Effective School-to-School Working
  • Comes from knowing your own school really well and being demanding about what your school needs. Matching areas of strength to areas needing support is important in this. Schools need to focus on identifying what they need in their school and use partnerships with other schools to access capacity or capability to improve. Schools should choose, lead or create the right partnership for them and hold it to account for impact on their school’s capacity to improve.
  • Works best when it is about practice. The biggest impact is where headteachers have enabled teachers to work together in a focused way on an area of practice they want to improve or develop and share across a group of schools and that will improve pupils’ learning and achievement.
  • Is all about developing teachers and leaders and succession planning. If funding and planning are done well, school-to-school working means identifying talented staff and releasing them to grow and develop through working with other schools to develop practice.
  • Means taking (measurable) risks for example, in staffing structures and ‘enquiry’ led practice developments. Impact measures are key and evaluation and risk management vital but some of our work means backing initiative, innovation and ‘tall poppies’ to bring real shifts in how schools work.
  • Often works better when schools are different and not close to each other. Although this brings different logistical challenges, school partnership working has worked best where schools are not serving similar catchments.
  • When it is led by schools (but with sufficient organisational capacity to get things going). This means that school leaders need to spend time directing what is needed, should be supported to do so, albeit from within a limited funding envelope, and in the Consortium and Local Authority staff need to be able to administer systems efficiently.
  • Takes time and funding. This work is not about quick fixes nor is it cheap, it is about building capacity and capability in leadership of school improvement. Accountability regimes need to recognise that whilst some benefits are already evident, the real benefits may take some time.
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