Information Sharing

Schools agree to share their school development priorities. This enables us to compile an overview of plans for the entire network.

Using the matrix to identify schools with similar priorities, we are able to put together project teams, maximising use of resources and minimising duplication of work. Schools collaborate, typically in "triads" or "quartets", linking key members of staff. This not only enables the SDP objectives to be met, but also provides valuable leadership and networking opportunities for school staff.

Staff Development

Schools collaborate to provide NQT and induction training, middle and senior leadership development, and relevant skills and knowledge for all staff.

NQTs are able to see good practice in other schools, and schools can tap into a bank of experienced teachers and specialists from across the network.

Collaboration across key stages results in a greater understanding of child development, pedagogy and curriculum progression.

The annual shared INSET day brings together staff from across the network. The programme of workshops is designed to meet the demands of the shared SDP priorities, so schools' training budgets are used to maximum effect. In a single day, school staff may participate in training which addresses many of their SDP objectives. The buying power of the network means that we can invest in high quality speakers and we can tailor the agenda precisely to local needs.

Strategic Leadership

Regular structured dialogue at the Heads', Governors' and Business Managers' meetings results in all schools having a consistently rigorous approach to school improvement.

All meetings are planned and committed to diaries in advance, and coordinated with citywide meetings. Our administrator coordinates agendas with the chairs of the groups, organises venues, circulates papers in advance, minutes meetings and publishes relevant documentation.

Heads' meetings are attended by Early Help, which ensures everyone is well informed about services available to support children, and enables schools to contribute to the improvement of the Early Help offer. We also have termly reports from Schools Forum, so we are able to plan for the impact of budget changes and we can submit responses to consultation on behalf of the network. Our termly "heard it on the grapevine" agenda item enables us to share important news, particularly about statutory requirements which may not have been widely publicised. Examples have included the discretionary 2% pay increase for teachers on M6 in the teachers' pay and conditions document in 2015, the change of teacher assessment deadline for KS1 and 2 in 2016 and the obligation to offer free school milk to FSM pupils in KS2.

Governors' meetings have opened up a valuable new layer of dialogue, raising awareness of common ground and enhancing the skillset  of each governing body by tapping into a larger pool of expertise. Governors who have attended NW24 meetings have found that they are better equipped to serve their own schools as a result of their connection with the greater community.

Business Managers' meetings have addressed the subject of business continuity and sustainability, recognising that we all share responsibility for educating the children who live within our communities, whichever school they attend. The greater the degree of trust between the schools in the network, the more potential there is to explore cost efficiencies through bulk purchasing and shared contracts.

Collaborative Reviews

Incisive, invitational, outcome focussed meetings between school leaders contribute to an effective school self-evaluation system.

Schools have been organised into groups of 4 and during the course of the year, each school in turn invites colleagues in their group to spend half a day looking at a school development issue in depth.

The outcomes of these collaborative reviews are compiled and shared, in the interests of transparency and generosity. Thought provoking questions spread through all the network schools, encouraging a healthy and productive evaluation of established practices.

Reviews to date have looked at: quality of teaching and learning in literacy; most effective deployment of non-class teaching staff to secure pupil outcomes; strategies used to address discrepancies arising from Raise Online analysis of data.

Outcomes of reviews are shared within schools with senior management teams and governors, and issues raised inform school development plans. Progress is also followed up by the group at subsequent meetings.

Curriculum and Assessment

Network groups have been established in response to demand: currently there are regular meetings of the Literacy, Numeracy, Deputy Heads and SENCO networks. Additional networks are being set up for Pupil Premium Leads and Learning Mentors.

The network is able to buy in the services of SLEs from the local Teaching Schools to provide training for staff and briefings for Heads. We also have access to a wealth of expertise within our schools, which means we can provide training on a wide range of subjects without the need to buy in external contractors.

We organise moderation days for Key Stage 1 and 2 teacher assessments, facilitated by specialists from the Bristol Primary Teaching Schools Alliance, so that all of our schools can take a consistent approach to the implementation of the government's assessment strategy.

The network groups are able to share resources on the NW24 website.