ducation and school improvement are at the heart of all the work we do. Premier New Schools was formed to give its clients the assurance that, in working with us, they have access to information and guidance that takes account of policy changes as well as the unique context of each school or Trust.
Our education team has been assembled to ensure that, no matter what phase or field you operate in, you will have access to professional advice from a team creativity, energy and many years of sector-specific experience that will be at your disposal.
THE PNS TEAM QUICKLY GOT TO GRIPS WITH OUR REQUIREMENTS. THEIR ASSESSMENT OF OUR CURRENT STATE WAS SPOT-ON AND TOGETHER WE AGREED AN ACTION PLAN THAT GAVE US CLEAR MILESTONES TO HIT WITH THEIR HELP.
Education Services for Free Schools
We provide the full spectrum of services to help clients establish, open and improve free schools. This support ranges from assistance with the initial application for new schools or independent converters through high quality policy and curriculum work, to post-opening school improvement work. Our team can point to success in supporting existing schools and post-16 colleges, parent and teacher groups, and existing multi-academy Trusts (MATs).
For each client, we will provide a tailored service which will meet their particular needs, taking full account of their existing capacity and capability.
We help our clients in many ways including:
- providing advice on how to approach the process of submitting a free school application
- undertaking an initial feasibility study as to the practicality of submitting an application
- enabling the writing of an application by, for example, facilitating workshop sessions to help clients clarify their idea
- reviewing draft versions of free school applications and providing feedback as to how they can be improved
- as a result of ongoing consultation, writing various sections or all of an application for clients to then review and approve for submission to the DfE
- carrying out a ‘mock’ interview to help clients prepare for the interview with the DfE as part of the DfE’s decision making process
- designing and implementing a Headteacher/Principal search/recruitment and selection process
- developing a staffing structure and then designing and implementing a search/recruitment and selection process
- designing and undertaking a stakeholder consultation exercise to evaluate demand and need for a free school
- providing advice with regard to all capital matters.
Our expertise in free school applications will help clients:
- develop and express clearly the vision for their free school demonstrating that: it is deliverable; the school will offer a high quality education; and why they are seeking to establish a free school in a particular area to address basic need and in response to parental demand
- show that they have an ambitious and deliverable curriculum plan which is consistent with the vision and pupil intake with challenging targets to measure pupil performance
- develop a staffing structure that will deliver the planned curriculum within the expected income levels
- demonstrate that the needs of pupils are fully provided for within the curriculum
- provide valid evidence that there is a need for a free school in a particular area
- demonstrate that they have the capacity and capability to set up and run a school with access to appropriate educational, financial and other expertise within an appropriate governance structure; see below for more details of how we can provide training for governors/trustees of all schools, including free schools
- develop financial plans which will support the delivery of the education vision and plan and prove that the school is financially viable
- investigate potential sites for the school.
Our successes have included schools of all types, for all age groups, and of all sizes such as:
- mainstream 3-11, 4-11, 11-16, 4-19, 16- 19 and 11-19 schools
- schools with a religious ethos or character, and those with a distinctive educational philosophy or world view
- University technical colleges (UTCs) and studio schools
- special schools for all age groups including schools for pupils with autism spectrum conditions (ASC), severe learning difficulties (SLD), profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), physical disabilities, speech, communication and language difficulties, and sensory disabilities
- alternative provision (AP) schools and settings.
One of the key tasks to be undertaken by proposer groups during the pre-opening period is to ensure that all aspects of governance are fully embedded so that the governing body can carry out its responsibilities with regard to providing support and challenge to the senior leaders of the school, especially the Headteacher/Principal Designate. See below for the services we can provide to help schools (including free schools) do this.
Once a free school has opened, we can help it to embed high quality teaching and learning by providing bespoke school improvement services. See below for more details of our school improvement services.
Education Services for Academy Conversions
We can provide a complete ‘package’ of services to help schools to convert to academy status. Alternatively, we can take account of a school’s current capacity and capability to provide a bespoke service to meet its specific requirements.
- review the current provision and assess where conversion to an academy can provide a tangible educational benefit
- design and lead presentations for parents’ consultation events
- prepare papers for governors’ meetings at which key decisions are made regarding academy conversion and provide advice at these meetings
- offer specific advice regarding governance matters, including offering bespoke advice to the Chair of Governors related to particularly contentious matters regarding conversion such as relationships with professional associations
- design and implement the statutory consultation process, including writing key documents for the process especially the report which demonstrates that the consultation meets all legal requirements
- review the school’s polices in the light of conversion to an academy
- support the process for the appointment of legal advisers and then liaise with these advisers regarding the completion of the Funding Agreement
- liaise with the Education Funding Agency (EFA) regarding capital matters.
Support for Governors/Trustees
This support will enable the Governors/Trustees to fulfil and sustain their strategic function with particular reference to:
- setting the aims and objectives of the school
- setting the policies and targets for achieving those aims and objectives
- monitoring and evaluating the progress the school is making towards achieving those aims and objectives
- being a source of support and challenge to the Senior Leadership Team and the school generally.
More specifically, we can provide support, including the design and delivery of workshops for governors/trustees to address the following core issues:
- The key features of effective school governance
- Financial management for governors
- The effective use of pupil attainment and achievement data for governors
Other support we offer helps schools address the following issues:
- How to carry out the Headteacher’s performance management
- How governors/trustees carry out school visits
- Working in partnership with other schools
- Working effectively with parents and carers
- Developing effective safeguarding policies and procedures
- Evaluating the performance of the Governing Body/Board of Trustees
- Effective teamwork for governors/trustees
- Working in a federation or a collaboration
- How schools can grow their own leaders
- Using coaching and mentoring
- Leading effective meetings
- Working effectively with the clerk to the governors
- Managing barriers to change
- Developing a committee structure and their terms of reference
- Effective facilities management
- Risk management
- Developing an eco-friendly school
- Effective approaches to human resources management
We can support and challenge schools (including free schools) to help them improve their provision. In particular, we can help them improve the quality of teaching and learning, and so raise standards. We can provide support and challenge by undertaking school reviews focusing on the Ofsted grade descriptors:
- Achievement of pupils at the school
- Quality of teaching
- Behaviour and safety of pupils
- Quality of leadership in, and management of, the school.
We will provide a bespoke service. However, one model we have used follows a three stage process:
1. Initial analysis of data and documents. This would include analysis of:
- The school development/improvement plan
- The school self-evaluation
- The school’s governance structure and arrangements
- Information regarding the process and outcomes of the monitoring of quality of the teaching in an anonymised format, including the %s of Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate teaching, based on how teaching is promoting progress
- Key pupil attainment and achievement data.
2. A one day visit to the school, engaging in the following activities:
- Meeting with Headteacher and other colleagues, including appropriate SLT members, to discuss: overall background and context to the school; pupils’ attainment and achievement data; and the school’s processes for monitoring and evaluating pupils’ progress and managing/appraising staff performance
- Lesson observations
- Meeting with a group of pupils
- Meeting the Chair of Governors/Trustees to discuss the governance model and the role of the governors/trustees and the Trust to support and challenge the school
- A feedback session with Headteacher and Chair of Governors/trustees.
3. A report written and provided to the school focusing on the Ofsted grade descriptors