Transforming local education systems: A collaboration between Isos and the Education Development Trust

Posted by on 6 June 2016

The education system in England has undergone a profound transformation over the past six years. The Government’s white paper, Excellent Education Everywhere, sets out a range of further reforms for the next six years that seek to support the development of a mature self-improving education system in England. While the white paper has prompted a lively policy debate, we know that focusing on implementing these reforms and leading a smooth transition at local level will be vital to driving and sustaining high-quality education for all pupils.

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Supporting mainstream schools and settings: A “front door” to SEND services

Posted by Ben Bryant on 6 April 2016

Recent announcements from the Department for Education have been very much in the public eye of late. Among these has been a consultation on a new national funding formula for schools. This move shifts significantly the link between funding for mainstream schools and funding specifically for pupils with high-needs special educational needs (SEN). In our research on SEN funding, we emphasised the importance of there being an equitable offer of SEN and disability (SEND) support in mainstream institutions. As we know from our research, as well as our work with individual local authorities and schools, achieving this requires, among other things, it to be as easy as possible for mainstream schools and settings to have swift, straightforward access to advice, capacity-building and expert SEN support. In this blog, we describe briefly how East Sussex sought to achieve this by developing a “front door” to inclusion and SEND services when we worked with them in the summer of 2014.

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The future of SEN funding

Posted by Ben Bryant on 7 March 2016

As part of recent changes announced to introduce a national funding formula for schools in England, the Department for Education (DfE) has now published a parallel consultation on reforming funding for children and young people with high needs in England. This includes children and young people, aged from birth to 25, with special educational needs (SEN), and those who require support from alternative provision (AP).

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Support for Haringey Corporate Delivery Unit

Posted by Simon Day on 5 March 2015

We have been working with Haringey Council over the last 18 months to support them to adapt the central government model of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) to develop their own delivery unit to help meet the many challenges facing an inner-city London borough. Haringey is the first Local Authority in the UK (that we are aware of) to adopt the PMDU model.

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How teaching school alliances lead to more effective teaching and learning

Posted by Simon Rea on 24 February 2015

We have been working with 32 teaching school alliances (TSAs) over the last two years as part of a national research project for the National College. Our focus has been how the leadership of the alliances can develop effective teaching and learning. Isos has been co-ordinating the project with Robert Hill and Professor Qing Gu (University of Nottingham). We have facilitated the work of eight regional enquiry clusters: cross-phase groups of teaching schools that have enabled peer discussions of the alliances’ projects. The clusters met face-to-face every term, with half-termly check-ins with the research team. Alliances identified a focus for their projects and devised research questions. They chose one or a small number of interventions to test with the group of schools involved over a learning cycle. At the end of each cycle, the regional enquiry cluster met to discuss what happened and what they learned.

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Freedom to lead: inspirational leadership of primary schools

Posted by Simon Rea on 16 October 2014

Our research report, Freedom to Lead: a study of outstanding primary school leadership in England, was written in collaboration with Peter Matthews, Robert Hill and Qing Gu. We were immensely fortunate in being able to visit and interview a range of outstanding primary school leaders in their schools over the last 18 months. The schools, many in challenging circumstances, are outstanding examples of primary education across England.

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Read-out from the Shaping the role of the local authority in education conference in Bristol

Posted by Ben Bryant on 29 September 2014

I was delighted to be invited to present an overview of our "temperature check" report at a conference on the role of local authorities in education in Bristol last week. It was fascinating to hear from a range of local authority and school leaders about developments in their local systems, and to reflect on the next stage of evolution on which those systems are embarking.

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Transforming a local authority’s support for school improvement: Seven lessons from Norfolk

Posted by on 29 September 2014

In June 2013, Ofsted inspected Norfolk County Council's arrangements for supporting school improvement. They judged that these were not effective, and outlined a number of areas for improvement. Isos was commissioned to carry out a review of Norfolk's strategies, A good school for every Norfolk learner and Norfolk to good and great, to identify to identify how these could rapidly lead to improved outcomes. We undertook the review early in the autumn of 2013, and subsequently worked with Norfolk in the spring of 2014 to support them in evaluating their progress ahead of their re-inspection by Ofsted. The re-inspection, which took place in June 2014, found that Norfolk's arrangements for supporting school improvement are now effective.

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Key lessons for leading change in a local education system: Our starter-for-seven

Posted by Leigh Sandals on 10 July 2014

In our evolving education system "temperature check" report, we suggested seven lessons for leading the next stage of change in local education systems. Are these the right lessons for leading change effectively, whether you are a leading a school, teaching school, multi-academy trust, federation, diocesan network, other schools partnership, or local authority service? Are there others that you use or believe will be important in the future? Tweet us @IsosPartnership.

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Three types of transition that local systems have experienced

Posted by Leigh Sandals on 9 July 2014

When writing our evolving education system "temperature check" research report, we reflected on the different types of transitions that the local systems had made and were still making in response to the changing education landscape.

In the report, we concluded that changes in the make-up of school types within local systems largely reflected how effectively the transition to a more autonomous, schools-led local education system had been led. In other words, the make-up of school types was not the sole cause of change in the local system, but was actually one of the effects of the way in which change had been approached and led.

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