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Life’s Good for Gateshead Primary School Thanks to Mesma


May 21, 2017
A GATESHEAD primary school is benefitting from an online quality assurance tool-kit developed in the North East as it secures another strong Ofsted performance.
Bill Quay Primary School in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, caters for more than 100 four – 11 year old children, who are supported by currently 40 teaching and support staff delivering a broad curriculum.
However, in the same way that thousands of other schools and education facilities are regularly inspected, Bill Quay faces Ofsted to ensure its achieving a high standard of teaching provision with the results published on the inspectors’ website.
So, as part of its continuous improvement drive to secure teaching performance standards, the school uses MESMA self-assessment and improvement planning software – a move that’s recently helped it to retain a Good Ofsted inspection report.
Head teacher Toni Hilton says its important for her leadership team to keep abreast of critical aspects of the school’s management and operations as well retaining an active participation in the process of self-evaluation and development planning.
However, this has to also be reconciled with the Ofsted expectations of the governors, who are looking to ensure teaching continues to succeed and the school meets the needs of students.
To achieve this, there is a greater demand for the improved sharing and management of documents and information around the school as well as among the board of governors.
She said: “The senior management team and others have access to a good deal of data and information, so there’s naturally pressure on the co-ordination and management of many Ofsted critical administrative tasks and functions.
“However this process, which can be time consuming and challenging, has improved after we adopted the MESMA system school-wide.”
“It’s proving to be a versatile and extremely cost effective online resource, enabling us to easily set-up our personalised accounts and allocate whole swathes of self-assessment reporting and improvement planning to individuals in school.”
Intuitive properties are a key feature of the software: head teachers can incorporate their guidance notes to allow other members of staff to add and store their own information to ensure all relevant documentation is up-to-date and readily accessible during inspection.
At Bill Quay Primary School, the technology allows people to upload their own self-assessment contributions, saving time and improving access to information such as Ofsted reports, policy documents, quality assurance processes and guidelines, minutes of meetings, school performance data and other documentation. These are stored online in one place within a secure area on MESMA, while tasks and duties allocated to staff can be tracked and monitor to ensure they are being progressed and completed.
Toni Hilton says MESMA is a valuable tool, providing an affordable and tailor-made management resource that puts her in control of critical processes. It’s markedly contributed to Ofsted achievement, playing a pivotal role in overseeing the management of these and other activities as well as improving self-assessment.
In turn, this has secured a higher level of managerial control and delivered efficiencies to time intensive processes – information required for the Ofsted inspection was readily available at the press of a button. 
She said: “We have been able to demonstrate to Ofsted that retaining our ‘Good’ status was based in no small measure to having the relevant information to hand during inspection. This was down to the value of having a good quality, highly effective self-assessment and improvement-planning tool such as MESMA available.
“MESMA is now very much integral to our operations, enabling us to retain quality processes that are better managed on a daily process.”
MESMA, which is available via subscription, meets the specific requirements and individual needs at Bill Quay Primary School. There’s no doubt in Toni Hilton about its value, and she expects it to have a continuing impact on the school’s management and its preparedness for future inspections.
Online improvement planning specialists MESMA was set-up in response to changes implemented by education watchdog Ofsted, which led to schools, colleges and independent providers receiving reduced notice of inspection. In partnership with apprenticeship experts Strategic Development Network, Reform has been developed to enable the user to assess how well prepared they are for the apprenticeship reforms against a diagnostic framework using the MESMA platform. More at www.mesma.co.uk

By Emily