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Case study: Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys

The transformation

Woolwich Polytechnic has seen a dramatic increase in the percentage of its pupils achieving 5+ A* – C GCSEs (English & Maths). 

These impressive achievements are the product of Woolwich’s no excuses culture, central to which are its Raising the Achievement of Pupils (RAP) meetings. These tightly managed, high profile and high priority meetings take place from 8:30 – 9:00 each morning. Each meeting focuses on specific children at risk of underachieving.

In attendance are representatives from all key subject areas, the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and Raising Standards Leader (RSL). The school’s data manager provides the meetings with key progress data, whilst subject representatives provide comments on individual pupils in advance of the meetings.

Raising the Achievement of Pupils (RAP) meetings

An essential feature of the meetings is that they are solutions focused. There is a strong emphasis on identifying strategies that are proving effective in engaging individual pupils and then transferring this knowledge across subject areas and pastoral staff.

Once strategies are agreed they must be implemented immediately and they are rigorously monitored.

Key outcomes have been:

  • pupil performance increased by up to 20% over three years
  • a culture that successfully fuses a high level of collegiality and with rigorous accountability
  • much improved professional dialogue between staff about the needs of individual pupils
  • powerful professional development for its staff

Read the full account below to explore how Woolwich Polytechnic’s RAP meetings have become a powerful vehicle for challenging staff perceptions of pupils, directing their energies towards discussing solutions rather than dwelling on problems, whilst at the same time also providing teachers with purposeful professional development with immediate classroom application.

Video: Raising the Achievement of Pupils