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AIM Partnership An Introduction


Introduction The AIM Partnership was formed to create a community of like-minded schools seeking to collaborate together to improve educational outcomes by working “Stronger In Partnership� to promote great teaching and learning.

Mission To combine our strengths and talents to improve the learning outcomes and life chances of a broader group of children.

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Introduction Woodcote Primary School is a founding member of The AIM Partnership. It is a popular four-form entry primary school in Coulsdon, Surrey. The current leadership team has transformed teaching and learning and moved the school from an Ofsted “Requires Improvement” judgement to “Outstanding” in less than 2 years. It was awarded the accolade, “Croydon School of the Year” and was the first school in Croydon to achieve full assurance from audit. Over the past two years, Woodcote Primary has been supporting other schools with curriculum and leadership development and now has a full school improvement offer available to other schools.

Our vision By developing relationships through school improvement partnerships, AIM will build a group of schools committed to delivering consistently high quality learning, through cutting edge educational practices for all children, in the AIM way.

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Core Principles Through strong partnerships, we will create a climate where excellence flourishes due to outstanding leadership, engaging teaching and high quality learning; placing children at the centre of all we do. We support research-based development of pedagogy; quality staff development; creation of opportunities for sharing best practice and sharing school based expertise within and beyond our schools. Through partnership and collaboration, we will staff to succeed.

Aspire, Inspire and Motivate our children and

We are lifelong learners who learn better together - We learn best through collaboration; Parents, carers and families are partners in education; All children can and will achieve; intelligence is not fixed; attainment is not predetermined Quality learning happens when learners are stimulated and challenged; High expectations for ALL children ensures everyone makes good progress and achieves their best; Learning is personalised to individuals’ needs; Learners develop a wide range of skills, knowledge and understanding; Assessment and targets enable learners to make progress and do not limit it; All children can reach age related expectations through well planned learning activities, support, resources or intervention.

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Professional Learning and Development Continuous professional development for all staff is a high priority and can take many forms according to school, National and individual needs. All staff will receive the same opportunity for professional development. Coaching and peer working is fundamental to our CPD work.

Curriculum We support children’s learning through curriculum programmes, which are applied flexibly with cross curricular links to meet children’s needs and interests. We promote learning in English through Talk for Writing approaches, which promote language and skills development linked to a key text. We work in partnership with The Institute of Education to deliver their Mathematics Mastery Programme, with the key principles focused on conceptual understanding, language and communication, and mathematical thinking. Foundation Subjects are taught through themed units of learning from the International Primary Curriculum (see example), with links made to English and other year group learning.

Assessment Teacher feedback has one of the biggest impacts on children’s performance. In order to provide opportunities to develop depth and excellence, we support teachers to use both their subject knowledge and their pedagogy skills to assess and provide feedback in a way that is constructive, helpful, supportive and motivational. We have developed Learning Ladders for Reading, Writing and Maths and use these to assess children’s attainment and progress, to plan learning to match age-related expectations and for target setting with children and parents. These have been successfully adopted by many schools.

International Links Our children will enter a global workforce and we believe that experience of other cultures and ways of life are essential preparation for this. We have several established partnership projects with schools in Europe and further afield which are embedded in thematic units and enrich children’s learning experiences.

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School Improvement Offer Our school improvement offer is focused on building partnerships to continue to develop a climate where excellence flourishes. We offer the following areas of school development through collaborative working, staff training, coaching and shared practices, in addition to leadership coaching, support and guidance;

Assessment Package

Spelling Practices

Growth Mindset

ICT Curriculum Development

Mixed Attainment Working (including Kagan Cooperative Learning)

Marking and Feedback

International Primary Curriculum Development Depth of Learning in Maths Implementing Talk for Writing Phonics Planning and Assessment

Research Group Working Middle Leadership Development Coaching Intervention Programmes Induction and Support for New Teachers

Packages are tailored to individual school needs and focusses.

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Sustainability One of the benefits of being a member of a larger network of schools is sustainability. Many schools are facing financial uncertainty and some are being forced to consider decisions such as reducing teaching assistant numbers and moving leaders into greater teaching commitments. Partnership can support greater capacity to share resources which may lessen the impact of these decisions on children and their outcomes. Larger groups have bigger buying power and benefit from greater economies of scale.

Recruiting and keeping good teachers is increasingly difficult. A broader partnership can offer increased opportunities for CPD; shared learning and career development opportunities leading to higher levels of teacher retention. Maintaining outcomes, even for outstanding schools, is a challenge and partnership working offers more scope for research; innovation; coaching and modelling which would support improved and sustained high outcomes. The capacity for supporting or sponsoring other schools will grow as we develop and build on best practices and specialisms from schools within our Partnership. This will ensure a more robust and proactive school improvement offer for schools that require more immediate and intensive support and who wish to become part of the AIM Partnership.

