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Developing a School-Led Improvement System

Page last updated: 07/12/2023

​​​​​​Local Authorities have a vital role in supporting and challenging local schools to improve and in tackling under performance, however the context in which LAs support school improvement has changed significantly.  Schools are being given increased autonomy and are therefore expected to take more responsibility for their own improvement.  LAs have responded in a variety of ways to this challenge; however a common model is to develop a range of school improvement partnerships where schools work together to lead a ‘self-improving’ model.

Essex County Council has developed a School Partnership Strategy in collaboration with schools, diocese and governors. 

The Essex School Partnership vision is:

We believe that every school in Essex should actively engage in a formal school partnership with a number of schools. Children and families of school communities will benefit from the strength of schools working in collaboration with each other rather than in isolation, particularly in these challenging times. Partnerships will also provide a key role in supporting leader wellbeing, which is essential at this time. 

The type of partnership is less important than its ability to share practice and capacity, hold schools within the partnership to account in mutually reinforcing ways, and enable schools to access the support they need. The aim is to have a positive impact on school improvement and outcomes for children.  

Within these partnerships, schools will work together to develop and share best practice, utilising a system of peer reviews and self-evaluation. System Leaders will play a key role in enabling schools in the partnership to improve and empower schools across Essex to own and develop their own future.

A School Partnership Board oversees the strategy, the members are:

  • Clare Kershaw, Director of Education

  • Nicola Woolf, Assistant Director of Education (West) / LA Lead for the School Led Improvement System Strategy - Chair

  • Alex Abercrombie, SEND Strategy Lead

  • Stephen Chynoweth, Head of Education and Early Years (North East)

  • Carrie Prior, Church of England Diocese Representative

  • Maria Shepherd, Catholic Church Representative

  • Colin Raraty, Chair of West Quadrant Meeting

  • Dida Burrell, Chair of Mid Quadrant Meeting

  • Katherine Parker, Co-Chair of South Quadrant Meeting

  • Heidi Blakeley, Co-Chair of South Quadrant Meeting

  • Nicky Patrick, Co-Chair of North-East Quadrant Meeting 

  • Kerry Malcolm, Co-Chair of North-East Quadrant Meeting 

  • Emily Welton, ESSET

  • Carole Herman, ASHE

  • Pam Langmead, EPHA

  • Ruth Bird, Chair of ESGA

  • Rod Lane, Primary Governor

  • John Hunter, Governor of a Special School

  • Jo Cotton, Academy Trust Representative

  • Ruth Collen, Minute Taker

Quadrant meetings happen termly where Leads of Partnerships meet with the Teaching School Hubs and LA colleagues to discuss locality school improvement needs. The Chairs of these meetings are:

  • Colin Raraty, Chair of West Quadrant Meeting

  • Dida Burrell, Chair of Mid Quadrant Meeting

  • Katherine Parker, Co-Chair of South Quadrant Meeting

  • Heidi Blakeley, Co-Chair of South Quadrant Meeting

  • Nicky Patrick, Co-Chair of North-East Quadrant Meeting 

  • Kerry Malcolm, Co-Chair of North-East Quadrant Meeting​

​School Partnerships & Leads of Partnerships

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