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Developing a School-Led Improvement System

Page last updated: 26/08/2022

​​A successful school partnerships conference was held on Thursday 13 February 2020, where Headteachers and CEOs from Partnerships and MATs worked together to reflect on whether the mutual benefit of partnership/MAT collaboration was being achieved and sustained to raise outcomes for children and young people. The day drew on international research, exploring the leadership skills required for leading collaborative school improvement and how these can influence how individual schools are led and looked at how the benefit of collaborative work could be maximised through deepening the practice of peer review and extending the reach and impact of effective collaboration to all parts of the school system. The presentation from the conference can be found here.​

You can also take a look at the presentation from the May 2019 conference.

​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 supported the School Led Improvement System strategy by supporting partnership with a pump priming grant and training in Peer Review. A web based Partnership Evaluation and Development Tool is currently being trialled which we hope to roll out to all Partnership Leads in the autumn 2020. 

Essex County Council are working in collaboration with the Education Development Trust to benefit from the work they are undertaking nationally and internationally with school partnerships. 

A Project Board was set up in 2015 to oversee and support the development and growing maturity of the School Led Improvement System strategy. 

The members of the Board are:

  • ​Clare Kershaw, Director of Education
  • Gillian Cawley, Independent Chair
  • Nicola Woolf, LA Lead for the School Improvement System Strategy
  • Alex Abercrombie, Education Delivery Manager
  • Dianne Ryan, ESSET
  • Jo Coton, Academy Trust Representative
  • Maria Shepherd, Diocese of Brentwood
  • Carrie Prior, Church of England Diocese representative
  • Pam Langmead, EPHA
  • Rod Lane, Vice Chair of ESGA
  • Ruth Bird, Chair of ESGA
  • John Hunter, Governor of a Special School
  • Simon Thompson, ASHE
  • Stephen Chynoweth, Head of Education and Early Years, North East
  • David Bome, Chair of North East Quadrant Meeting
  • Vacant, Chair of Mid Quadrant Meeting
  • Colin Raraty, Chair of West Quadrant Meeting
  • Vacant, Chair of South Quadrant Meeting
  • Simon Rea, ISOS Partnership
From the Summer Term 2018, Quadrant meetings have been introduced where leads of Partnerships meet with the Teaching School Alliances with EPHA and ASHE to discuss locality school improvement needs. The Chairs of these meetings are:
  • ​West - Colin Raraty, Headteacher at Rodings Primary School
  • South - Sue Jackson, Headteacher at Lee Cha​pel Primary School
  • Mid - Dawn Baker, CEO of HERA Academy Trust
  • North East - David Bome, Headteacher at Copford CofE Primary School

​Development of the School Led Improvement Strategy

A piece has been written about how the School Led Improvement Strategy has developed over the last two to three years and the positive impact this strategy is having. It demonstrates how much has been achieved in Essex with this strategy and how the collaboration between the Local Authority, Schools, Teaching School Alliances and the Professional Associations has led to very positive outcomes. 
​Please contact Nicola Woolf on with any feedback. 

School Led Improvement System Partnerships & Leads of Partnerships

School Led Improvement System Project Board

Useful Resources

Peer Review Case Studies

National Research Documents​

​​​For further information, please contact Nicola Woolf at​