We became a Challenge Partners school in 2012 and were excited to set up our own Ash Field Hub last year. As a new East Midlands hub of ten schools from different phases including special schools, it has been really beneficial working collaboratively, to ensure that members get the best outcomes from their Challenge Partners QA Reviews. All our schools have a real commitment to making the most of the experience. To do this, we have created additional materials and sessions to induct schools into the process, including top tips from schools that have been part of Challenge Partners for some time. We have then used our hub meetings as an opportunity to share the added benefits from the process.
These have included using the QA Review as a specific CPD opportunity for middle leaders, designing effective programmes for the review that help address school improvement priorities, thinking how best to prepare teachers to get the most from being reviewed and having the opportunity to reflect on their experience post-review. Our aim is to see all our schools using Challenge Partners as a real driver of school improvement, as well as an opportunity to evaluate practice.
As a hub, we identified four realistic, shared priorities and have focussed on things which will have an impact on pupils in a variety of ways. One of these priorities is to improve the quality of support for learning across our schools. Several of the schools are working to create a Teaching Assistant (TA) exchange scheme or ‘swap’, to provide a week-long tailored CPD experience that develops the skills and confidence of TAs across our hub. Collectively, schools have also set up an ICT Technician and Managers’ network, to help the hub schools exchange information, good practice and resources more easily, through a shared platform. We are also committed to working together to contribute to our hub-led event in July. Similarly, we have been pleased to host a Leadership Development Day, to welcome colleagues to share how we meet the needs of a diverse school community.
Being part of a hub has been a fantastic way of allowing schools to develop a collaborative approach, from which we all benefit.
Rhian Richardson, Hub Manager