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We utilise an eleven-step process to help improve our schools. The steps are wide-ranging and we believe that they offer genuine insight into where our schools are thriving and where there is room for collegiate improvement.

 

Invictus is ‘collegiate’ in nature and all of our schools work together for the greater good.

Step 1: Data Scrutiny

Action

We use all available data, RAISE-On-Line, progress, results, school trends, individual pupil and FFT, to form a detailed picture of the school, robustly identifying areas of concern.

Commentary

Data and its uses, particularly at the school level, is probably the jewel in Invictus’ crown

Step 2: SEF/Scorecard

Action

The data is processed by the school using the ASCL/Tony Thornley template to generate a ‘Scorecard’

Commentary

The accuracy of the judgements in the Scorecard are scrutinised by the Executive Headteacher and the independent School Improvement Consultant, David Rzeznik

Step 3: School Improvement Plan

Action

The School Improvement Plan is produced by the school and divided into three levels of priority: Red, amber and green.

Commentary

The accuracy of the priorities is scrutinised by the Executive Headteacher and the School Improvement Consultant. We wanted to avoid schools being busy on areas that might be desirable but would not raise standards. We initially just looked at the first 5 priorities but that proved too restrictive.

Step 4: Headteacher Performance Management

Action

We make sure that the targets for Headteachers are tied firmly into school improvement

Commentary

It is a feature of Invictus that where we can we have sought out the very best advice. Our School Improvement Consultant, David Rzeznik, a former Senior HMI, has been key to holding us all to account.

His connections have been invaluable in bringing in two other former HMI. One, Peter Limm, to lead us through Headteacher Performance Management and the other, Steve Abbott, to bring unrivalled knowledge about improving standards in Maths

Step 5: QUADs

Action

‘QUADS’ stands for Quality Assurance Days. These happen in each school termly. The focus is decided between David Rzeznik, the Executive Headteacher and the individual Headteachers. Obviously there is a strong link to the School Improvement Plans of individual schools. The QUADS always involve the observation of teaching. The ‘inspections’ are carried out by David Rzeznik, the Executive Headteacher and one of the other Headteachers.

The Executive Headteacher and Headteacher will submit notes to David Rzeznik but the final written report is produced by him.

Commentary

The reports (always pretty hard-hitting) as well as going to the school, are uploaded on to a secure repository where they can be accessed and scrutinised by members of the Board. Another feature of Invictus is the interest and involvement shown by the Board in raising standards (we do not have short meetings).

Step 6: Data Drops

Action

We are working on making performance data-drops ‘dynamic’ i.e. always up to date and available to all that might need it. However, we feel that it is important that there are set piece occasions when predictions etc are down-loaded and made available.

Commentary

At Board Meetings, which are attended by Headteachers in a non-voting capacity, there is a ‘slot’ where they talk about standards in their school. The Board have access to the data-drop in advance, and are robust in their subsequent interrogation.

Step 7: Targeted External Help

Action

Maths was identified by the SEF/SIPs as an issue in all 4 schools (but especially in 3 of them). Mr Abbott’s reports and feedback are transforming our Maths expectations.

We have, through David Rzeznik, enlisted the help of the best Maths expert we could find.

Commentary

In many of the Maths classrooms, where Steve Abbott found much to change, it would not be apparent to ‘the naked eye’ – i.e. teachers were well prepared, pupils were attentive and engaged, books were marked etc. However, the Maths concepts and delivery were ‘jumbled’ and hard to access by the students and his insights have led to direct changes. His support includes: an INSET day for Summer term 2017, followed by targeted school/departmental/individual support as required.

Step 8: A Culture of Aspiration and Achievement

Action

This is less a step than a ‘state of mind’. The Headteachers in particular embrace and promote this culture. The Headteachers and Executive Headteacher meet frequently and the desire to be better is palpable.

Commentary

The collective and collegial determination of the Headteachers is something Invictus would point to with pride. A feature of Invictus is that currently none of its schools was a ‘forced’ academy: each school chose to become part, and this leads to greater ownership.

Step 9: Cross Trust Responsibilities

Action

As part of Performance Management and for professional growth each Headteacher has taken on a significant Cross Trust Responsibility. Thus:


Mr Jasper, Ellowes Hall Sports College
The use of data across the Trust, especially ‘life after levels’.

Miss Brown, Ounsdale High School
Sharing good Teaching & Learning practice across the various subjects.

Mr Rogers, Kinver High School
The strategies of intervention for success especially in the GCSE years.

Mr Bowles, Crestwood School
The bid for an Education/Army hybrid Free School

Commentary

Other Cross Trust Posts have been created. Invictus is, from 3 relatively small Sixth Forms, creating a single Sixth Form – a Cross Trust post of Head of Sixth is now in operation.

A Director of Performance (Arts) has been appointed. We strongly believe in activities beyond exams to develop pupils’ life confidence, self-esteem and sense of service. The newly formed Invictus Choir has already performed at Birmingham Symphony Hall and will, later this year, sing at the Royal Albert Hall.

We ran a one year pilot for subject leaders across the MAT. The focus of the work being to:

  • Provide strong subject leadership and drive collaboration and co-operation for the subject across the Trust
  • Work towards raising standards and expectations for the subject
  • Provide focus on each individual pupil’s data and progress, providing another level of accountability for departments
  • Work towards the standardisation of courses and syllabuses for September 2017
  • Harmonise assessment and organise moderation of the assessments
  • Coordinate the creation of high quality teaching resources
  • Coordinate and develop revision and exam strategies
  • Work with strategic leads for T&L/CPD in each school to support improvement work for subjects and colleagues

We expect this to be successful and if so it will be expanded in scope and time.

Step 10: Wider External Help

Action

We are very open to more generalised help; courses etc. providing this is of the best quality.

Commentary

We have found courses run by Regional Schools Commissioner, Pank Patel very helpful. The showcased work of ‘Outwood Grange MAT’ was illuminating.

Browne Jacobson (Lawyers) have been very good at briefing us on statutory developments.

Step 11: Individual Pupil Focus

Action

We have created IT Systems of pupil and performance scrutiny that we believe are exceptional. Each school will use these systems, especially at Key Stage 4 to look at pupil performance, levels of achievement and, of course, crucially, they will intervene on behalf of the individual student.

We are set up so that SLT, Heads of Department and Pastoral systems are focused on this individualised care and determination.

Commentary

We have saved the ‘best bit till last’. We think this ‘granular’ attention to the individual pupil is not only highly effective but reflects our ‘moral’ mission to improve things for all.

All schools (except Kinver, which is more geographically isolated) are now oversubscribed, demonstrating that Invictus is providing the education desired by aspirational parents.