School Improvement Offer
AAT is a multi-academy trust that is dedicated to providing the best possible standard of education to pupils in our nursery, primary and secondary academies across the south-east of England. We are determined that every child in our academies benefits from a challenging and knowledge rich curriculum that is expertly taught so that regardless of starting points, pupils are well equipped to be successful at the next stage of their education or transition to employment.
The AAT School Improvement Offer has been designed with two key strands that complement each other to ensure that every pupil in our school’s benefits from an excellent education. The entitlement strand encapsulates all that we do to deliver excellent curriculum and teaching. The assurance strand focuses on making sure that the actions we take to improve provision are the right ones and that we accurately evaluate the impact we are having.
Collaboration lies at the heart of the work of the Trust. Each school leadership team is responsible for ensuring the Trust vision is delivered with the support of colleagues in other schools and the Trust executive and central teams. Each school has its own unique identity and place in its local community. However, we have agreed common approaches that contribute to the cyclical school improvement cycle. More detail on these approaches can be found within this document.
Strand One – Entitlement
Being literate and numerate are the most important outcomes for our curriculum. Trust schools use the same approach to the teaching of phonics and have strong curriculums in place to ensure that every child is provided with the opportunity to learn to read successfully. Each school in the Trust is a member of its local maths hub and follows a mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics.
We have designed our own primary curriculum for science and most of the foundation subjects. This currently includes science, history, geography, art and design, design technology, wellbeing (PSHE and RSE) and RE. Curriculum design is focused on ensuring that substantive and disciplinary knowledge is taught so that pupils become knowledgeable in each subject area but also understand the distinctiveness of each subject and the role it plays in our understanding of the world. Each subject has key concepts identified that are revisited over time so that pupils develop a sound understanding as they progress through school. Work is underway on developing the equivalent for key stage three and for the remaining foundation subjects.
Our early years curriculum clearly sets out the knowledge and skills we want our pupils to master from birth to four. It is based firmly on the early years statutory framework but links to the AAT primary curriculum so that learning flows seamlessly from the reception year into year one.
Teaching and Learning
The Trust teaching and learning policy sets out the entitlement for pupils in our schools. It provides a top-level view of the most effective approaches to ensure that the curriculum is taught effectively so that pupils make strong progress across the curriculum. Schools are responsible for writing their own teaching and learning documentation that details how individual subjects are taught.
Collaboration is central to the work of the Trust. Our staff provide a deep pool of talent that have the skills and expertise to deliver great curriculum and teaching for all pupils. Our professional networks play a key role in delivering on our ambition for excellent provision in our schools.
Our regular heads meetings bring together school leaders and members of the executive and central teams. They are an important forum to deliver training, share best practice and provide a supportive network for our most senior leaders.
The early years network was the first professional network that was established. It has been pivotal in ensuring the early years curriculum is implemented effectively. In addition to this, it has provided training to leaders and helped improve compliance with the early years framework.
Our subject lead meetings are currently being setup. Their main purpose is to provide support to subject leaders in the effective implementation of the AAT curriculum and subject specific teaching and learning policies. In addition to this they provide an opportunity for feedback to the Trust curriculum development team and contribute to further improvements.
The Trust supports school in the administration of statutory assessments and the collection of data. In addition to this there is a consistent approach to the collection of summative assessment data from early years to year six. Approaches are carefully considered to make sure that data collected is valid and used in meaningful ways. Careful consideration is given
to the frequency of assessment and the associated workload. Trust schools make use of online assessment resources where appropriate to reduce the need for marking and to make analysis as straightforward as possible. The majority of the workload in collating statutory data is carried out by the Trust to reduce the burden on schools. Schools’ own assessment policies detail how formative assessment information is gathered and used to support pupil progress.
Strand Two – Assurance
School Improvement Planning and Self Evaluation
Schools in the Trust use the same approach to school improvement planning (SIP’s) and self-evaluation (SEF’s). Schools identify their SIP priorities from a range of evidence. They are supported to do this by the Trust. SIP’s are succinct and clearly describe the top level actions that will be taken to ensure that priorities are achieved. Success criteria are crafted for the end of the academic year so that an accurate evaluation can be made against priorities. Milestone documents are used to set clear points that leaders, local academy boards and the Trust can use to evaluate progress towards key priorities. Leaders write milestones using the following guides: ‘what you will see in the classroom’, ‘what will the impact be on pupils’ and ‘what system process or policy will be in place’. This ensures that the work of school staff is evaluated by its impact rather than activity. Sitting underneath the SIP, schools use their own approaches to ensure that the right actions are being taken to deliver against the SIP’s objectives. These include documents such as school calendars, monitoring timetables and training plans.
The Trust school improvement calendar is a dynamic document that schools use to ensure that they are compliant with the statutory guidance they are required to adhere to and the expectations of the Trust. It includes things such as deadlines for publishing pupil premium strategies, statutory assessment dates and timelines for the writing, delivery and evaluation of school improvement strategies.
Provision reviews are conducted annually in Trust schools. Each school has a team of staff who are trained in gathering the views of stakeholders on the quality of provision. The outcome from the provision review is a succinct document that sets out the school’s definition of high-quality provision. The review is used for a variety of reasons including supporting school’s in ensuring that pupils who require it have provision that is in addition to or different from the core offer for all pupils. From a quality assurance perspective, the provision review provides a clear description of what high quality provision looks like and is used to benchmark leaders’ evaluations.
The Trust works with external consultants to support quality assurance in a variety of ways. In the recent past a review of governance was carried out with the recommendations implemented to further strengthen the role of the Trust board. At a school level, the same consultant has been used to carry out school reviews and in some cases, provide follow up visits. The information collected has been used by school leaders to support the school improvement process and by the Trust to allocate support and resources.
The Trust makes careful use of performance metrics to contribute to accurate self-evaluation. This allows for resources to be deployed effectively, ensuring maximum impact and value for money. Standardised approaches to school and Trust operation help ensure that metrics collected are valid, comparable and support evaluation across all functions of the Trust. Pupil outcomes are evaluated through the collection of statutory assessments and a range of national comparators. Each school in the Trust uses the same management information system, human resources portal and financial management software. This allows operational effectiveness to be evaluated and contributes to strategic planning.