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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:

Academy Improvement Meetings (AIM)

Purpose

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:

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 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.

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:

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.