Our name means something in that all our schools are equal partners. We want to ensure that all members gain the considerable benefits of being part of the group whilst enjoying flexibility at school level. This allows significant room for creativity and good practice under a strong framework of support.
Our Headteachers are part of the executive leadership group in our organisation and therefore contribute significantly to how we develop and move forwards as a partnership. We recognise that our schools are at different stages of their journey so we ensure that
we can be flexible and agile, developing bespoke support for individual schools where needed.
Why are Trusts a Good Thing?
Trusts are specialist organisations set up to run and improve schools. Our schools work together in a group as one entity to improve and maintain high educational standards across the group whilst retaining individuality and identity at school level. Our partnership model outlines our collaborative framework for working together and gives a flavour of what schools are involved in, the support they receive and the benefits they receive from being part of the partnership.
A group of schools working together in a single entity can do lots of things which are harder for stand-alone schools to achieve.
Our partnership model is designed to maximise the following benefits:
- Teachers across schools work and learn together to improve the way they teach
- Schools share practices that make a difference to the quality of teaching
- Teachers and leaders can work together on the things that matter – like curriculum and assessment
- It is more possible for teachers and leaders to support other schools to help improve the quality of education
- More development opportunities for staff to lead projects across schools
- Ability to offer bespoke school improvement services based on school needs
- It is more possible to be efficient – and thereby to invest money in supporting pupils to have wider opportunities
- Shared workload and shared accountability.
Our Partnership Model
We work together to ensure that all staff can be the best they can be in order to provide exceptional opportunities and experiences for our pupils. Key to the success of our partnership is the collaborative way in which we work together. We have a framework of key processes and a cycle of activities across our schools which enable our leaders to support the development of their school.
We have worked together to produce a set of curriculum principles for all Oak Learning Partnership Schools. These identify where we align whilst ensuring each school has the freedom to design its curriculum offer for its pupils and community.
View our Curriculum Principles page to learn more.
Instructional Coaching and CPD
We are passionate about supporting our people to develop the best possible practice in their role. A well-defined and relevant Professional Development offer to all staff is an essential component of our work. Instructional Coaching is our main driver for support and professional development. We ensure that our schools get the training and support they need to run this successfully.
School Improvement Cycle
The Oak Learning Partnership School Improvement Cycle describes the processes we use to improve our schools. It includes a yearly calendar of school improvement activities. These are designed to ensure a structured approach to quality assurance.
The activities take place in all our schools but are designed to be used flexibly according to the needs of the school.
Inclusion is at the heart of our trust. We ensure the best possible inclusive practice and support through access to a range of specialist resources, advice and facilitators, including our trust-wide Safeguarding Lead, well-being practitioners and SEN team. We also offer a range of inclusion packages to schools outside our partnership. Our SENCO network allows us to develop partnerships working across our schools, to support the needs of all pupils and to develop the expertise of our staff.
We are always evaluating how we strike a good balance between alignment, support and individual approaches. We want our leaders to be free to run their schools in a way which is right for their local context whilst still gaining the many benefits from being part of a partnership.
Headteacher & Leadership Support
Being a Headteacher can be a lonely position and we believe that having someone who has a deep knowledge of school improvement to discuss things with and run things by allows our heads to feel well supported and informed.
We ensure that each Headteacher has an entitlement to regular leadership coaching from a member of the Executive Team and we encourage leaders from across our schools to make links with their peers. All our leaders are registered with key professional bodies and networks so they are well informed of any educational developments. We provide our Heads with simple and easy to follow frameworks around reporting to their board and to external bodies, and to assist tracking performance. We also provide significant support around Ofsted preparation, making sure we ease the burden of what can be a very stressful situation for leaders and schools.
Regular meetings which include Headteachers ensure that all of our schools have a voice in the developments across the trust. This allows leaders to shape the strategic direction of the trust, address priorities and share good practice and expertise. We ensure that leaders feel heard on trust-wide projects and that they provide input so they are comfortable with how it might fit with their local context. We have network groups which work across schools which include subject specific, SEND and safeguarding in order to share good practice and support one another across the trust.
Professional Development and Training
Working together in a strong trust can facilitate better professional development and better teaching which results in improvement for pupils. We know that each of our schools has different priorities so we are careful to choose centrally-provided training to meet all schools needs and then provide bespoke support for individual school priorities. This includes school-led CPD, bespoke senior and middle leader training, school to school support and access to high-quality external programmes such as NPQs. We are developing a model of best practice around meeting SEND learners needs so that we can support schools to be highly inclusive and effective in their practice.
Centralised Business Support
We know that the one thing that makes the biggest difference to all learners is the quality of the curriculum and teaching in their schools. We also know that a school as an employer has many responsibilities and needs to be compliant and efficient in a number of areas. These might not be considered educational but if they don’t run well they can cause a distraction to leaders in schools and become a drain on their time. Our model of centralising and simplifying all aspects of business support and providing close assistance where needed is aimed at making the jobs of the Headteachers and their leadership teams more straightforward, giving peace of mind.
We believe that one of the major benefits of being in our partnership is the ability to centralise all business support. Central policies streamline procedures within all our partner schools and ensure consistency. Our Central Team of specialists in key business areas provide an infrastructure covering core business operations so that school leaders are free to really focus on developing the quality of education in their schools.
Our central finance staff ensure financial stability and help achieve best value and best practice for each of our partner schools. Services provided to our schools by our Central Team include:
- Access to a web-based financial planning and accounting system
- Provision of monthly financial management and information reports
- Arrangement of internal and external audits
- Completion of ESFA, HMRS and VAT reports
- Guidance for procurement
- Provision of accounting policies and practices
- Support with income generation
- Bank account management including BACS processing and bank reconciliation
The Central Team’s HR staff undertake a range of functions on behalf of schools, and their services include the provision of:
- Recruitment campaigns and the completion of pre-employment checks
- Access to a fully integrated HR and payroll system
- Trust policies and support to assist with Safer recruitment, Sickness absence, Leave of absence, and Grievance, disciplinary and capability
- Access to Single Central Record Software and monthly audits of the Single Central Record
- Support with occupational health and counselling referrals
- Legal support
- Pension Scheme administration
Our estates team manages health and safety and buildings-related issues and maximises development opportunities for each partner school. Their services include:
- Submission of CIF bids
- Health and Safety support including risk assessments
- Administration of Risk Protection Arrangements
- Commissioning and leading building projects
The trust’s IT strategy is driven centrally, with the trust taking responsibility for ensuring that the needs of each school are met. The services provided include:
- Creation of a 5 year plan
- Access to trust Office 365 tenant and email address
- Website design and support
- Compliance audits of websites
Our partners all have the reassurance that compliance issues are managed centrally. Our Central Team provides:
- Trust-wide policies
- To the services of a Data Protection Officer
- Subscription to the CST which provides summary reports and updates on the most recent changes in guidance from the DfE, Ofsted and other national agencies
- To the CPD Platform The National College
- To Evolve education visits system