School Improvement

The Aspire School Improvement Model is in place to ensure that all Aspire academies are working together to improve outcomes for children. Central to the model is ensuring appropriate levels of

  • monitoring and challenge
  • support / system leadership
  • intervention (where needed)

The model relies on a strong evidence base built through regular analysis and observation. The model contains both proactive and reactive elements to effectively support the needs of our individual academies.

As reflected in our Scheme of Delegation, we remain committed to the principle of ‘earned autonomy’; that is to say, for academies who are successfully delivering positive outcomes for children such that overall performance would be judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ in Ofsted terms, we will adopt a ‘light touch’ approach.

Those successful academies, however, retain the right within our model to request support in specific areas, so that, although required meetings and data submissions will be minimal, requests from the academy could lead to a number of additional visits throughout the year to further develop and ‘fine-tune’ their practice.

Our grading of each academy will not be based solely on the academy’s last Ofsted inspection, which, in some cases, could be many years ago. At the end of each academic year, a grading will be decided by the CEO – in discussion with the headteacher and subject to confirmation by the Board – which will then determine the level of support to be applied in the new academic year. This principle of the Board having the right to grade an academy differently to its last Ofsted inspection is established in our Scheme of Delegation as follows:

Category: 1 = Good/outstanding;  2 = Requires improvement;  3 = Inadequate/sponsored These may be changed for individual academies by the MAT Board Category 3 LGB may have no or minimal local representation

School Improvement – Completing the Jigsaw
In terms of piecing together the ‘jigsaw’ of school improvement, we believe that the following areas are of critical importance. In the most successful (category 1) academies, leaders have the capacity to address these areas with minimal external support or intervention; in category 2 or 3 academies, external input will be required to ensure that these areas are being considered and addressed.


In the tables which follow, we outline both the extent and the nature of support provided by Aspire for academies in the 3 different categories in order to help each academy deliver the best possible outcomes for children. 4 Annual Level of Support This table demonstrates the core ‘offer’ (as required by Aspire) + the option of additional support (as requested by an academy).

Quality Assurance (QA) visits are primarily to observe, collect and discuss emerging data, holding academies to account for pupil outcomes. School Improvement (SI) visits are about working with academy staff to develop and improve practice – e.g. strategic planning, team teaching, demonstration lessons, behaviour management training etc. QA visits will usually be conducted by the CEO. SI support will be provided by:

  • CEO
  • Aspire ‘A-team’ of subject specialists
  • Headteachers of Aspire schools
  • Other Aspire staff as appropriate
  • External consultants if necessary


In addition to the above, the CEO will provide headteacher performance management support to Local Governing Bodies, working with headteachers and governors to discuss and draft objectives which have a significant and direct impact on school improvement.

Quality Assurance Visits
Whilst SI visits will be necessarily tailored in response to each academy’s data, QA visits will follow the same basic pattern for each academy in order to ensure a consistent and clear overview of performance. For category 2 and 3 schools, the visits will be more frequent and therefore able to go into greater detail to explore ways of increasing impact and to help shape the most appropriate SI programme.