VNET EDUCATION CIC

Support for Leading Small Schools

A remote package of support for small schools across the country. Focussing on the unique challenges of curriculum and leadership in small schools.

Leading Small Schools

Leading a small school is a great joy but also presents a great challenge.  The range of responsibilities and duties held by headteachers and staff in small schools feels ever-increasing, despite the advantages and potential easier communications. Coupled with challenging budgets, small schools are vulnerable due to the amount of resources they have to ensure time can be spent on focussed professional development and coaching.

In order to facilitate a network of school improvement support for small schools country-wide, we are offering the following as a ‘Small Schools Package’ to individual schools, dioceses and local authorities. As well as the collaboration and networking opportunities created, the package is designed to give small schools the opportunity to keep practice up to date in line with the new Ofsted Framework, whilst bearing in mind National Curriculum and SIAMS expectations.  The aim of the project is to create long-term alliances between the schools with the focus always on improved outcomes for children.

We define Small Schools as schools with an NOR less than 150.

The VNET small schools programme has been invaluable, the wealth of ideas and views shared has been a huge benefit to the school.

Headteacher, Bressingham Primary School

Small Schools’ Subject Leader Training 

These sessions with Emma Adcock will focus on the following topics:

Managing Multiple Subjects in small schools
Getting to know the Inspection Framework
What to expect from a deep dive – this will include advice and tips from local small schools who have been inspected under the new framework

  • Effective subject leader monitoring tools to support conducting lesson visits, book scrutiny and talking with pupils about their learning
  • Sequencing learning in your subject and shaping progression across year groups
  • Establishing end points in your curriculum
  • Evaluating impact

Mixed-Age Planning Workshops

Small schools have particular challenges around designing curriculum for mixed-age classes and classes where the mix changes year on year. These sessions are delivered by Clive Davies, author of ‘Planning a Curriculum for Mixed-Aged Classes’ and will cover:

Creative ways of planning curriculum in small schools
Challenges and solutions to curriculum planning in mixed age classes
Research and evidence as to what makes an effective curriculum.

One-to-one Small School Leadership / Curriculum Clinics

These hour-long ‘one-to-one’ online sessions provide an opportunity for leaders to have an in-depth conversation specifically to support curriculum development and/or leadership.

Deep Dive Practice Clinic 

Conducting deep dive conversations with Ofsted can be particularly challenging in small schools where staff may have responsibilities for several subject areas. These conversations are invaluable in either practising your deep dive conversation or helping you to formulate them. They are often useful in identifying areas for improvement. 

Leading Small Schools – Best Practice Forum

Join in a session once every half term to network with other small schools. We will discuss issues of the day or particular areas depending on the cohort’s needs. Curriculum Leaders find these sessions valuable for collaboration, sharing experiences and resources as well as discussing best practice across the country. 

VNET and Small Schools

VNET has a successful track record of supporting small schools with their school improvement agendas. We have a team of knowledgeable and highly skilled associates who are committed to helping schools achieve the best outcomes for their children.  With a background in curriculum development, headship and work in Church schools, the team is well-placed to ensure schools have the best coaching and advice to help them flourish.  In our recent small schools’ project with Norfolk County Council, 90% of schools indicated that they would like the opportunity to work more widely across the country to share ideas and best practice with other small schools.

The VNET small schools programme has been invaluable, the wealth of ideas and views shared has been a huge benefit to the school.

Headteacher, Bressingham Primary School

It has been great to receive training specifically tailored for small schools and the understanding of the pressures that we as a staff experience

Headteacher, Hevingham and Marsham Primary Partnership

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