Using Alps to develop a school improvement strategy
By Nicola Madden, Principal of Limavady Grammar School
Limavady Grammar School is a co-educational non-denominational grammar school located in the North West of Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1924 and for the greater part of its existence it has been integrated in nature. It is located in a predominantly rural catchment area. The Sixth Form currently has over 200 students.
Using Alps has been part of a whole school improvement strategy to use data effectively with the aim of bringing about an improvement in outcomes. Our journey with Alps started in 2017 with a focus on how to raise outcomes and measure progress at A level, whilst setting realistic and challenging aspirational targets.
How is Alps used?
The use of Alps is integral to learning and teaching and assessment in Sixth Form.
Induction days take place annually in August to accommodate target-setting discussions between students and a subject specialist. Within the parameters of these tailored discussions, targets are explored, then recorded based on Alps predictions. These targets are then used, throughout the academic year, to raise aspirations and expectations, serving the purpose of representing the minimum grade that we expect our students to attain. Subsequently, student progress against their specific Alps targets is reviewed at key assessment dates, and intervention steps taken as necessary. Recognising a need for the development of our students as a whole person, this intervention may be pastoral or academic. In order to best meet the needs of our students, scheduled intervention meetings take place with parents/carers present, communicating appropriate support and understanding across every strand of student contact. Academically, throughout the course of each term, students are made aware of their standing in relation to their individual targets. They are then supported in finding and implementing strategies to either maintain or improve their progress. Such support and guidance, provided to the pupils, enables them to reach their potential and remove any potential barriers to success. Together, this creates an environment which allows our pupils to perform to the best of their abilities.