Supporting school improvement - some examples
There are ongoing links between schools and leaders across the Trust to share and deliver best practice. In addition, examples below indicate particular support provided for our schools, responding to different levels of need:
Building governance capacity:
- Providing expertise to an LGB (local governing body) using existing directors of the Trust for a time-limited period where this is required
- Recruiting additional expertise to the Local Governing Bodies where needed
- Provision of a clear programme of work indicating the information an LGB can expect to receive and when it does so, together with modelling different types of challenge
- Encouraging and providing training, both external courses (eg through the National Governance Association) as well as those delivered by senior staff eg safeguarding; financial overviews; performance measures; curriculum oversight etc
Building leadership capacity:
- CEO providing coaching, advice and support to the Headteacher during periods of rapid change and hands-on input
- Extending the leadership capacity within a school to support rapid improvement and high quality leadership eg appointment of school improvement or additional senior leadership posts
- Appointment of two Trust Deputy headteachers to support school improvement
- Expertise and advice provided using existing Trust expertise eg pupil premium, data and management, More Able, Gifted and Talented, SEND, pastoral and early help support, safeguarding
- Providing clear accountability structures within the school, underpinned by a proactive and supportive line management structure.
- Middle leader support and training
- Providing a Trust Systems Leader to help develop pastoral, rewards and sanctions structures and associated student strategies
- Using the opportunity to build cross Trust work. This includes: sharing subject expertise; working together across the Trust on common priorities; using review days for middle leaders to be involved in visiting other Trust schools.
Building subject capacity:
- Input into subject areas eg schemes of work, teaching and learning development. This has included: English, mathematics, science, Geography, history, Technology, Arts;vocational subjects
- Sharing PSHE and RS schemes of work for adaptation in another school as well as ongoing support from an experience RS leader.
- Sharing approaches and ideas for careers development, with reference to the Gatsby benchmarks and PSHE curriculum
- Ongoing links between subject leaders to develop ongoing resources eg Technology, Arts
- Ongoing use of the Trust Mathematics Leader to develop mathematics provision through curriculum and staff development.
- Joint review days on provision in a subject, supporting middle leaders to showcase their work
Building SEND Capacity:
The Trust appointed a Trust SENCO, using her expertise and knowledge of Trust systems to rapidly develop provision in one of our schools and ensure high standards of provision across the Trust. This has involved her working closely with SEND staff in both schools, developing school level capacity and understanding, as well as introducing structures, systems and parental response expectations to help embed trust and partnership. SEND provision is, therefore, well-structured and resourced, enabling a prompt response to those needing additional support or intervention.
Building ICT Capacity:
The Trust developed an existing role into a Trust wide ICT Manager after a vacancy in one of the schools. His expertise has allowed improvements in schools’ systems, as well as savings by purchasing across the Trust. The close proximity of the schools means that the expertise of the ICT technical teams across the Trust have been used to support an initiative in one school as well as sharing best practice across the Trust. Teaching and learning, using interactive whiteboards, software and resources, as well as safeguarding processes are, therefore, well-supported across the Trust.
The Trust has a cross Trust financial package, operated by each school within its staffing structures, and feeding into the Trust Finance Manager who provides advice and support. This generates the governors and trustees with the information they need each month as well as allowing each budget holder to see their current balance and commitment. As well as being cost effective, this has allowed differences in spending profile to target change.
An example would be the move to in-house cover supervisors, rather than external adhoc supply cover for short term absences. This has stopped the use of reserves, provided more continuity for students with staff they know, and allowed the recycling of funds into greater learning support.
The Trust has a number of contracts across the trust, from catering to staff advertising, to HR and Legal costs to EWO time (Education Welfare Officer for welfare) to Educational and Assistant Psychologist time. All these contracts support schools to provide resources effectively and are put into place after tendering (eg catering) with the full involvement of Headteachers or after consultation with Headteachers otherwise. This has led to cost savings to date.
The Trust has encouraged support staff teams to contact and share what they do; this has led to improvements eg use of ICT package to support premises management and safety processes; science storage improvements in one school; administrative processes. These have all improved the effectiveness of our teams and made their work easier.