In recent years, the government has encouraged schools to work together by pooling resources and sharing best practices to raise performance levels. However, with more schools gaining autonomy and local authorities declining in importance, top-performing schools tend to act to promote and protect their self-interest, at the expense of poorly-performing peers.
Inspiring Leaders is an organisation which believes that the sharing of knowledge leads to cumulative benefits for all schools involved.
Founded in May 2012, by two heads of teaching schools, the “not for profit” partnership consists of five outstanding teaching schools and one special school who have formed a network of schools across the East Midlands. Teaching schools are outstanding schools who may offer a role in the training and professional development of staff.
The partnership company aims to train aspiring and established school leaders. They currently offer National College-licensed programmes in leadership training like the National Professional Qualification in middle leadership, senior leadership and headship.
Paul Goodman, the strategic lead for Inspiring Leaders explains the concept behind teaching schools is to share resources and support each other. The partnership was the coming together of established leaders with a common goal. “We worked to find like-minded teaching schools with a similar mix of values and collectively developed vision,” he says.
“It is a coming together of teaching schools that have gained a lot of experience in professional development and have driven processes in leadership change”.
Stressing the need for collaboration in difficult times Mr Goodman said: “There is always something to learn from each other and bridge gaps in areas we lack. All schools are different and have different needs – be it a special school, ethnically diverse school etc. Together we can address schools’ individual needs. We have the capacity to do more together rather than in isolation”.
When schools are struggling with limited resources, and competing with each other for funding, will collaboration help schools in such circumstances?
“Collaboration has the potential for money-saving benefits. Instead of spending money on external resources like consultants or tax experts, the reality is that schools need successful leaders. In fact, in the current climate it is a risk schools remaining isolated without relying on each other to form partnerships. It does not affect the school’s autonomy, rather it enables schools to have the resources to grow and develop,” says Mr Goodman.
TheSchoolBus has updated resources from the National College of Teaching & Leadership. Take a look at our topic on ‘Professional Development’ for more information.