School Improvement Offer
Challenge and Support
We provide challenge and support to all our member schools, regardless of where they are in their improvement journey. Benefits to member schools include:
Executive Coaching for Headteachers
We believe in the transformational impact of coaching and the feedback from Headteachers suggests that you agree. We will again be providing access to coaching as part of our membership offer in 2023-24.
- All Headteachers will benefit from the opportunity to work with one of our experienced Leadership Coaches. These are all ex-Headteachers or system leaders who are working across the country
- Every Headteacher receives three coaching sessions per year
- Coaching sessions are conducted online or face-to-face to meet Headteachers’ needs
Enhanced Support for New Headteachers
Taking on a headship is both exciting and challenging. We understand the need for advice and to have access to colleagues who can help you. We believe it is vital to be part of a supportive and collaborative network of Headteachers as you start your headship in Tower Hamlets. New Headteachers will benefit from an excellent induction and support package covering the first two years of headship, including:
- New Headteacher Induction Programme
- Headteacher mentor and buddy from within our member schools
- New Headteacher network ‘Meet Ups’
- Finance training
- 3 additional Leadership Consultant visits in each of the first two years
- 3 additional Executive Coaching sessions in each of the first two years
On-demand Support, Advice and Guidance
We understand the importance of being able to get in touch to seek advice on a range of issues. Being a member of THE Partnership means you are never alone - we are always at the other end of an email or phone. We will try to provide the support, advice and guidance you need or will signpost you to the right agencies or people to help if we believe that will provide the best solution.
Keeping in Touch/Communication
Our member surveys identify that what members most value from us is communication - keeping in regular touch and providing opportunities for you to connect and keep in touch with each other. This highly valued member service will continue in 2023-24 through:
- Regular Keep in Touch (KiT) bulletins including DfE, Ofsted and Public Health updates
- The fortnightly THEP Bulletin with information about training and events
- Regular THE Partnership Headteacher Meetings including leadership thinking and practical takeaways
- Headteacher virtual coffee mornings responsive to emerging issues and your needs
- Increasing use of social media and online forums
Ofsted Inspection Support
Drawing on the wealth of experience in our team, including first-hand and recent inspection experience, we will continue to support member schools as they prepare for Ofsted inspections, through:
- Regular Ofsted Briefings and updates on the Education Inspection Framework
- Signposting to Ofsted research, webinars and training and dissemination of key findings from Ofsted reports
- Sharing of learning and intelligence from recent member schools’ inspections
- On-call responses to queries from schools anticipating an Ofsted inspection
- Support with preparation for inspection, including the Ofsted pre-inspection telephone call
- On-call support from the moment your inspection is announced through to publication of your inspection report
We believe that a school-led system is the best way to improve outcomes for all young people in Tower Hamlets and so, if the need arises, we use our knowledge of all member schools to broker school-to-school support, finding the best partnership for you. Leaders and schools providing the support are able to contribute to the system whilst also building their professional experience. If appropriate, we will also draw upon our wide pool of high-quality and vastly experienced associate consultants and networks.
Knowledge Exchange and Collaborative Research
We are committed to promoting collaboration and joint practice development between our member schools particularly where they may be working on similar projects or tackling common challenges. Learning with, and from, each other is a cornerstone of our work as a professional learning community and helps build capacity in the system. All our 90+ member schools have exemplary practice to share, through:
We believe that schools thrive when they learn from and with each other in a spirit of trust and collaboration. Peer learning is integral to effective collaboration and is complementary to other components of our school improvement offer. In 2023-24, our Peer Learning Model will continue to facilitate sharing practice and learning from each other collaboratively, whereby:
- All member schools are strongly encouraged to play an active role in the Peer Learning process with over 70% of all our member schools engaged in 2022-23
- Working within clusters enables colleagues to build professional networks, engage in joint-problem solving and share best practice
- Peer Learning enables schools to bring in externality and peer-to-peer challenge and support
Working as part of a collaborative subject network provides a rich opportunity to share good practice, build expertise and keep up to date with the latest developments in curriculum areas. Leadership networks provide the space for colleagues to challenge and support each other. All network meetings provide excellent professional learning and information-sharing opportunities. Our networks include:
- 5 Primary subject networks
- 9 Secondary subject networks
- 6 Leadership networks
- Secondary Headteachers’ Collaborative
- Special Schools Learning Partnership
Member schools are able to access all networks FREE of charge – even if you only have 3 staff attending network meetings, membership will save your school £1,000 a year. For those networks led by our member schools, an annual payment is made to schools for each network lead.
