Together we Exceed

School improvement support

Exceed Institute is committed to providing school improvement support to schools within and, if there is capacity, beyond Exceed Academies Trust.

We are committed to ensuring that school improvement and school-to-school peer support has demonstrable impact whilst ensuring the headteacher of the supported school maintains ownership of the support (support is “done with”, not “done to” the supported school).

Commission support from Exceed Institute: How it works

The supported school’s headteacher and governing body/board are ultimately accountable for the impact of the support, through pupil outcomes and inspection, regardless of the number of days of support or the degree of funding involved.

Responsibilities for the support can be summarised as:

  • Supported school: To ensure that the support targets the priority area and has sustainable impact during and beyond the period of support. This includes ensuring that support: focuses on the key priority that, if addressed, will make a lasting impact; ensuring staff are receptive and engage effectively with the support to develop leadership; that the outcomes of the support are measurable, including pupil outcomes and the quality of teaching over time; and that such evidence is shared with the supporting school and Exceed School Improvement as part of the monitoring and evaluation processes.
  • Supporting school: To provide high-quality support in line with the agreed arrangements recorded at the start of the commissioning process. This includes: ensuring staff are available to undertake the agreed support with leaders from/at the supported school; supporting the collation of measurable impact data and evidence; and contributing to the reporting arrangements on conclusion of the support.
  • Exceed Institute: To broker and quality assure system leader (such as Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) and Local Leaders of Education (LLE)) support. This includes: ensuring that the resource dedicated to improving leadership are effectively used; that the impact of the support is clearly demonstrated; and that the impact of the support is reported to other stakeholders where external funding is provided. This role is often delegated to an independent headteacher from a Exceed Institute partner school (see below: Quality Assurance Lead role).

Both the supporting school(s) and Exceed Institute may be named in the supported school’s inspection report. The supported school is expected to ensure inspectors have an accurate understanding of the positive impact of the supporting school(s) and Exceed Institute and encourage these organisations to be named in the final inspection report.

 System leaders and supporting schools

Exceed Institute has a pool of accredited system leaders and partner schools to draw upon to help ensure school-to-school support is effective. System leaders and supporting schools need to be credible and individuals must have provenance with their peers. Reported pupil outcomes are a key factor in selecting a school to provide school-to-school support.

Informal arrangements

Exceed Institute’s partner schools and multi-academy trusts will not enter direct arrangements to provide school-to-school support, beyond an arrangement of more than one day, without Exceed Institutes involvement. Without the formality of the arrangements, both the supported and supporting schools become vulnerable to engaging in ineffective support that the rigorous commissioning and quality assurance process helps to avoid. Schools can be, and are, named and criticised in school inspection reports. System leaders are accredited to add capacity to the partnership, not for the sole benefit of an individual school or leader.

Quality Assurance Lead role

Exceed Institute will name a QA Lead for the support. This person will be independent of the agreement between the supported and supporting schools. Typically, where external funding has been provided, three days of their time will be funded by Exceed Institute to:

  • Day 1 (within 4 weeks of the support agreement being signed): A brokerage visit to support for the baseline assessment of need(s) and support to develop an appropriate development plan with the headteachers of the supported and supporting schools. Agreement on the use of any external funding will also be agreed. The baseline assessment is likely to include: a tour of the school; classroom visits; meeting leaders; work scrutiny/sampling; review of the school development plan and pupil outcomes. This is completed in partnership with the supported and supporting schools: these activities are not undertaken by the QA Lead alone. The QA Lead is not judging the school; the focus is on the effective use of resources.
  • Day 2 (typically after two months of the support being initiated): A monitoring visit to see early evidence of progress, the effectiveness of the support, the impact to date, and the appropriate use of any external funding. The headteacher of the supported school should provide evidence to the QA Lead. This is likely to include: information about improvements to the quality of teaching over time; and teacher assessment and/or national test data that demonstrates improvement. Each priority will be RAG-rated to show progress. The visit will involve the headteacher of the supported school and the system leader(s) who are providing the support. An interim progress report will be completed during the visit.
  • Day 3 (typically before the end of two terms after the support was initiated): This visit is to support the evaluation of the support and the use of any external funding with the headteacher of the supported school and system leader(s) who have provided the support. Like Day 2, a range of data will be drawn upon so that the measurable impact can be recorded and reported. A summative report will be developed by the headteacher of the supported school, leaders from the supporting school(s) engaged in providing the support, and the QA Lead during this visit. Final payments to the supported or supporting schools will not be released until an appropriate evaluation report has been provided to Exceed Institute.

