The Directors are totally committed to the on-going improvement of all the academies in the Trust, regardless of where they are on their journey. Some will be making the journey from a very challenging place to becoming a good school, others will be looking to make the move to outstanding. Those who are outstanding will be looking to create a sustainable legacy and to share their learning with others across the system. Our Academy Improvement Framework is designed to meet each academy wherever they are on their journey, providing the necessary challenge and support to help them in achieving the very best they can for their children. It is intended to be developmental and supportive whilst at the same time providing the necessary rigour and challenge that will effect change as required.
Academy Improvement Director
The Trust employs an Academy Improvement Director (AID). Each of our academies is entitled to six days of improvement support provided or facilitated by our AID. These days provide our academies with developmental monitoring and support whilst also providing the rigour and challenge required to effect further improvement. Included within these days are three Academy Improvement Meetings (AIM) – further detail in respect of these meetings is shown below. AID input is available to all schools as part of the core service offered by the Trust to its academies. The use of the six days is flexible and provides our academies with the opportunity to gain the maximum benefit from these sessions.
The AID works closely with Headteachers and other senior leaders in the academies, to involve them in evaluation work across and between academies and to help them develop their skillset. We fully support the development and growth of peer to peer evaluation and support.
The AID is the conduit for information to the Chief Executive to report on progress and areas for on-going development. The AID also provides clear information to the Board regarding the performance of the academies. Our AID is a suitably qualified person with significant experience of school leadership, the Church school context, school-to-school support and inspection.
We recognise that certain pieces of work may require careful commissioning in order to ensure that expert professionals are engaged to match skill to need. For example, work within a particular Key Stage or phase, or in an area of the curriculum or provision. Where that is the case, the AID will facilitate, in close conjunction with the academy, the delivery of appropriate support from an alternative provider. This will always be in close consultation with each academy.
As we develop our work with secondary schools, we recognise the need for flexible ways of delivering improvement work and the need to bring in additional capacity to our monitoring and support visits. As well as utilising expertise from within the Trust, including primary practitioners, we would engage expert practitioners from Teaching Schools and other schools, as well as independent consultants where appropriate to provide sufficient support, focused on the needs of the academy. We would actively promote strong partnerships with other secondary providers where this would promote improvement, dependent upon the prevailing circumstances at any given time. Again, the AID would oversee the facilitation of this. We will draw on our experience of developing our successful improvement model and commission outstanding support to meet the needs of the school. We are already developing this model further through discussions with the Regional Schools Commissioner and with other providers in respect of this.
Additional development days are available from the AID to provide on-going support, arising from the Academy Improvement Meetings. The AID may also broker any additional improvement support required from other Headteachers and senior leaders within the Trust, Teaching Schools or external consultants. The majority of this additional time is generally spent with those schools who have not yet been judged good but we can facilitate this for any of our academies as required.
Academy Development Days will be recharged to individual academy budgets from money set aside for academy improvement work. This would generally be at a flat rate re-charge of £350 per day. It is proposed that this same level of recharge be applied to academy budgets when using Headteacher colleagues and others within the Trust – this recharge would show as income to the supporting Headteacher’s academy. This is less than the market rate so represents good value to the supported academy but also recognises the need to back-fill for the Headteacher’s time in their own school. It ensures that the money remains within the Trust wherever possible rather than being paid out to external providers.
Academies that have not yet reached a good judgement will be required to budget for academy improvement support and the Academy Improvement Director will facilitate and monitor support against these budgets in each academy. The amount budgeted for will need to be agreed each year between the Headteacher, the Academy Improvement Director, the Chief Executive and the Finance Director.
It is a strategic aim of the Trust to continually develop the ability of our academies to provide increasing levels of support to one another. We will look to grow capacity in our academies by involving school leaders and practitioners in academy improvement work. As we develop and grow our Database of Expertise, we will increasingly grow our capacity and expand our resource.
Underpinning all of the above is the on-going practice development that takes place within the Trust. Examples of these can be seen in Appendix 2 and include:
One week prior to the AIM, the Academy Improvement Director will circulate the following documents by email to all AIM attendees. The detail of the agenda will have been agreed with the Headteacher in advance of sending it out:
Leaders of each academy are responsible for circulating the following documents by email to all AIM attendees, one week before the meeting:
The meetings will generally last for 2 hours and maintain a sharp focus on identifying the next steps for improvement, as well as celebrating successes. These meetings will take place 3 times per year, in the majority of cases unless a different arrangement has been agreed with the academy.
Academy Improvement Meeting attendees: Academy Improvement Director (Chair); Headteacher; Chair of Local Governing Board; Headteacher Partner; other LAB members; Headteacher Consultant (where appropriate).
These will take place 3 times per year where a school is considered to be less than good (inspection or self-evaluation) or as agreed/requested in good / outstanding schools. The focus will be:
A brief report will be supplied soon after the meeting which will summarise the above.
Interim Academy Improvement Meeting attendees: Chief Executive Officer (Chair); Headteacher; Headteacher Partner; Chair of Local Governing Board; Headteacher Consultant (where appropriate)
All attendees are expected to make every effort to be present at these meetings. When attendance is not possible, sufficient notice and explanation should be given and an effort made to find a substitute;
All participants recognise that the combined focus of the meeting is to bring about change and improvement through collective and proactive action. All attendees should be asking the question: ‘What can I do to support improvement here?’
Information shared in meetings is confidential and should only be shared through the appropriate channels.
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