Support for Leading Small Schools – Phase II

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 – Phase II 

Following the successful delivery of ‘Leading Small Schools Phase I‘, we are offering a Phase II support programme for Small Schools. This programme aims to build on the gains made in Phase I.  The programme is designed to give four main areas of support: 

  1. Network and coaching, through regular forums and 1-2-1 coaching sessions  on curriculum impact and leadership
  2. For leaders to consider and develop the skills needed for executive headship, and to introduce a collaborative review on a shared curriculum priority
  3. To support Early Years, particularly in a mixed-age setting.

As in Phase I, the ultimate 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.

Evaluating the impact of the curriculum in a small school – Part 1

When inspectors evaluate the impact of the education provided by the school, their focus will primarily be on what pupils have learned. Having a well-structured, well-taught curriculum will lead to good results because those results will reflect what pupils have learned.

This session will ensure that:

  • Schools understand how the identification of knowledge components leads to assessment.
  • Schools will know and understand how to use formative assessment strategies to check that pupils’ knowledge is being retained.
  • Schools will understand how to evaluate pupils’ progress through discussions with pupils.

Evaluating the impact of the curriculum in a small school – Part 2

Following on from session 1, this session will provide schools with the opportunity to work collaboratively with another school on an aspect of evaluating the impact of the curriculum.

Collaboration between practitioners is a powerful tool that can help teachers to work together on a shared curriculum priority.

EYFS in Small Schools – The Uniqueness of the Small Cohort & the New EYFS Framework in mixed-age classes

These two twilight sessions will consider how to ensure that the EYFS standards and principles are guiding practice and provision when working with a very small number of EYFS children, sometimes as few as 2 or 3 children.

A mixed-age class presents the challenges of two different frameworks, different assessment strategies, and potentially conflicting pedagogical approaches. These sessions will provide the opportunity to discuss the challenges and issues and how the principles of the EYFS can be used to ensure that all children thrive.

We will focus on a key question: ‘How do young children learn best?’ Rather than offer simplistic ideas, we will explore some of our fundamental beliefs about learning, not just in the EYFS but also in KS1, and use some of the EYFS principles to discuss how these can be successfully built upon to provide what all children need in a mixed-age class.

Executive Leadership in Small Schools

Over the past 20 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of schools with ‘Executive Headteachers’. Although this means the budget is more secure, a significant change in the work of a headteacher takes place when becoming an ‘Executive Headteacher’.

Structures, systems and travel become key elements of an Executive Headteacher’s life. This online session will explore how to establish and maintain the best approaches to executive leadership and highlight areas to consider in your route to becoming a highly effective Executive Headteacher.

Led by a practicing Executive Headteacher, there will be lots of practical take-aways and example led practice. 

One-to-one Coaching Session – Leadership

These hour-long ‘one-to-one’ online sessions provide an opportunity for leaders to have an in-depth conversation to discuss the  leadership challenges and opportunities that leaders and their schools are facing. 

One-to-one Coaching Session – Curriculum

These hour-long ‘one-to-one’ online sessions provide an opportunity for leaders to have an in-depth conversation to discuss whatever challenges present themselves, impact of the curriculum changes following Phase I etc.

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.

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

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This approach provides clear models for learning, based upon a secure evidence base. In 24/25 join the Norfolk WalkThrus cohort to provide a network to integrate this pedagogical approach to improving teaching and learning across our schools. CPD, networks and instructional coaching all included in membership!