The Partner Schools Programme is a three year, research based partnership that is designed to build capacity within participating schools to bring about durable improvement. Typically, schools work in networks of five to ten schools, supported by two Achievement Advisers. Headteachers and designated middle leaders share some days together each term (Network Days) which are followed up in the schools (Development Days). Whilst it is not designed as a ‘quick fix’ the Partnership does include elements aimed at addressing urgent pupil progress issues from the start.


Who is The Partner Schools Programme for?

While the Partner Schools Programme is relevant to all schools, because it is geared to bridging the gap between where schools start and what highly effective schools do worldwide, it resonates particularly strongly with schools who have committed themselves to a process of significant change. Whilst many schools will appreciate the Partnership as a resolute way of moving from ‘Requiring Improvement’ to ‘Good’, schools that are already considered ‘Good’ can build toward being ‘Outstanding’ and those that are already viewed as ‘Outstanding’ can find innovative ways to develop practice to new levels of excellence.

The Partnership is unlikely to be fruitful if leaders in the school are seeking to be told specific interventions, are looking for quick fix / bolted on solutions to difficulties they are facing or are antipathetic to the idea of collaborating or working in networks with other schools.


What is The Partner Schools Programme based upon?

The Partnership steers schools toward a set of Features of Highly Effective Schools through five cumulative and interconnected strands of activity that have been identified in global research on school efficacy. The five Strands are:

This develops: clarity of vision, distributed leadership, effective team working, responsibilities & accountabilities, and the leadership skills of every staff member.
This focuses on the systematic development of a strong set of shared values that underpin codes of conduct throughout the school that drive improvement in behaviours for learning and the quality of relationships between staff, pupils and the wider community.
This ensures timely and effective use of assessment data at every level within the school to drive improvement, focus intervention and develop day-to-day classroom practices.
This involves improving the quality of teaching for learning through an observation and coaching model anchored by a framework that captures effective practice in transparent and accessible language.
This helps schools to create contexts for learning which ensure the success of every pupil, engage parents and other agencies effectively, and use resources well to support learners with additional needs.

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What does the Partner Schools Programme comprise?

The Partner Schools Programme’s distinctiveness is reflected in three complementary elements,  People, Product and Process.

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What does it look like in practice?

Implementation empowers school leaders and facilitates the management of change. Network Days bring together Strand leaders to prepare, forward plan and anticipate obstacles. Subsequent Development Days provide coaching and support in school from advisers to see plans through to successful implementation.

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What are some of the distinctive differences between NAHT Aspire and other types of school improvement support?

There are a number of distinctive aspects of the partner relationship that can be characterised as “Done with, not done to”, channelled through the development of distributed leadership and team working within the school. The cycle of network and development days ensures continuity and a community of professional practice both within and across schools. The partnership brings a variety of practical and fresh approaches and tools to developing the quality of teaching and assessment, building skills for learning and pupil voice.


Can it deal with urgency?

The model recognises that there is a need to tackle some urgent priorities to secure progress for some pupils, this is done through the Precision Pedagogy component; but at the same time it provides a root from which to grow universal improvements in learning for every pupil as the partnership progresses.