPs. We are hugely proud of the way our students represent us in the wider community and regularly receive positive feedback from members of the community about the positive and polite behaviour of groups of students out on school trips.

There are a large number of in-year admissions and we have an ever increasing number of languages represented in our community. EAL students arriving here start on a closely supported programme, working with other EAL students to rapidly develop their social understanding and relationships alongside developing their communication skills, receiving support until they are able to cope independently in all of their classes.

Visits to theatres and art galleries serve to broaden the horizons of our students and to develop an understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield. Social and cultural opportunities such as the whole school Christmas lunch (provided at no cost to the students), trips to Paris, skiing and field trips all are all essential elements of their preparation for life.

Students who are new to the country and the school have an induction programme lasting approximately 6 weeks which aims to develop basic English language but also helps the children to understand the processes and expectations of school. A significant number of our newly arrived children have not attended school before.

Our students work hard to support others less fortunate than themselves. In the past we have raised money for the British Heart Foundation, a group of 5 staff and students successfully climbed Mount Kilamanjaro earlier this year, Comic Relief, The Hope Fund, launched at Lyng Hall by the Bishop of Coventry, Coventry Haven, the Boot Fund and for Kiddawalime School in Uganda. Two students were chosen to visit Uganda with staff. They raised the funds to support their own visit and spent time there working in the school as sport’s coaches. These students led the rest of the student body in raising £4000 for a clean water system at Kiddawalime School. The students were successful and the water purification plant was installed. Students have chosen to support the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and Myton Hospice in recent years.

Working to support others is an empowering experience for these young people and enables them to better help themselves and those around them with increased self-esteem. Our Student College students now take full responsibility for managing a programme of charitable events throughout the year. They recently arranged a very successful “Help for Heroes” evening. As well as raising money for charity, the Student College has its own leadership structure with students who act as ambassadors for the school. Student members also meet regularly with the SLT and Directors of KS3 & KS4 to discuss any concerns and are currently reviewing the system we will put in place to recognise student achievements in character building and self-esteem through volunteering, individual characteristics and other activities.

By nurturing independent, lifelong learners, we are developing young people able to take responsibility for their own learning. It therefore came as no surprise when one young man arrived at parents’ evening on his own to discuss his learning and progress with staff as his parents were unable to attend.

Students also get involved in local initiatives. Our students are part of a rota of community groups who help out at the local food bank. Through our links with the Citizens Advice Bureau, we are able to issue food vouchers. Working at the food bank gives students a valuable insight into the way communities can pull together to support each other in a positive way.

As part of our work to raise aspiration among sixth form students, we have been fortunate to receive sponsorship from Coventry Building Society to engage the students in some really exciting visits and trips. These have included taking part in committee meetings at the House of Commons, film making at the BBC, debating at Cambridge University and other high quality social events. There is good evidence that these activities significantly influence students’ ambitions.

Each year, towards the end of the Summer Term, we have a “Celebration of Excellence”. At this event, the achievements of individuals and groups of students is recognised and rewarded. There are a wide range of prizes and awards and a local businessman provides an annual bursary for a Y13 student who is going to University.

In September 2017 we started teaching Mandarin for the first time. 34 students in Year 7 and 25 students in Y8 now study the language for up to 8 hours a week. They are really enjoying the challenge and have already taken part in their first joint activity with some visiting students from China. We are very excited about developing our own partnerships with a school in China and facilitating exchange visits for our students. The Y8 students will spend 2 weeks in China in July 2019. Our Mandarin course for Y7 September 2019 is heavily oversubscribed.

Due to popular demand we will be admitting 180 students into Y7 in September 2019 instead of 150.

  • The strength of pupils’ SMSC development is exemplified through pupils’ views. One pupil commented, ‘There are children here from many different countries but we are all one family.’ Leaders and teachers take every opportunity to promote pupils’ SMSC development. Ofsted June 2019