School to School Support
LTSA has a cadre of System Leaders which includes, Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs), Local Leaders of Education (LLEs) and National Leaders of Education (NLEs). Supporting other schools is an effective form of development for SLEs and delivers benefits in terms of retention and improvement to their own school. Within LTSA we believe that students have the right to be taught by skilled teachers. We believe teachers should be supported to develop the skill set and knowledge they need to meet the needs of their learners. In some cases a generic programme focussed on leadership, pedagogy or subject knowledge is not as effective as individual bespoke support. Alliance schools have nominated staff with the skill set to support colleagues. They have been trained and accredited as SLEs in order to ensure the quality and consistency of the support they can offer. Schools can either identify specific needs and then commission support through the S2S support process or, commission support to identify areas of need and then provide a package of support. Bespoke support allows for individualised support of sustained duration which is likely to generate the greatest impact. Early identification and request for support ensure the maximum amount of time is available across an academic year for an impact to be realised.
Effective examples of S2S support
We were aware that one of our teachers was struggling with some aspects of their teaching. We had tried to support them internally but we only have a small department of staff. It was felt that someone from another school might have the knowledge and experience needed to help them develop more rapidly. By identifying this need and commissioning the support ahead of the new academic year we were able to align the work with the staff members CPD and appraisal for the year. This approach meant the teacher felt the support was integral to what they were expected to be involved with during that year creating greater impact. We have a really strong practitioner but they have been with us for a long time and work in a very small department. We felt that we weren’t supporting them to develop as much as they wanted to or to create the curriculum we all wanted for our learners. They had some ideas about what they wanted to develop from attending the Subject Leader meetings and had met people at those meetings who were wanting to develop similar ideas. We were able to commission some support for them to work with one of those colleagues in a peer to peer approach. We then built it into the department plan and their professional development for the year creating the space for them to dedicate time to it. The two staff agreed what they wanted to work on and visited each other’s schools as part of this work. Our staff member was clear that this approach really speeded up the work to develop our curriculum and created a much better offer than they would have come up with alone. We’ve noticed how revitalised they now are as a result of the professional collaboration they have been involved with.