Trust in Learning (Academies) share a vision “to improve the quality of schooling and the outcomes for children and young people by promoting communities that trust in learning and the endeavour of education to transform lives. We support and challenge this improvement through fostering the autonomy and empowerment of effective leadership and governance.”
Our approach to school improvement reflects the culture that is at the heart of our trust: it is about building capacity from within, whilst recognising areas where we do not have sufficient in-trust capacity to improve. This model is designed to reflect the Trust’s goal to “be an organisation that delivers a balance between school autonomy and collective responsibility”. Within this model there is an expectation on senior leaders and our schools to be ‘involved’ in collective improvement. In this way we are looking to support headteachers and other senior leaders to be system leaders.
Our model drives improvement activity across our schools and builds expertise and specialisms from within. The graphic above drives improvement activity from below, helping to engage practitioners in cross trust work. We have in place a ‘hub’ system in which key drivers are prioritised for inter-school activity and development.
Our Executive Team drive our strategic priorities, working closely with our Board, to ensure that we can target whole trust needs. First and foremost for a trust that supports all phases of education the starting point has to be our youngest learners. For a number of years we have targeted oracy, reading, speech and communication which have become central pillars of our work with the aim of ensuring cultural capital is strong and that we can overcomes gaps that can emerge from being disadvantaged.
Yet equally important is the need to have the necessary expertise to support individual school improvement or need. In order to deliver on this we have in place systems that identify and use subject specialists that Headteachers can draw upon as a resource.
Whilst we look to drive improvement expertise and ownership from within there is a realisation that we can always learn from beyond the Trust. We believe in targeting excellent practice within the wider system and using that expertise to bring additionality to our resources.
A healthy balance between support and challenge is always necessary to ensure we deliver on our vision for the trust, for schools and for the communities that we serve. The graphic below describes the cyclical process that links learning, development, scrutiny and strategic planning:
In addition to the people mentioned below, who are in post, we have additional in-built capacity to add to our School Improvement Team. We have six TLEs (Trust Leaders of Education) who provide specialist support for improvement and each of our headteachers provide 12 days per year of inter Trust work as well as leading on a particular area(s) of work. This enables our model for school improvement to be both strategic as well as being able to respond quickly to need.