For Schools Education Services provides a range of services for schools working together, whether as an informal cluster, a semi-formal co-operative type arrangement or in a formal group such as a multi-academy trust. Many are a natural extension of services we offer to individual schools and some are specifically created to support group structures and operation.
The school-lead system has been with us for over a decade with the first NLE’s appointed back in 2006. Successive governments have recognised that schools benefit from seeing how other schools are run and learning from their experience. The demise of Local Authority (LA) advisory teams has also been happening over many years but has been accelerated by recent budget cuts at local government level.
The school improvement system within England now is very much a patchwork of individual schools, school groups, social enterprises, quasi private/charitable organisations and thin LA support services based mainly around statutory provision. Some leaders and their schools have happily taken to the new world seeing it as a huge opportunity and others have found once trusted support has disappeared and left a vacuum. Most school leaders are still trying to navigate their way through uncertainties and newly forming structures.
Like everyone else we have tried to make sense of the new system and continue to evolve our services to meet the needs of schools and the groups they now work in. The services we currently provide for clusters and groups of schools, including MATs and SATs fall into three areas.
Our Lessons Learned system provides online resources for groups of schools to work together to improve standards of teaching and learning, effectively manage appraisal and track the impact and effectiveness of CPD.
The system provides a group level view so that best practice can be identified and shared, consistency of approach and development can be managed so that an evaluation of the group level impact can be assessed by trustees and/or senior leaders.
Benefits from Lessons Learned include reports specifically designed for trustees, school improvement teams, and school senior leaders; as well as cost efficiencies effected through consistent practices and overall school improvement approach.
Our range of pupil, parent and staff surveys have been extended to help assess the impact of being part of a group, the relationships between schools and how effective leadership, school improvement and back office services are across the group. Very much bespoke to individual group’s needs these surveys can be delivered on-line or by paper and can be repeated annually or every other year to demonstrate progress.
In addition to our school level performance data reports we also provide three performance reports for clusters and MATs:
Focused on the MAT’s or cluster’s accountability rather than an individual school’s performance. Using both DfE-suggested and other bespoke measures to assess the impact of the group’s school improvement activities.
This report aggregates the results of all schools in the group into a summary report similar to that provided by RAISEonline or its replacement ASP. The MAT or cluster can see how well it is doing for all its pupils and key groups across all its schools.
Comprising an analysis section at subject and group level ranking and comparing the schools’ performance to national and the group averages, together with an optional section that summaries each school’s data separately on one page and provides a brief independent commentary on the school’s performance.