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Essendine and Hallfield Primary Schools Partnership Rationale

 

Creating a self-sustaining model of continuing school improvement, December 2018

 

Our Vision

Essendine and Hallfield primary schools serve socially and culturally diverse local communities. We operate successfully and effectively in challenging urban contexts in central London. Our schools are very inclusive places, in which pupils are treated as individuals and learn to become confident, creative and strong members of their community.

 

Both schools have a successful track record of effective collaboration, having been rated good by Ofsted in the past year, and provide care and education for their local communities from the ages of 2-11. However, we are well aware that we must constantly look for ways of improving the experience we offer, continuing to aspire to high outcomes for our whole school communities. That is why in partnership with one another, we are proposing to explore new opportunities to strengthen the partnership working through the establishment of a strategic committee comprising of governor representation from each school. The core values of self-help, self-responsibility and democracy will be built into our proposed partnership, reflecting our intention to strengthen the involvement of everyone in our learning community.

 

We intend to keep the best of our own traditions while matching the best practice in other schools, analysing our strengths and weaknesses more vigorously than ever before. We want every child to get the very best out of their education and become resilient and sustainable learners to enable success in their learning and future lives.

 

Through our partnership, our mission is to provide resilience in the ever changing landscape of education whilst at the same time protecting the identities and individual characters of each school. We will do this through increasing links with: our neighbours, professional colleagues from social care and health and through working collaboratively with businesses and charities to remove the barriers that impact negatively upon pupils’ achievement.

 

To achieve our mission, we will:

  1. Drive forward sustainable school improvement.

  2. Motivate and retain outstanding leadership that will significantly raise standards and progress for all of our children.

  3. Recruit, train and retain the very best teachers through continued patronisation of the School Direct Programme and career development.

  4. Develop outstanding teaching for all our learners, embedding rigorous standards, in curriculum and assessment.

  5. Enrich the curriculum by providing innovative opportunities to develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the world, raising self-esteem and promoting pupil wellbeing.

  6. Increase the level of aspiration and opportunities for our communities.

  7. Review opportunities to increase financial benefits and efficiencies across the two schools.

 

We will build stronger and long-lasting partnership between our schools, work with education partners and maintain the strong and beneficial relationship we have with the Local Authority. In so doing, we believe we will establish a system of self-sustaining continuing school improvement with outstanding and innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

 

Introduction and background

The Governing Boards of Essendine Primary School and Hallfield Primary School, which are separate stand-alone, state-maintained schools, are proposing to strengthen existing partnership through further developing school to school support and establish a strategic committee comprising of governor representation from each school. This leaflet explains what this will mean for parent/carers, pupils, staff and interested parties.

 

Essendine is a two-form entry primary school with a nursery. In total there are 420 children on roll aged between 2 and 11 years old at the school. The school is located in Maida Vale. The school was categorised as “Good” by OFSTED in December 2017.

 

Hallfield is a two-form entry primary school with a nursery. In total there are 420 children on roll aged between 2 and 11 years old. The school is located in Bayswater. The school was categorised as “Good” by OFSTED in March 2018.

 

Both our schools have large and inclusive communities who are passionate about ensuring the best for the children who attend.

 

Our two schools already have a track record of successful informal loose collaboration since October 2016. During the course of this collaboration, both schools have been able to successfully work together to strengthen education provision, created opportunities for continuing professional development for staff and benefited from the commission of external specialist services.

 

Following this successful collaboration, the two Governing Boards wish to strengthen the partnership working through the establishment of a strategic committee comprising of governor representation from each school. This will enable both schools to further embed relationships, producing tangible outcomes for pupils through a model of a formal partnership. In taking this step of working more closely together, we firmly believe it is in the interest of both schools and the wider communities we serve.

 

What is a partnership?

School to school support is a highly effective structure, providing maintained schools with the opportunity to form partnerships in order to improve the education of pupils. This enables governors and school leaders to focus on forming relationships between schools first, and then joint leadership, governance and business management. This can be done while still remaining a maintained school, so the process is much more focused on relationship building and producing tangible outcomes for pupils.

