School improvement is led by the CEO, supported by a dedicated team of Zenith staff, working alongside Headteachers, school leaders, and teaching/support staff. Our highly experienced Trust Board and Local Governing Bodies play a key part in ensuring this work is as effective as possible.
Our three year Trust CPD priorities have been co-constructed to support and complement our schools’ individual key priorities. For 2021-2024 our key aims are:
1. Students’ progress, outcomes, and well-being are good and increasingly outstanding, and all schools are at least good, because high quality, seamlessly aligned Trust and school CPD for all staff is well led, linked to outcomes, addresses needs, and harnesses the power of networks both to challenge and support. As a result, students benefit from a well-trained staff working within a clear accountability framework, who are committed to equity, and have high expectations for all.
2. Students’ progress, outcomes, and well-being are consistently good and increasingly outstanding, and students who are MA, PP, or have SEND, especially boys, achieve well, because CPD re curriculum planning, pedagogy, and interventions reflects best practice based on research.
3. Students achieve well, because the Zenith Institute provides high quality, bespoke, CPD ‘on demand’. This supports a strong culture of CPD where all staff buy into their schools’ / Zenith’s vision, and take ownership of their training to do the best possible job in their roles.
4. Students achieve well, because the CPD offer provides appropriate high quality training and a career development journey across all stages, with staff envisaging their whole career within Zenith. As a result, recruitment and retention are strong, and continuity is ensured.
5. Students achieve well, because CPD re self-evaluation, planning, QA, and leading change ensures leadership is strong. Staff are deployed across the Trust strategically to accelerate school improvement and develop them as leaders, thus ensuring strong succession planning.
As part of our increasing investment in CPD across our schools, we have a specialist team of Trust Deputy Headteachers and Trust Lead Practitioners, who provide both expertise and additional capacity as required. The team operates within agreed protocols to ensure high levels of buy-in and engagement from staff, and they work closely with our Headteachers to ensure their work is both strategic and effective. They are all based in a school, but have dedicated out-reach time across the Trust linked to a key priority area.
Our Ways of Working
All our schools are different, and as such have different school improvement priorities and possible ways of working. However, to ensure we genuinely harness the power of our network of schools, and to ensure sustainable improvements, we have adopted some common practices/systems:
- All Headteachers have access to a dedicated leadership coach, who has led an outstanding school and/or been a National Leader of Education. This provides both thinking space, challenge and ideas, but also extra capacity to be deployed as required; for example, working with senior leaders on a key priority.
- All our schools follow a common, robust, evidenced-based format for self-evaluation and school improvement planning based on intended outcomes.
- All our schools, both as contributors and recipients, take part in collaborative reviews to improve provision.
- Staff are deployed across the Trust to provide specialist support and capacity as required, and also as part of their own CPD/career development. However, we are always mindful of not draining capacity from the donor school. All our schools both give and receive support.
- All staff are actively encouraged to pursue professional learning/qualifications, for example National Professional Qualifications. The Trust uses its apprenticeship levy to access funding for courses such as MScs.
- Network meetings and Trust twilight INSETs provide additional opportunities for staff to reflect, and share best practice; for example, moderation activities or subject planning meetings.
- Outside experts are commissioned to provide extra support and ensure the Trust remains outward-facing. They conduct external reviews as requested, providing both external critique and challenge, as well as new ideas.