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The core ethos of the Trust can be summarised in three words:

  • Collaborate  - The Trust is committed to enabling schools to work together and learning from each other and sharing good practice.
  • Learn  - the culture of learning and being outward facing and striving to improve practice is paramount and fundamental to the working of the Trust
  • Achieve – in working together and learning from each other we will raise achievement and thereby improve life chances of the children in our care

The Trust is relatively small and committed to remaining so, and geographically centred so that all schools are accessible to each other within a lunch hour.  We believe this facilitates and promotes the sharing and ethos of collaboration.

Why is partnership working across The Spire Church of England Learning Trust schools so successful?

Our success is underpinned by nine essential features:

  1. Shared Christian values which permeate the schools and curriculum we offer
  2. Shared aims – we are ambitious for all and we pledge to provide the best possible service for all the children in our classes.  We promise to care enough and to challenge enough, so we can say with honesty and pride that every child here is supported to become the best they can be, regardless of their circumstance or starting point.
  3. A relentless focus on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment – a compelling curriculum, skillful pedagogy and rich assessment
  4. A strong belief in the value and potential of every child, no matter what their background – an ethical excellence
  5. A deep commitment to professional development across the whole trust - high quality, meaningful learning for children and evidence-based, outward learning for staff.
  6. Commitment to the success of other schools in the trust as much as to the success of our own school – one for all and all for one
  7. Quality assurance.  That is, rigorous self-evaluation and peer review of the quality of work in all our schools
  8. Sharing data and using it analytically to improve our performance – raising standards higher, faster and stronger
  9. Using resources where they are most needed in the trust.

What are the key advantages of becoming part of The Spire Church of England Learning Trust?

  1. Your school already feels part of the diocesan family and therefore joining The Spire Church of England Learning Trust is a natural extension of this relationship.
  2. Your membership is seen as a way of strengthening the Christian ethos of a school embracing the mission to nurture the whole child, encouraging them to flourish as a child of God; spiritually, morally, socially, culturally as well as academically. 
  3. The Spire Church of England Learning Trust offers a school improvement strategy that is explicitly underpinned by Christian Distinctiveness can ensure that School Improvement and Christian Distinctiveness are not viewed as mutually exclusive.
  4. As a Church of England Learning Trust, The Spire enables governors and leaders to come together and take responsibility to provide better education in their community, rather than just in their individual schools, supported by a Christian ethos.

What will membership of The Spire Church of England Learning Trust mean in my school?

1. Improved outcomes for pupils, for example:

  • Improvement in pupil progress and attainment
  • Improvement in the quality and consistency of teaching and learning
  • Links with pupils in other schools, which will lead to a greater sense of social responsibility, improved attendance and behaviour and a more outward looking perspective amongst pupils

2. Access to a wider range of professional practice, for example:

  • Working alongside a wider group of professional colleagues enables teachers to share and develop practice together
  • Cross phase access provides insight into other phases of education
  • Reciprocal visits provide opportunities for teachers to benchmark their practice against other schools and opportunities for longer secondments are possible
  • University accredited programmes bespoke to your context

3. Cost effectiveness, for example:

  • Shared area provision enables some courses to be offered which might otherwise have proved unviable
  • Sharing of external providers or joint purchasing of equipment and resources save on costs
  • Sharing of specialist facilities, for example in music or sport

4. Recruitment and retention, for example:

  • By raising the status of the school in the local community, schools often became popular and oversubscribed – schools ‘of choice’ for parents
  • Additional challenge and motivation for outstanding school leaders means that they are more likely to remain in post for longer
  • Developing and aspiring leaders can be promoted – often to other schools within the partnership

5. Raised capacity and morale, for example:

  • The process of supporting others typically enables practitioners to develop their own professional learning, challenging and extending their own practice
  • By building capacity, supported schools soon find themselves in a position to support others
  • Pupils often enter secondary education enthused and ready to continue their study of specialist subjects, such as science or modern foreign languages

 

 

How we work with our schools?