 

Our proposed partnership would maintain each school as separate stand-alone, state-maintained schools each with its own governing board, but establish a joint committee with representatives from each governing board who oversee the strategic direction of the partnership. The proposed model therefore maintains Essendine and Hallfield as separate schools, but with a joint committee that would seek to build on the strengths of the two schools. The joint committee can make budgetary recommendations for the group which in turn would have to be approved by each individual school’s governing board.

 

The immediate day-to-day experience for parents, children and staff would change very little. Both schools in in the partnership would continue to be individual schools with their own character. The names of the schools, school uniform arrangements and identities of Essendine and Hallfield would continue as before. Each school would retain its own budget. Schools in a partnership are inspected separately and will be given an individual OFSTED report.

 

The admissions policies of both schools would remain unchanged by this proposal and under the auspices of Westminster City Council.

 

Lisa Farrow would remain the Headteacher of Essendine and Aaron Sumner would remain the Headteacher of Hallfield, working with the joint strategic federation committee and reporting to their respective Governing Boards.

 

The staffing of the two schools would remain largely unchanged, though the partnership of both schools would enable some staff to work flexibly across both settings, in accordance with their terms and conditions of employment. Common management positions and appointments made as a result of the partnership would have a protocol or contract that underpins a commitment to shared posts.

 

Reasons for partnership

Our partnership would build upon a track record of successful loose collaboration between Essendine and Hallfield. We believe that coming together in a partnership with a joint strategic federation committee would further improve outcomes for children by:

 

  1. Motivating and retaining good leadership that will significantly raise standards and progress for all of our children.
  2. Having a direct impact on the ability to provide children with outstanding teaching by attracting, and retaining the best teachers through the provision of more opportunities for career development.
  3. Increasing financial benefits and efficiencies across the two schools.
  4. Providing resilience in the face of the politicization of education whilst at the same time protecting the identities and individual characters in each school.

 

As a result, schools working in partnerships have the following advantages:

  • A better, broader offer for pupils both curricular and extra-curricular

  • More opportunities to employ specialist staff

  • More continuing professional development for staff

  • Better recruitment, succession planning & retention of staff

  • Moderating and benchmarking: same systems of assessment, data and finances

  • Learning from each other

  • More capacity for innovation

  • Ability to procure joint services, e.g. speech and language therapy

  • A stronger model of governance

     

Structure of the partnership

A memorandum of understanding will be established and agreed between Essendine and Hallfield Governing boards. The memorandum of understanding will set out the principles for the ways in which both schools will work together and share information. It is not legally binding, however, it is a governing board commitment to work together to strengthen the partnership of schools and support sustained school improvement.

 

Governance

The partnership will establish a joint strategic committee consisting of the Headteacher and two nominated governors from each school. The joint committee will annually elect one of its members as chairs and will meet at least three times a year.

 

The functions of the committee

  • To set aims and targets for the partnership and monitor progress against them.

  • To ensure that an appropriate Partnership Improvement Plan is in place and to

  • To monitor and review progress against it.

  • To make recommendations for action to the governing bodies of the individual schools

 

Powers of the joint committee

The joint committee has no legal powers; any decision requiring approval at governor level would need to be taken for approval to the boards of governors of the individual schools. Any approach from another school wishing to join the partnership would be discussed at the next meeting of the joint committee.

 

Summary and recommendation

We believe that by entering into a formal partnership we can continue to build on the gains of our previous loose collaboration, for the benefit of all pupils at both schools and their communities.

 

The shared governance structure of a joint strategic committee will allow our schools to work together efficiently and sustainably to continue to raise standards, improve services and increase opportunities for pupils and staff.

 

The Governing Boards of Essendine and Hallfield have independently considered both the potential benefits and drawbacks of a partnership alongside other alternatives or remaining as we are.

 


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