All of our primary schools are unique in their own way, but what all our primary schools have in common is the drive to work together to provide the best education possible for our pupils.
The belief is that by coming together with a shared vision of supporting each other and sharing good practice, we can offer our staff and pupils more opportunities to develop and learn.
The majority of our schools are small and rural, so they have been in positions of isolation for quite some years with limited CPD opportunities and difficulties in sharing ideas. With the firm belief of our staff to want the best for our children, they recognise the value of joined up thinking and shared approaches which is what the trust has been able to offer them.
Having this mindset has allowed the schools to find common threads and move forward on developing these approaches that by themselves would not have been possible. Such collaborative approaches have included launching longitudinal CPD programs such as Talk for Writing. This English strategy will be adopted across the schools with brand new books, resources and five whole school training sessions over the first two terms. This is a large commitment from the trust and the schools that will have a significant impact on the teaching and learning of the pupils while supporting staff with developing their subject knowledge and their understanding of reading and writing progression.
By working collaboratively, the schools have also begun to develop Maths Mastery. This is being initially established following the White Rose mathematical approach that is being supplemented with Power Maths resources. To allow for subject knowledge development and teaching support, there will also be a Maths lead teacher to work 1 day a week across the trust. By offering training, resources and ongoing support with a lead teacher, the schools are able to ensure that the maths mastery approach is established and fully embedded as quickly as possible.
Other staff have been appointed to work across the trust to support in different areas, such as EYFS, attendance and SEND. Alongside these roles are network meetings where training and updates are provided. The networks already established include: head teachers, who meet monthly; subject leaders, SENDCOs, EYFS leads, who all meet half-termly; and teaching assistant and forest school staff, who all meet termly. These networks provide opportunities for staff to come together to share ideas and feel part of a wider community of educationalists.
Our schools all have shared elements of strength. A particular strength would be the forest school learning that takes place in designated areas on or around the schools. This outdoor learning opportunity allows children to develop many other skills and appreciate the nature on their doorstep. Another strength is the behaviours for learning the pupils display in and around the schools. This comes from excellent relationships that have developed between staff and pupils.
The vision for the primary schools within the trust is to bring like-minded schools together to work in partnership to deliver the highest standards of education to young people in Norfolk and Suffolk.