What is the NAHT Aspire Programme?
Aspire was developed between NAHT and EdisonLearning and a three year partnership created to build capacity within participating schools and bring about sustainable improvement. At the centre of the partnership is the 5 Strand Design and the 30 Features of Highly Effective Schools. Developed from international research the 5 Strands encompass Leadership, Pedagogy and Curriculum, Learning Environment, Assessment for Learning and Student and Family Support. Typically, schools work in networks of four to six schools with Headteachers and designated middle leaders sharing some days together each term (Network Days) which are followed up in the schools (Development Days).
All Aspire programmes begin with the Collaborative Quality Analysis, (CQA) a peer led, self-review process, it provides a comprehensive baseline of strengths and weaknesses that are mapped against the 5 Strand Design from where development priorities are identified and refined, and against which progress is monitored.
Schools are supported through the programme by a team of Advisers, who all offer extensive and highly credible experience from across the education spectrum. Advisers develop a deep understanding of their school partners and ensure that each school’s implementation plan is relevant, focused and monitored through a robust termly review cycle involving leaders, advisers and governors. This cyclical approach ensures that short-term goals are effectively driven, that implementation plans are adapted to meet changing priorities, and that the school’s long-term vision is retained as the ultimate aim of the school improvement work.
Who is Aspire for?
The NAHT Aspire Programme is relevant to all schools. Geared to bridging the gap between where schools start, identified in the CQA, and what highly effective schools do worldwide, it resonates particularly strongly with schools who have committed themselves to a process of significant change. Conceived as a model for a resolute way of moving from ‘Requiring Improvement’ to ‘Good’, schools that are already considered ‘Good’ are joining the programme to build towards being ‘Outstanding’ and those that are already viewed as ‘Outstanding’ are finding innovative ways to develop practice to new levels of excellence.
Aspire Components are derived from the Aspire Programme and designed to address key school improvement issues. Ideally suited for schools seeking to focus on specific school improvement issues, rather than implement school-wide transformation as in the Aspire Programme. Each of the tools reflects what research and evidence tells us makes the greatest impact and can be used as an entry to the wider Aspire improvement programme:
The perfect starting point for exciting, engaging and motivating learning that schools can continue to develop innovatively to suit their own context.
Is a research-based approach designed for schools to ensure that every pupil develops the essential skills for learning and life. It supports teachers with their PSHE curriculum and supports schools in meeting the requirements for the Prevent strategy.
Is an online and physical resource that describes all that teachers do to enable great learning. It helps teachers to identify development needs, and examine the behaviours they see when those needs have been met.
A school leadership development tool that supports schools in translating the theory of great leadership into the everyday practice of all leaders, thus maximising the impact of school leadership on learner outcomes.
An online pupil tracking tool that incorporates our Achievement Statements (as well as the Learning and Life Skills ‘I can’ Statements). It is designed primarily to support teachers to finely focus their planning,choices of teaching method and assessment criteria.
What are the benefits?
Independent research from the University of Derby and current Ofsted inspection results have shown Aspire to be an effective and sustainable model of school improvement that has continued since 2013:
86 Aspire schools have been inspected since the start of the pilot, at the outset only 14 of the 86 schools were rated Good or above (16%) after inspection 54 schools (62%) and were rated Good or Outstanding.
73% of pilot schools improved their rating by at least one judgement in their most recent Ofsted inspection.
Aspire is applicable to schools rated Inadequate. Our 2 schools rated Inadequate on joining the programme improved their rating to RI and Good respectively.
Aspire pilot schools had twice the improvement of schools nationally for progress and attainment, with strong gains in mathematics at level 5.
Half of Aspire schools have demonstrated a transformational improvement of 10% or more in the percentage of pupils attaining Level 4 or above in reading, writing and mathematics combined.
95% of Aspire pilot schools said that the NAHT Aspire school improvement programme was either very appropriate or appropriate for their school with 88% stating Aspire covered all or most areas of school improvement.
90% of Aspire pilot schools were overwhelmingly positive about their experiences and the impact on the whole school with 78% of survey respondents believing that NAHT Aspire has provided good value for money.
Become an Accredited Partner
We have designed the NAHT Aspire programme to encourage school to school collaboration, and its long-term sustainability depends on growing a strong network of school-based partners. As an Accredited Partner your organisation could be responsible for the development and delivery of the Aspire Programme and Aspire Components in an area or for a group of schools.
What would an Accredited Partner organisation look like? Most likely that your organisation is leading a Teaching School Alliance or that you are already supporting school improvement through other programmes and models. If this applies to your organisation we would be interested to hear from you.