“Leaders and managers at all levels have convincingly improved every aspect of pupils’ experience at school as well as developing their own strengths through training” The full report is available on the Ofsted website. Lovers’ Lane were also featured in a recent article about the NAHT Aspire programme in Leadership Focus. The magazine can be read online here.
NAHT Aspire features in this month’s edition of Leadership Focus with an article exploring the distinctive characteristics of the Aspire programme and the experiences of schools engaged in the pilot programme. Click here to read this month’s edition
NAHT’s new school improvement programme, Aspire, is currently being piloted in 30 primary schools working in four regional networks in the north midlands, Bristol, Kent, Sussex and Essex. The programme takes a holistic and interconnected approach towards developing a highly effective school through a supportive and collaborative approach that delivers reliable results. The decision to engage with the Aspire programme is a significant one for all schools. It represents an opportunity to bring together all aspects of school improvement and CPD into a focused and joined-up strategy, but it also presents a challenge around how a budget area that has traditionally been distributed across many individual line items might be rationalised most effectively. For schools that have made the step into the Aspire programme, there is recognition that whilst the costs of the programme are broadly in line with historic expenditure patterns, this new approach demands a new mind-set towards budget setting based on future investment in staff and systems, as opposed to historic practice. Schools looking to invest in greatness through a programme such as NAHT Aspire need to develop their budget from the question, "what kind of school do we want to be and how do we financially plan to get there?" It is a question of investment for the future, and distinguishing cost from value. Commenting on the budgeting process, NAHT Assure head of finance, Trish Cain, states: “Increasingly schools and academies are becoming much more focussed on individual line items in their budgets, and this is a good thing generally as it potentially contributes to operational savings. However it also leads to greater spending scope and the ability to see how to allocate budget to activities that will definitely move the school [...]
The purpose of this guide is to provide school and academy leaders with a useful aide memoire to help manage end of year appraisals and performance related pay. There are many scenarios in which a member of staff might not agree with their appraisal and subsequent pay award. In these cases they have the right to appeal either informally, in writing to the pay committee, or through a hearing of the pay appeals committee whose decision is final. The points below are designed to act as a useful guide to managing the pay appeals process. You can download the guide by clicking here.
In a motion proposed by Dr Roan Tutt and seconded by Chris Harrison, the conference commended the approach of NAHT Aspire Project with a 100% response. NAHT Aspire demonstrates the benefits of the school improvement agenda being taken back into the hands of the profession. The conferenced urged that all political parties should be lobbied to endorse this way of working as a blueprint for the future.
Developing teaching is on the minds of many school leaders. Headteacher of Thorpe Greenways Federation (Southend-on-Sea), Ashley Eastwood talks to the Aspire team about the impact and approaches used to improve consistency of teaching using the NAHT Aspire Quality Framework for Learning and Teaching. Ashley has clearly adopted and embedded this approach into the life of the school and he makes some interesting observations on how he has made it effective.
Aspire, NAHT school improvement programme, makes strong start. School leaders’ union NAHT has welcomed the first independent evaluation of its pilot school improvement programme, which indicates the scheme has made a strong start. NAHT introduced the programme, Aspire, last year to help 30 primary schools in the ‘requires improvement’ category get to ‘good’ in three years. NAHT Aspire works with the schools to build capacity and sustainability for improvement for the longer term. The programme draws together clusters of schools to gain advice from peers and experts to help tackle specific issues blocking a school’s progress. NAHT members in successful schools provide oversight of the clusters. A report into the progress of Aspire conducted independently by the University of Derby shows that, after the first few months of the programme, participants are making positive progress: six out of the 30 schools have already achieved a ‘good’ rating early in the three year programme. Of the 66 respondents who answered an online survey about their early experience of Aspire: 100 per cent said the initial phase designed to help schools identify problems and draw up a plan of action was professionally supported; 98 per cent said the early analysis had helped them to prioritise actions to support change; 95 per cent said the process made them think about new approaches to school improvement. When asked what had changed in their schools as a consequence of taking part in the initial analysis, quotes included: Staff morale is better, improved teaching, improved target-setting, improved understanding and analysis of data, improved marking Tighter focus on teaching and learning as core to raising standards We have very precise areas that we know need rapid action, feel confident about those areas [...]
Gareth Hill, a teacher from Willow Brook Primary School in Colchester, has conducted his teacher appraisal with his Headteacher, Jo Newitt using the Quality Framework for Learning and Teaching to support the process. The use of QFLT has meant that Jo has been able to keep in mind the broader school goals whilst maintaining a clear focus with Gareth about what needs to take place in the classroom. Gareth has used the QFLT to help shape his own targets and to take full ownership of his development. The Quality Framework provides a very logical guide for thinking about what I need to do, as a professional, to meet my objectives. The full teacher appraisal video is available as part of the QFLT package.
Barry Read, Headteacher of RJ Mitchell Primary School in Hornchurch has been using QFLT to run his teacher appraisal scheme this year. His view is extremely encouraging and just what we like to hear. The Performance Management Reviews are going really well and the Quality Framework folder is really helping. The staff feel much more part of the process and the targets they have chosen generally reflect what we would have chosen for them. It was a worthwhile exercise and all staff have seemed to engage more in the process. It does not feel to them like a put upon but more of a partnership exercise. The whole thing just seemed to flow more and the conversations were deeper.