School Improvement

School Improvement in the University of Chichester Academy Trust

Our vision is for all young people to be inspired by an excellent education, raising aspirations and enriching lives.  Our deep roots in educational research, teacher development and social justice mean we find innovative ways to create excellence.  Our Education Development Team works within the University’s Outstanding Institute of Education and in our academies supporting delivery of:

  • learning and society – a curriculum enabling pupils to achieve more with a strong sense of community;
  • strategic leadership – developing leadership capacity/impact;
  • collective responsibility – supporting strategically-planned staff collaboration, raising standards, embedding evidence-based practices.

This programme provides access to curated academic research, structured opportunities for practitioner research and support for curriculum development:

  • developing impactful pedagogies;
  • building collective curriculum knowledge, improving leadership/management of inclusive, equitable and diverse offers;
  • ensuring all pupils, particularly the most disadvantaged, have strong, secure core and foundation subject knowledge.

Developing confident, aspirational learners, we will promote emotional, mental and physical well-being.  Supporting positive dispositions and a strong sense of self, enables all learners to flourish, realising their potential.

Our systems for monitoring performance and standards for individual pupils and the school as a whole.

Well-established monitoring systems include ambitious pupil targets, with whole-Trust focus on raising standards and pupil attainment/achievement at individual and cohort level – typically at the top 5th percentile of similar schools.  Data is used intelligently and creatively, informing teaching and raising pupil attainment/achievement.  Our accountability structures are woven through classroom teacher, academy leaders, central team, local governing bodies and Trust Board. 

We use a blend of independent external assessment, central team members and peers to quality assure performance, set regular new aspirational targets and engage in rigorous, robust self-evaluation. Setting Ofsted-aligned key performance indicators (KPIs) ensures our academies’ success and includes absolute and comparative measures. Governance structures focus on how successfully leaders achieve and exceed contextual targets.

How do we ensure that the curriculum and performance meet the needs of all pupils?

Our academies have control over their own curriculum, but increasingly we are using the power of our collective endeavour to improve the curriculum for all pupils. We all use the same systematic synthetic phonics programme, Little Wandle. From 2023 our curriculum will be designed by our Trust Subject Curators – expert groups of teachers and University staff, from EY to KS4. Our understanding of the demands of the secondary curriculum informs our high expectations for all pupils. They will identify the key concepts and knowledge pupils need to progress, sequence that carefully over 12 years and map the assessment needed to ensure pupils’ needs are met. Teachers will adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of their pupils.  Skilful use of assessment will ensure teachers plan adaptations for individuals or groups.  Pupils’ progress is tracked through monitoring of books and outcomes of common summative assessment tasks.

Personal development is a strength of our academies through our emphasis on outdoor learning and play using schemes like Forest Schools.  For example, the Outstanding, coherently planned personal development programme at Bordon Junior which includes school leadership opportunities and a wide range of enriching and inspiring experiences.

Our academies provide all learners with a broad, balanced curriculum based on the national curriculum, personalised to individual abilities, skills, aptitudes and aspirations, and incorporating all aspects of their personal, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. 

Our approach to providing extended learning opportunities outside the normal school day.

As a Trust we enrich our pupils’ and communities’ experiences through a substantial, varied wrap-around offer, complementing the formal curriculum with extended day programmes; a broad range of activities, including study support and family learning.  We support our communities, working closely with pre-school providers and after school community child-care, seeking out opportunities for community capacity building.

How do we ensure strong leadership, management and governance?

Ethical leadership aligned to Nolan principles is the critical factor in developing outstanding schools; we grow leaders, providing tailored support, creating robust succession, through CPD, mentoring/coaching, opportunities for acting-up/secondment.  Our co-leadership model ensures synergy of strength making Trust leadership greater than the sum of its parts.  Trust leaders are active local systems leaders, working closely with other schools locally/regionally, engaging in collaborative, cross-Trust working including peer enquiry.  Academy leaders drive the strategic development of the Trust, informed by feedback and engagement from stakeholders.  Headteachers and Chairs of governors play important Trust leadership roles.  Our robust governance structure includes delegated decision-making to committees.

Challenge and support for schools is commissioned from Academy Improvement Partners (AIPs) with oversight from the Director of Standards and Effectiveness to whom they report.

Our Board uses detailed qualitative/quantitative data, makes accurate performance judgements and robust strategic decision-making is evidence-based.  For effective accountability, Trust senior staff support our academies’ governing bodies.