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Models for Partnership The AIM Partnership recognises the uniqueness of every school community and is therefore different from many of the ‘one size fits all’ academy trusts currently in existence. Our primary focus is on developing children and adults in school to achieve their fullest potential. We understand that different schools require different relationships to support them in achieving their aspirations for better outcomes. We have a number of example models for developing partnerships but these are not exclusive and each relationship between the Partnership and a school would be bespoke. The AIM Partnership works on the principle that from working together schools may choose to enter into a more formal partnership, in time. This is the core of our school improvement offer to all schools. When a school decides that they wish to join the Partnership, a number of broad models will apply.

Schools who have collaborated and shared good practice, who are aspiring to move from good to great may wish to join the Partnership to share services, achieve economies and support sustained future development. These schools are likely to seek representation on the Board of Trustees, would continue to have full autonomy and, to all intents and purposes, continue as they are within the broader support provided by the Partnership and would retain full control of their local Governing Board. Schools who have received sustained school improvement support from the Partnership as well as some leadership coaching and who are seeking to secure and maintain good teaching and learning. These schools may wish to join the Partnership to secure continuing support on their journey and would benefit from additional support from The Partnership Leadership Team. The local governing board of these schools would have some additional representation from members of the Partnership to support on-going improvements at all levels. Key services such as HR and finances might be centralised.

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Schools requiring the capacity to improve rapidly. These are likely to be sponsored schools joining the Partnership. These would typically need substantial support and coaching at all levels. There would be a significant presence from the executive leadership team initially and on the local governing board. Smaller schools facing a challenging future, particularly financially. Forming a partnership with AIM could offer a means of maintaining the viability of a small school by benefiting from the economies of scale through centralised services and shared leadership. All schools joining the AIM Partnership would maintain their individual identities and ethos. They would retain their name, school uniform and other unique features, whilst becoming a member of a wider community. The financial contribution to centralised services would vary according to the model under which a school joins the Partnership and the level of centralised service they access. Our school improvement offering (to any school) will be tailored to requirements and costed appropriately. The base cost of support for non-partnership schools will aim to cover supply costs.

Shared Services A key benefit of working in partnership is the savings that can be realised through shared services. These can include centralised Finance, HR (including staff recruitment, bank staff and CPD/Training), ICT, Catering, Premise/Site Management, Breakfast/After School provisions, Education Welfare, Education Psychology and counselling. Many of these can be provided by a single point of contact across the partnership, creating consistency and flexibility as well as greater value for money.

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Governance Woodcote’s Governing Board has been on a journey of development and improvement. Many of our innovative developments were identified by Ofsted as Outstanding practice and have been modelled as such to other schools in Croydon. We have shared our practices both formally and informally with other Governing Boards. We developed this through some of the following: A thorough skills audit, effective recruitment of new Governors to meet skills gaps and placing individuals in appropriate roles A move to monthly Governing Board meetings and no committees - this has made for very dynamic and effective governance better focused on prevailing issues, with more immediate follow up and impact In place of Committees, we developed specific Governor responsibility roles - covering the broad statutory responsibilities of the Governing Board. This has significantly reduced duplication of effort and engages all governors in discussions on all aspects of the school, leading to deeper discussion and more effective decision making Two Governors with the right skills are assigned to cover each individual role (all of which have clear job descriptions and responsibilities). They report to each monthly meeting External Moderation - including an initial review of Governance, Pupil Premium Audits, etc.

As a Governing Board, we self-identify as an intrinsic part of the school’s Senior Leadership Team. Governors with specific roles are paired with the member of SLT who has responsibility for that area enabling the development of a very close working relationship. Our Governing Body has the capacity, experience and skills to assist other schools on a number of levels, both informal and formal, as part of their school improvement journey or as additional local governors once a school becomes part of the AIM Partnership.

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Tim Rome

Claire Baldock

Headteacher Tim has considerable leadership experience including nearly 25 years of headship. He led Woodcote to an Outstanding Ofsted judgement and has worked in several London Boroughs in primary school settings. Tim is also currently Head of School Improvement at OCTAVO, Croydon and a member of their Senior Leadership team. He is an accredited Ofsted Inspector and has worked as a school improvement partner in Merton and Eastbourne. He has supported a number of schools with coaching, advice and consultancy and has a track record of successfully supporting schools to develop effective strategic and leadership processes.

Claire has been Deputy Headteacher at Woodcote since 2007 and is currently Acting Head of School. Her school development strengths focus on teaching and learning, assessment and curriculum development, and developing middle leadership. Over the last four years, Claire has worked with a number of schools through long term secondment to develop teaching and learning, as an external school development lead for the Mathematics Programme supporting 16 schools across London, and regularly collaborates with other Croydon schools to develop and refine their practices using models from Woodcote.

Key Staff

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www.aimpartnership.org info@aimpartnership.org T: 020 8660 9972

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