Curriculum Projects and Research
We believe in the value of evidence-based school improvement strategies and will seek out and create opportunities for schools to be involved in a range of projects.
Over the last two years, working with nationally recognised experts, our member schools have had the opportunity to participate in a range of projects including in grammar, oracy, mathematics, science, history and geography. Research undertaken in some of these projects has been published and disseminated.
We intend to offer further project opportunities to our member schools in 2023-24.
Think Tanks & Roundtable Discussions
We will provide opportunities to engage in Think Tanks and collaborative Roundtable events and, where possible, include leading educationalists and policy makers.
Our partnership with Sam Freedman enables us to horizon-scan and explore the education context with termly Think Tanks.
Previously, we have also had Sir Tim Brighouse, Mick Waters, Sir Kevan Collins, Sir Alasdair Macdonald, Maggie Farrar and Dame Alison Peacock join our discussions.
We are committed to creating an environment where Tower Hamlets is the best place in the country to grow and be challenged as a leader and teacher. To this end, we are committed to designing and offering a high-quality professional learning offer for all our schools. Alongside the leadership programmes included in our Professional Learning Offer, we provide the following opportunities through the Membership Offer:
We are delighted to work together with the Headteachers’ Committee in supporting the annual Tower Hamlets Headteachers’ Conference. The programme for 2023 will be decided later in the year but we will work with the Headteachers’ Committee to provide another strong line-up and we will continue to subsidise the cost of attending for Headteachers of member schools.
Our annual Assistant and Deputy Headteachers’ Conference in Spring brings together renowned speakers, local school leaders and THEP to invest in our senior leader talent pipeline. In 2023 we welcomed Dr Emma Kell and Thahmina Begum as our keynote speakers. This is valuable opportunity to grow professional networks and share knowledge across the system.
Following the success of these events in recent years, we will continue to run them in 2023-24. The aim of Spotlight events is to bring colleagues from member schools together to explore in-depth an element of leadership thinking and current research. These online, hour-long events help us to feed our leadership learning and share ideas with colleagues in breakout rooms. At a time when so much of our energy gets drawn down and in, Spotlights are designed to help you look up and out. Recent themes have included Courageous Conversations, Recruitment and Retention Strategies and Managing Industrial Action.
Sustainable Leadership Task and Finish Group
We know that as many as 40-50% of school leaders, nationally, have indicated that they intend to leave the profession in the next 3-5 years (T. Greany et al 2021). This group, made up of current Headteachers and senior leaders from our member schools is working to explore how we retain our current school leaders and develop our talent pipeline of future school leaders effectively. A THEP White Paper will be published in 2023 along with the launch of the TH_IS strategy and Senior Leadership Internship Programme.
BAME Leadership Strategy Steering Group
Building a workforce of school leaders that reflect the diversity of our communities is a priority for Tower Hamlets. This group, made up of current Headteachers and senior leaders from Tower Hamlets is exploring the barriers, challenges and opportunities for BAME colleagues and how we can grow this talent pool, ensuring that school leadership is an exciting and desirable ambition for which they are prepared and equipped. Our third cohort of the BAME Middle Leader programme, in partnership with Swanlea School, is underway; we have identified a team of leadership coaches to support senior leaders and are working closely with the LA and wider organisations in Tower Hamlets to identify good practice in recruitment and retention. A networking conference is planned for 2023.
We work in partnership with Tower Hamlets Governor Services to offer all our schools professional learning for Governors that focuses school improvement including leadership, including:
- Holding your school leaders to account: data, evidence, support & challenge
- Understanding school finances
- Ofsted and governance
- Sustainable Leadership and Talent Development
- Workshops at the Annual Governors Conference