Where internal funding is used, a similar QA arrangement will be agreed with the headteacher of the supported school focusing on impact (rather than impact and financial arrangements).

Finance and quality assurance for external funded support

Where funding for the school-to-school support is provided from sources beyond the supported school’s own budget, (e.g. Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC), NCTL, DfE), Exceed Institute will hold the funding (in line with the terms and conditions of the funding agreement issued by the organisation funding the support) and will release the funds at the end of each term during the period of support after the supported and supporting schools incur costs. Exceed Institute are responsible for the funding and reporting on its use and impact. Where supported schools do not fulfil the conditions of the funding agreement, funding and support will be withheld.

There are only two appropriate uses of the funding:

  1. To purchase leadership development support (middle and/or senior leadership) from another named school(s) (named school(s) must be agreed with Exceed Institute at the brokerage stage). System leaders must work alongside a leader from the supported school at all times.
  2. To purchase cover to release leaders from the supported school to engage in the support.

The funding arrangements must be captured and agreed, prior to the support commencing, and recorded on a dedicated development plan (see annex A, below) for the package of support. The emphasis on the use of external funding should be on the purchase of support rather than the release of staff (the supported school may need to self-fund this element or contribute to its costs).

Exceed Institute, the supported school, and/or the supporting school may be audited to check on the accurate reporting and appropriate use of the funding.

Finance and quality assurance for internally funded support

Where a school funds school-to-school support themselves (i.e. from the school’s budget), Exceed Institute will broker support from Exceed Institute’s system leaders and will invoice the supported school on a termly basis for this support, applying the agreed standard rates (see below). The responsibility for monitoring and reporting on the use of the funding lies with the headteacher and their governing body.

Daily rates for support

Aspiring but not accredited Specialist Leader of Education (SLE): £250 per day

Accredited SLE: £350 per day

Headteacher: £400 per day

Accredited Local Leader of Education (LLE): £450 per day

Accredited National Leader of Education (NLE): £500 per day

This includes a £50 per day charged to fund the quality assurance of the support undertake by Exceed Institute as Exceed will already hold the funds and will report on this use of funding directly to the DfE via its annual Collaborative Fund return. The role of the QA Lead is funded by Exceed Institute through the funding received from the external organisation (e.g. RSC, NCTL, DfE).

Daily rates for cover (externally funded support only)

Cover to engage with support: £200 per day

Additional support

If additional system leader support is required beyond the agreed arrangement, Exceed Institute will support the brokerage process. Direct arrangements should not be made with the supporting school due to the issues and considerations outlined above.

The school-led system

Exceed Institute are a self-funding school-based providers of school-to-school support, professional learning, and initial teacher training and are central to the government’s plans for school improvement. In being so, Exceed Institute are highly accountable to the RSC, Ofsted, and the DfE, as are schools within and beyond the partnership. The arrangements outlined above are provided to ensure these services can continue effectively for the benefit of the schools within and beyond the partnership.

Where Exceed Institute commission support from third parties

Typically, Exceed Institute seeks to pay for external services (such as from another multi-academy trust) in line with nationally agreed rates for system leader deployments, such as those outlined above. Where this is not the case, this will be because of the unique nature or niche specialism of the service or expertise provided.

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