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Rationale

Trustees 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 moving from a very challenging place to becoming a good academy, others will be looking to progress to outstanding.  Those that 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 the needs of each academy, providing the necessary challenge and support to help them in achieving the very best they can for their children and young people.  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 (AID)

In the near future, the Trust will employ an Academy Improvement Director whose role will be to support academy improvement.  

Each of our academies will entitled to six days of improvement support provided or facilitated by our AID.  These days will 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 will be available to all academies as part of the core service offered by the Trust.  The use of the six days will be flexible and provides our academies with the opportunity to gain the maximum benefit from these sessions.

The AID will work closely with head teachers, 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 will be the conduit for information to the Chief Executive to report on progress and areas for on-going development.  The AID will also provide clear information to the Board regarding the quality of provision and performance of all the academies.  Our AID will be a suitably qualified person with significant experience of school leadership, school-to-school support and inspection.

As we develop our work, 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, we would engage expert practitioners from elsewhere, as well as independent consultants, to provide targeted support focused on the needs of the individual academy.  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 consultation with the academy, the delivery of appropriate support from an alternative provider.  We would actively promote strong partnerships with other 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 Academy. 

A Shared Approach to Securing ongoing success

As part of our commitment to ensuring all our children and young people achieve highly, our academies are engaged in similar monitoring and evaluation processes.  In addition to class and subject teachers’ regular monitoring of progress, each academy identifies three time slots a year when the progress of learners across all subject areas and age groups is reviewed, evaluated and reported upon at Academy Improvement Meetings.  This enables the AID to address any progress issues promptly and allocate additional support where it is needed.

Academy Development Days

Additional development days will be provided by the AID to address needs arising from Academy Improvement Meetings.  The AID may also broker any additional improvement support required from other head teachers and senior leaders within the Trust or external consultants.  The majority of this additional time will generally be spent with those academies who have not yet been judged good but can be provided for any academy as required.

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 Head Teacher, the Academy Improvement Director, the Chief Executive and the Finance Director.

Academies which are seeking to sustain a good judgement and aiming for outstanding will wish to allocate Academy improvement / development resources and collaborate with other academies to enhance professional development and provision through such programmes as Aspire.

Building Capacity within the Trust

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.

Senior and middle leaders are involved in academy evaluation and improvement work.  The Trust has a growing database of expertise it can draw upon to support academy improvement and is continuously increasing its capacity through training and development opportunities.

Joint Practice Development

Underpinning all of the above is the on-going practice development that takes place within the Trust.  Examples of these include:

  • Development of peer to peer academy improvement support
  • Middle Leader development programme, NPQML
  • Senior Leader development programme, NPQSL
  • Headteacher development programme
  • Network meetings for groups of leaders, e.g. SENCOs, English Leaders
  • Moderation meetings
  • Trust INSET day activities
  • NQT mentoring
  • Coaching and mentoring programme
  • Use of Iris Connect

Academy Improvement Meetings (AIM)

Purpose

  • For Trustees, the Chief Executive, the Academy Improvement Director (AID), academy leaders and local governors to evaluate the progress of each academy within the Trust.
  • A key expectation will be that the AIM evaluates and reports on the extent to which the academy is providing good or better provision and outcomes for all learners.
  • For the Headteacher and the academy to provide evidence to support an accurate judgement about the progress the academy is making and the action it is taking to ensure sustained improvement.
  • To consider the academy’s progress in the light of agreed priorities and targets including national floor standards, academy improvement plans, agreed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and success criteria.
  • To ask an academy’s leaders to respond to questions, give their view on the progress the academy is making and explore the key issues in the academy.
  • To review amend or confirm the academy’s priorities for improvement.
  • To support and, if necessary, redirect resources and priorities to support improvement.
  • To inform strategic decisions about future development, support and challenge.
  • To identify strengths and successes as well as areas for development and barriers to improvement such that academies can support each other and share good practice.

One week prior to the AIM, the Academy Improvement Director will circulate the following documents by email to all attendees.  The detail of the agenda will have been agreed with the Headteacher in advance of sending it out:

  • Agenda
  • Report from the previous AIM.

Leaders of each academy are responsible for circulating the following documents by email to all AIM attendees, one week before the meeting:

  • A report from the academy leader (this may also double as a part of the Self Evaluation Form (SEF) for the Academy or the Headteacher Report to governors) giving clear judgements and supportive evidence of progress and standards in the areas of achievement, teaching and learning, behaviour and safety and the quality of leadership and management
  • Additional data or information which the academy leader may feel is helpful to support an understanding of the context of the academy and aspects of its improvement
  • The most recent set of achievement data

The meetings will generally last for two hours and maintain a sharp focus on identifying the next steps for improvement, as well as celebrating successes.  These meetings will take place three times per year, in the majority of cases unless a different arrangement has been agreed with the academy.

  • Meetings will normally be chaired by the AID
  • Notes will be seen by the Headteacher and Chair of LGB prior to circulation, to check for accuracy and to ensure there is consistency with the agenda
  • The role of the AID will be to provide appropriate challenge and support to the Academy
  • The AID will spend time looking at appropriate evidence in preparation for the meeting
  • Meetings will use evidence gathered prior to the visit and during the monitoring aspects of the visit (typically undertaken the day before the AIM)
  • Evidence will be sought and discussed under the main inspection headings and summary comment will be made against each of the aspects, giving an indication of where the academy stands in relation to potential inspection judgements
  • It will not be possible to look at each area in detail so a focus should be agreed for each meeting such that all areas will be covered over a period of time

Academy Improvement Meeting attendees: Academy Improvement Director (Chair); Headteacher; Chair of Local Governing Board or Chair of Learning, Teaching Student Welfare Committee; Partner Headteacher.

Interim Academy Improvement Meetings (iAIMs)

These will take place 3 times per year where an academy is considered to be less than good (inspection or self-evaluation) or as agreed/requested in good/outstanding academies.  The focus will be:

  • Learning walk through the academy, observing teaching, learning and looking at evidence of children’s work (this should typically last for between 30-60 minutes and be led by the Headteacher) – focus on the main areas for improvement and demonstrating progress made so far;
  • Discussion relating to main actions from previous AIM;
  • What has been achieved so far?  What is outstanding?  What is the plan for completion?
  • Identification of other emerging priorities;
  • Actions to be accomplished by the time of the next AIM;
  • Identification of support that may be required before that meeting;
  • The visit should last between 2-3 hours, including the learning walk.

A brief report will be supplied soon after the meeting which will summarise the above.

Interim Academy Improvement Meeting attendees: Academy Improvement Director (Chair); Headteacher; Chair of Local Governing Board or Chair of Learning, Teaching Student Welfare Committee; Partner Headteacher.

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.