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School Improvement Partner

A School Improvement Partner provides professional challenge and support to the school, helping its leadership to evaluate its performance, identify priorities for improvement, and plan effective change.  The school improvement partner acts for the local authority and is the main channel for local authority communication about school improvement with the school.

The guiding principles of the school improvement partner's work are:
• Focus on pupil progress and attainment across the ability range, and the many factors which influence it, including pupil well-being, extended services and parental involvement;
• Respect for the school's autonomy to plan its development, starting from the school's self-evaluation and the needs of the pupils and of other members of the school community;
• Professional challenge and support, so that the school's practice and performance are improved; and • evidence-based assessment of the school's performance and its strategies for improving teaching and learning.

The core functions include advice to the school's governing body on the performance management of the head teacher and the school's performance management arrangements.  On average, a school improvement partner should devote five days to a school every year.  Generally around 3 days of this takes place in school, whilst preparation - reading and report-writing for example – occurs out of school and accounts for the balance of the time.  The order of activities is discussed and agreed between the school improvement partner and head teacher taking into account the school's planning cycle and priorities.  Every school improvement partner sets aside a total of four additional days a year for professional development and for national, regional and local networking.

This networking provides opportunities for communicating and sharing information, for example from and with the local Learning and Skills Council (LSC) or Government Office, who have important contributions to make.  Local authorities and the National Strategies school improvement partner team are responsible for coordinating these contributions locally, regionally and nationally.

The School Improvement Partner has a limited number of exchanges with the school's leadership about how well the school is serving its pupils and how the school needs to improve.  These exchanges vary from school to school, but have a common core:
• School’s self-evaluation, linked to the Ofsted self-evaluation form (SEF)
• School’s development plan
• Information on how the school ensures pupils make progress and addresses, where appropriate, the five outcomes from Every Child Matters; school- and pupil-level data and analyses; value for money comparisons; most recent Ofsted report; and local authority briefing on local issues.
• How well is the school performing?
• What are the key factors?
• What are the key priorities and targets for improvement?
• How will the school achieve them?
• Report to head teacher, governors, local authority on: self-evaluation; priorities and targets; action; package of support including engagement with other schools and or agencies.
• Commentary on specialism/s ( where relevant)
• Head teacher’s performance and school’s performance management systems; Advice to governing body on head teacher performance management and school’s PM systems.


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Director:  Dr. Dave Anderson, B.Ed, B.A. (Hons), M.A., MSc.

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