We categorise our schools to identify support proportionate to need. There are 5 categories:

1a Trust excellence

 

1b Outstanding

 

2   Good

 

3   Requires improvement

Schools causing concern

4   Inadequate

Subject to the Rapid Improvement Model

 

Schools causing concern will typically achieve Trust Excellence within 12 terms.

1a Trust excellence

Within 12 terms

1b Outstanding

2   Good

By the end of year 1

3   Requires improvement

Schools causing concern

4   Inadequate

Subject to the Rapid Improvement Model

 

What is our offer to schools?

  1. School Improvement

The trust will deliver high quality education at every school within the trust through a fit for purpose school improvement model.  The individual school’s model matches current performance and capacity to make rapid improvement. The model becoming less directive as the school delivers ambitious improvement outcomes and demonstrates the capacity to sustain improvement.

All schools will have an external quality assurance visit on an annual basis.  The purpose of the visit, an annual health check which will also include a discrete safeguarding element. The trust believes all schools benefit of regular external validation of their judgements. The standard of ‘trust excellence’ depends on robust challenge and ambition.  All schools will make use of the trust’s data dashboard and receive support to produce robust data summaries five times per year.

Schools will be able to agree additional support and have access to the trust’s professional development programme.

For Schools that are judged inadequate the aim is to promptly establish significant and rapid improvement.  The trust will secure targeted support from across the MAT as required- e.g. teaching staff may transfer to support the existing staff to quickly raise standards of achievement; develop an appropriate curriculum and assessment systems, implementing robust performance management systems, pedagogy and coaching. 

In addition to the offer for all schools, these schools will have two further quality assurance visits from an external adviser.  The trust will also insist on intensive leadership support through its Spire Challenge Partners SCP) and School Improvement Advisers (SIA).  Each school will be allocated its own ACP and SIA.  In these schools, the roles will be as follows:

Spire Challenge Partner will meet with the headteacher and chair of governors once per term. Together they will evaluate progress against a time-limited improvement plan and hold leaders to account for progress making astute recommendations for next steps. (3 days pa)

School Improvement Adviser will assess critically the school’s self-evaluation form (SEF) and data dashboard.  Based on the outcomes, the adviser will support the writing of a robust 6-weekly Raising Attainment and Progress Plan (RAPP).  This will take place six times per academic year at half termly intervals.  They will also provide targeted and intensive support across the year as part of the rolling RAAP. (25 days pa)

In addition, the SIA will broker other necessary support from trust approved providers, including core subject SLEs, as well as external support that the MAT has access to.

Established school leaders from within the trust will add capacity until a substantive headteacher is appointed and has completed the induction period.

For Schools that require improvement the trust’s improvement model changes to secure sustainable improvement and capacity building.

In addition to the offer for all schools, these schools will have two further quality assurance visits from an external adviser.  The trust will also insist on intensive leadership support through its Spire Challenge Partners (SCP) and School Improvement Advisers (SIA).  Each school will be allocated its own ACP and SIA.  In these schools, the roles will be as follows:

Spire Challenge Partner will meet with the headteacher and chair of governors once per term for half a day. The partner will challenge judgements and support leaders to determine the best next steps. (1.5 days pa)

School Improvement Adviser will continue to assess critically the school’s self-evaluation form (SEF) and data dashboard.  Based on the outcomes, the adviser will support the writing of a robust 6-weekly Raising Attainment and Progress Plan (RAPP).  This will take place six times per academic year at half termly intervals.  They will also provide targeted and intensive support across the year as part of the rolling RAAP. (18 days pa).

In addition, the SIA will broker other necessary support from the trust’s approved providers, including core subject SLEs, as well as external support that the MAT has access to. Pockets of good practice at the school maybe brokered into other settings.

For schools judged to be good or better, the aim is to ensure they sustain excellence, through succession planning and developing staff at all levels. Lead professionals within the MAT will work alongside the leadership teams to develop and deepen an ethos of enquiry focus and learning. Teachers and other staff will be expected to support other schools in their improvement through sharing best practice distributing innovation. Schools will be encouraged to internally and externally network across the MAT and with other schools/academies.

  1. Professional development

Spire run a suite of leadership courses, provide bespoke leadership coaching and mentors for all new headteachers