...within the Trust and beyond! Collaboration plays a key role in helping all of our academies improve. Collaboration means working together to overcome areas for development by sharing the best practice that exists within the MAT. It also means working with anybody beyond DNEAT who we feel can help us to provide the best education and opportunities for our children and young people.

Collaboration and sharing best practice within the MAT

Intra-MAT collaboration takes place at all levels. Here are some examples, including information on the impact of this type of work:

  • Headteachers and Chairs of Governors collaborating at our termly forum, to work together and share best practice in relation to Trust priorities and new legislation or initiatives. Impact: key areas including reducing teacher workload and understanding GDPR have been successfully addressed, leading to changes in practice including improvements to academy marking and feedback policies.
  • Headteachers and Senior Leaders collaborating at both termly MAT wide Senior Leader Networks and in their own geographical regions. These strong focus on academy improvement and addressing MAT and academy priorities. The Headteacher Regional Alliances allocate a centrally allocated budget to tackle shared priorities.

Impact: key areas such as curriculum development and understanding the revised Ofsted framework have been addressed. Pupil outcomes continue to improve year on year and the proportion of academies graded god or better has increased from 55% to 85% over two years.

  • Teachers collaborating, through shared professional development and through academy to academy support. They work together to undertake trust-wide professional development in a range of areas strongly related to the trust and academy priorities. For example, a recent focus has been on developing the curriculum across the MAT and moderating children’s work together in all year groups. Academy to academy support means teachers with a particular skill set are deployed to support colleagues across the MAT so they can work together for improvement.

Impact: strong curriculums are in place supporting better learning in a rounded curriculum, ass recognised by Ofsted, children and staff alike. Accuracy of assessment has improved meaning further refinements to curriculum can be made. Academy to academy support is upskilling those new to roles or in academy’s that are earlier on in their improvement journey.

Collaboration and sharing best practice beyond the MAT

It is vital for us to look beyond our own settings in order to learn from, and contribute to the learning of, others. We do this in a number of ways to ensure our academies can continue to improve and that we can offer the best education possible to our children and young people.

  • Collaboration with St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust, the Diocese and the Diocese of Norwich Education Services Company (DoNESC). This happens in a variety of ways, including sharing key staff across the MATs to provide reciprocal support at times of need. It involves working to together to plan the best possible operational support for our academies so that they are able to focus on educating our children and young people.

Impact: key staffing positions have been supported through secondments from DNEAT to St Benet’s, and from St Benet’s to DNEAT, ensuring the best people are in place to serve our academies and communities. A range of services are now reduced at less cost to our academies leaving them with more money to spend directly on education.

  • Collaboration with other Diocesan MATs across the country. This takes place in many forms, including through joint CEO groups and by direct and close working together on projects that reflect the priorities of the MAT. Recently all Headteachers of larger DNEAT academies visited the Diocese of Chichester to see how they have rapidly improved standards in larger, contextually similar academies.

Impact: improved outcomes for pupils and access to learning and expertise beyond DNEAT in MATs with a shared purpose and values.

  • Collaboration with other MATs and partners. We are constantly engaging with other MATs and organisations to identify where the best mutual support and learning can be found and used to benefit the children and young people within DNEAT and beyond. We have undertaken a range of projects recently. Currently we are working with National and Specialist Leaders of Education (NLEs and SLEs) from the Boleyn Trust in London. They started working with us to improve aspects of teaching practice in one academy but this has now grown. We are also working with the Norfolk based Sapientia Trust to provide some leadership support to some of our academies. We have, and will continue to, reciprocate so that children and young people in the whole school system can benefit.

Impact: children and young people, academy staff and the MAT benefit from the most appropriate expertise in any given field, even when it is to be found beyond DNEAT. This ensures that our academies continue to improve by all key measures.