April 7, 2015

New Aspire Networks Launched

New NAHT Aspire Partner Schools Networks will be starting this term in East London, South East London, the East Midlands and the West Midlands. If you want to be involved in this exciting venture and are based in one of these areas, now is the time to act as a few places remain for schools to join the programme through to the end of June. The main focus of this term’s work will be to develop approaches that accelerate the progress of learners.  Network events and in school development work will take place right through the summer term to ensure that all participants will be in a position to make a great start to the new school year. . To find out more, please call the NAHT Aspire team on 0844 8099219 or visit

February 4, 2015

Congratulations to Somerhill Junior School

Congratulations to Somerhill Junior School in Hove who have received strong endorsement from Ofsted inspectors for the outstanding leadership and behaviour at the school. “Pupils’ enjoyment of school is infectious and they are very positive about all that the school offers. They arrive in the morning with smiles on their faces and leave looking forward to what they will be learning the next day. A large group of pupils in the playground agreed with one who said, ‘It’s great coming here. It’s so much fun to learn new things here and the teachers are great.’” “All leaders make an excellent contribution to creating a calm, hard-working, motivated school community where a culture of respect, strong values and excellent attitudes prevails.” For the past five terms, Somerhill Junior School has been a part of the NAHT Aspire school improvement programme. The full inspection report can be found on the Ofsted website.

The Quality Framework for Learning and Teaching™ goes online

A new online version of the Quality Framework for Learning and Teaching has been launched by EdisonLearning, the first in a new family of web-based School Improvement tools being developed to address some of the key challenges facing school leaders and governors today. Based on the original Quality Framework for Learning and Teaching resource which has been extensively used in schools since 2010, and which forms a key component of the  NAHT’s Aspire programme, QFLT Online provides an accessible and transparent platform through which teachers can reflect on their practice and be supported on their journey to become an outstanding professional practitioner. Further information on the Quality Framework for Learning and Teaching is available here.

January 7, 2015

Congratulations To Lovers’ Lane Primary School In Newark

“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.

November 24, 2014

Aspire to Excellence

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      

Assure and Aspire: strategic budgeting for school improvement

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 [...]

September 24, 2014

NAHT Assure – Managing Performance Related Pay

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.

May 3, 2014

Conference commends the approach of NAHT Aspire as a blueprint for the future

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.

April 14, 2014

Developing teaching at Thorpe Greenways

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.

January 30, 2014

Aspire, NAHT school improvement programme, makes strong start

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 [...]