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What do schools receive?

Schools are able to purchase additional days. For details see the drop down menu  (click here)  

The school improvement team, which includes some commissioned consultants, provides a range of services which are free to BTS schools.

The BTS offer consists of three areas:


1. School improvement advisors (SIAs) and senior school improvement advisors (SSIAs).

A SIA or SSIA will provide support and challenge through visits and remote support. The number of SIA/SSIA days allocated to a school is dependent on the service level agreement. Schools are able to purchase additional days through the new school improvement website.

 Improvement advisor (IA) activity is likely to include:

 Initial discussion between IA and headteacher

  • Improvement advisors will be highly sensitive to the impact of COVID-19 on the school. For example, serious illness or sadly even death of staff, members of their families, pupils’ families, or people in the community. In all cases the challenge and pressure on schools, and the wellbeing of staff and leaders, will be a crucial topic of discussions. IAs will also ascertain the achievements of the school.

 Remote work and preparation

  • No remote evaluation of school performance will be conducted in August 2020. Given there is no nationally published progress and attainment data, and 2019.20 attendance and exclusions data is less relevant, a remote evaluation as completed in August 2019 would have little benefit.
  • In agreement with the headteacher, IAs will conduct a website audit. This will consider both quality and compliance.
  • In agreement with the headteacher, IAs will consider any recent survey results conducted by the school or the Borough. This will help IAs work in effective partnership with school leaders and governors to identify and support school improvement priorities.

Further conversation between headteacher, chair of governors and SIA

Colleagues will consider the pre-COVID-19 strengthens and areas of development of the school. They may wish to discuss whether the importance of specific pre-COVID-19 school priorities has increased, decreased or stayed the same. For instance, what level of significance is now placed on increasing the progress and attainment of disadvantaged pupils, or enhancing the history curriculum? In answering such questions, the connectivity between the schools’ pre-COVID-19 priorities, the schools’ actions during partial closure, and the recovery needs of pupils will be explored. Colleagues will agree the focus of the improvement advisor’s work for the year. School recovery planning and IA support may include:

  • Discussing with school leaders the changes made to safeguarding policies and procedures, including the effectiveness of the addendum to the safeguarding policy. These conversations will help the IA understand the specific COVID-19 related safeguarding risks stemming from the school context.
  • Considering and refining strategies to identify and fill gaps in knowledge resulting from many pupils not accessing onsite learning for a long period.
  • Implementing effective measures to enable those pupils who have been most detrimentally affected by the impact of the virus, including vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils, to recover pastorally and academically.
  • In the absence of nationally published data, IAs and school leaders are likely to spend proportionally more time considering the effectiveness of the curriculum through conversations with staff and pupils, lesson visits, and work scrutiny. This will support pupils’ learning, wellbeing and mental health needs to be identified and met. Staff and leaders have been under unprecedented pressure. Therefore, it is crucial that this work supports staff morale and performance.
  • Supporting leaders to formulate a strong remote learning offer, should ‘bubbles’ need to be sent home or further partial closures required.
  • Discussing the most effective recovery curriculum, given the needs of pupils and government guidance. Curricula must be broad and ambitious. The key components for progression will be prioritised within subjects.
  • Ensuring those pupils that are learning to read are giving excellent support to recovery lost learning, so they can read with fluency and comprehension appropriate to their age.
  • Devising high quality support for staff so they feel well supported and their wellbeing is strong.
  • Considering, in partnership with governors, whether a shift of emphasis in the work of governors is required. 
  • Exploring how additional funding, such as pupil premium and catch-up funding, can be used to secure optimal benefit for learners. 
  • Agreeing key focus areas for improvement work enables schools to assess IA impact and value for money. Focus areas may be usefully used to inform headteacher’s performance management. Within this conversation, the IA may well signpost or arrange support as required by the school.
  • BTS schools are able to secure advice from SSIAs as they wish.

Improvement advisor activity may also include:

  • In the light of no published data, carefully reviewing the headteacher’s previous performance management targets and setting targets for the current year. It is governors’ role to make judgements on the performance of headteachers. However, the IA will suggest strategies to overcome evaluation difficulties stemming from, for example, no published progress or attainment data. 
  • Joint monitoring between IA 's and senior leaders and subject leaders to develop their ability to identify systemic strengths or issues.
  • Assistance with senior leader or headteacher/principal recruitment.
  • Before, during and after support with inspection.

Support with complaints being managed under the school’s procedure, or complaints to Ofsted. For example, if a parent or carer complains to Ofsted, Ofsted will contact the local authority. A SSIA will then liaise with the headteacher and provide a written response to Ofsted.

2. School improvement team

The school improvement team, which includes some commissioned consultants, provide a range of services which are free to BTS schools.

  • Behaviour and attendance services include:

-          Facilitating specialist leaders of education (SLE) to provide coaching for staff to even more effectively manage challenging behaviour and enhance learners’ attitudes.

-          Conducting behaviour and attitudes audits for schools to help identify specific areas and strategies for improvement.

-          Delivering training sessions for school staff and governors regarding behaviour and attendance.

-          Conducting attendance audits for schools to help identify specific areas and strategies for improvement.

-          Supporting schools to monitor and increase the attendance of pupils and groups of pupils, such as disadvantaged pupils.

  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) services include:

-          Support with conducting Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS) and Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) audits and providing ongoing assistance to enhance areas identified as improvable.

-          Support with conducting audits of the effectiveness of promoting early reading and ongoing assistance to enhance areas identified as improvable.

-          Advice and guidance to enable the physical environment, including outdoor areas, to drive strong pupil progress and development.

-          Training for early years staff and leaders.

-          Assistance with using progress data and information to help children improve their learning and develop well.

-          Strengthening provision for two and three-year-olds.

-          Support with effective use of ACE (Achieving Continuous Excellence in the EYs). ACE is a quality improvement tool which incorporates Ofsted indicators. Leaders report it helps them identify priorities to move practice forward.

  • Completion of safeguarding audits and follow-up support as required.
  • Advice and guidance to ensure pupils gain strong phonics knowledge and skills and can read with fluency and comprehensions at least appropriate to their age.
  • Key stage 1 and key stage 2 writing moderation training for headteachers, school leaders and classroom practitioners at a reduced cost BTS schools.
  • Facilitating and leading professional study groups (PSGs). For example, early years staff share ideas and good practice at half termly PSGs.

Management of data packages. For example, Fisher Family Trust

3. Commissioned school support

The Local Authority analyses the performance of all schools collectively, responds to national policy change, and maintains a dialogue with school leaders about school’s needs. In response, targeted projects are commissioned to enhance outcomes for learners.

  • SSIAs compose and submit various bids. For example, to the education improvement strategic group (EISG). The services and support stemming from this funding is available to all schools. For example, in 2019 schools benefitted from the Inclusion Expert (primary and secondary) and Spirals of Enquiry (primary).

BTS income is used to commission further services, which BTS schools access free of charge. For instance, a significant proportion of training delivered by the Diamond Teaching School Alliance will continue to be free for BTS schools from April 2020.