Partnering to create outstanding schools

EdisonLearning works in collaboration with primary schools to help bring about a lasting improvement against the key measures that define school success, and the achievement of individual school goals and aspirations.

Our work is forged from extensive research into the factors that characterise outstanding primary schools and the processes that lead to sustainable school improvement.


The Fundamentals

The starting point for all our work is the certainty that EdisonLearning on its own will never cause a school to improve.  The capacity and the potential to drive change exists in every school – within its staff, students and community.  EdisonLearning’s role is to unlock that potential, and we achieve this through working in partnership with schools, local authorities, sponsors and many other educational organisations.

Our work and our partnerships are informed and driven at every level by a set of transparent principles.

Applying what research and evidence tells us works

So much of what schools do is down to custom and practice rather than based on sound evidence. We have taken the key messages from research about learning, leadership, CPD, school culture and organisation, and from this we have designed a highly adaptable model or framework that enables schools to channel these findings in practical ways into their day to day work.

‘Working with’, not ‘Doing to’

The real test of our work is what happens after the work has finished.  Clearly that relies on leaders, teachers and support staff taking ownership to drive through and sustain new systems and processes, and that is only possible where all members of the school community are engaged in and contributing to the process.

Building professional capacity

Working with EdisonLearning is an investment by a schools leaders and governors in the professionals they employ.

We expect schools to see improvements in outcomes for pupils through their engagement with us, but we also expect leaders, teachers and other staff to benefit professionally from the process, and to enjoy the experience.

Focusing on impact and quality – hitting short-term targets while building towards longer-term goals

Many schools that work with EdisonLearning have particular, and often pressing, short-term targets that they have to meet.  Our approach recognises this and ensures that immediate needs are integrated in the plan.  However, these are never treated in isolation, recognising that the real solution lies in embedding longer-term change.


The EdisonLearning Design for School Improvement

What do we mean by a Design?

One of the most important things that schools recognise as being different about working with EdisonLearning is that we have a model for school improvement.  Initially, this can seem a little disconcerting as the last thing that any school wants is to have strategies and approaches imposed.

The reality is refreshingly different…

Our idea of a school improvement Design is a flexible resource that gets every school as rapidly as possible to the ‘business area’ where they can use their valuable knowledge and expertise to best effect and maximum impact.  It is a simple concept, but in practice it accelerates and simplifies the process of improvement, and allows greater attention to be places on the school’s unique qualities.

The Features of Highly Effective Schools

Extensive research into learning and the operation and organisation of successful schools and school systems has been distilled into a detailed set of descriptors which define the ‘Features of Highly Effective Schools’.

For clarity and accessibility, these features are organised into the Five Strands of the EdisonLearning Design:

Leadership: This develops clarity of vision, distributed leadership, effective team working and the leadership skills of every staff member.

Learning Environment: This focuses on the systematic development of shared values that underpin and drive improvement in behaviours for learning and the quality of relationships between staff, pupils and the wider community.

Assessment for Learning: This supports the timely and effective use of assessment data at every level within the school to drive improvement, focus intervention and classroom practices.

Pedagogy and Curriculum: This drives continuous improvement in the quality of teaching through effective coaching and professional development, lipitor 40 mg price underpinned by a Quality Framework that captures effective practice in transparent and accessible language.

Student and Family Support Systems: This helps schools create contexts and solutions that lower the barriers that limit individual pupils’ achievement and progress through closer and more productive partnerships with parents, carers and external agencies.


Models of Partnership

The Partner Schools Programme

The Partner Schools Programme is EdisonLearning’s flagship, ISO9001 accredited school improvement programme.  It encompasses all that we know and understand about supporting school improvement through partnership, and utilises the broad range of tools, resources and processes that have been developed to facilitate that work.

It also recognises that, although ‘quick wins’ can be rapidly achieved through focused intervention, sustainable improvement takes time to embed, and is entirely dependent on building the capacity and capability of the school’s own team.  It is an investment in the school’s long-term future, addressing school improvement priorities, professional development needs, and organisational challenges through a single coherent and quality assured approach.

Although individual schools can access the Partner Schools Programme to good effect, it is at its most powerful when accessed through networks of schools, as in the NAHT Aspire school improvement initiative.  Sometimes, these networks can be pre-existing groups such as Multi Academy Trusts or local federations of schools, but the approach is equally effective with a new group of previously unconnected schools whose sole common interest is their engagement with EdisonLearning.

Typically, schools will set out on an improvement journey mapped out over 3 years or more, and will be supported through that process by a team of two or three Achievement Advisers.  These advisers, who all offer extensive and highly credible experience from across the education spectrum, develop deep relationships with their school partners over the duration of the programme and ensure that each school’s implementation plan is relevant, focused and rigorous

The journey is prefaced by the Collaborative Quality Analysis which provides a comprehensive baseline against which progress can be monitored, and priorities and ambitions identified and refined.

Progress throughout the programme is monitored through a robust termly cycle involving leaders, advisers and governors.  This cyclical approach ensures that short-term goals are effectively driven, that implementation plans are adapted to meet changing priorities, and that the school’s long-term vision is retained as the ultimate aim of the school improvement work.


NAHT Aspire Partner Schools Programme

In 2013, the NAHT commissioned EdisonLearning to further develop and enhance the Partner Schools model to reflect the challenges being faced by NAHT members in the light of declining support from traditional sources of school improvement and ever-increasing accountability measures.

The Aspire model focuses on schools coming together in groups of 6-12 to engage in a range of shared network events, reinforced by in-school support from Achievement Advisers.  It offers opportunities for experienced and newly appointed leaders to engage in a programme of professional development, aligned to their schools’ improvement priorities, and, through a strong distributed leadership model, build the capacity and energy for transformational change.

The DfE have supported a pilot of the NAHT’s Aspire approach, and this work has been independently evaluated by the University of Derby.  Further information about the programme, and the latest information from the evaluation team is available on the NAHT Aspire website.


Church School of the Future

A number of church schools and diocese have partnered with EdisonLearning to advance their school improvement ambitions. The Features of Highly Effective Schools provides an immensely valuable reference point for these schools, but for church schools, there is also the matter of church school distinctiveness to consider – what does a highly effective church school look like, and can church school distinctiveness be integrated within a coherent school improvement and professional development programme such as the Partner Schools Programme?

Working with the Diocese of Coventry and the National Society, EdisonLearning have explored this challenge in depth to develop the Features of Highly Effective Church Schools, the foundation of a distinctive school improvement programme for church schools.


School Improvement Tools

The Partner Schools Programme in its various forms is designed to support schools who have committed to a significant process of change or renewal.  While this is appropriate for many schools, irrespective of their ofsted status or position on a league table, for some the focus is more specifically on refining particular processes, systems or aspects of school-wide practice.

Reflecting this, EdisonLearning have made some of the key tools and resources from the Partner Schools Programme available as individual standalone elements or products for schools to purchase.  These can be adopted with limited training or support, but we do recommend that schools talk to us about their aims and ambitions to ensure that the investment they are making is the most appropriate one for them.

Further information on our School Improvement Tools is available here.