The Trust is outward looking and intends to build upon the strong record of collaborative working which already exists at its founding school, St Clement Danes.
Its system leadership extends across a wide network of educational establishments. In 2008, Josephine Valentine was one of the first National Leaders in Education in Hertfordshire and was on the inaugural Board of Directors that set up Herts for Learning.
The Herts & Bucks Teaching School Alliance
St Clement Danes is the Lead School in the Herts & Bucks Teaching School Alliance, a collaboration of schools, universities and learning trusts in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Within the Alliance, there are over 20 local primary and secondary schools sharing a common ethos focused upon the delivery of outstanding student outcomes. Whilst St Clement Danes is the Lead School, there is distributed leadership, with outstanding schools within the Alliance taking on responsibility for specific areas of provision such as Continuing Professional Development and Research & Development. Leadership arrangements are aimed at providing long term sustainability. All schools joining the Danes Educational Trust will automatically become part of this Alliance.
St Clement Danes is also the lead school of the Hertfordshire Challenge Partners Hub – another organisation of which schools joining the Trust will become a part. This is a national organisation of 400 primary and secondary schools at the cutting edge of school improvement, which builds long term capacity by organising constructive collaboration and peer to peer evaluation.
Science Learning Partnership
The school also leads a Science Learning Partnership across a wide area of London and the South East. Accessing national resources, the partnership promotes professional development for staff to generate high quality science teaching in all phases of education. Again, joiner schools will have priority access to this successful and developing organisation.
These partnerships demonstrate the Trust’s track record of collaborative working for school improvement. This collaborative approach will impact positively on teaching and learning at all schools within the Trust, whether it be the implementation of key findings from research and development projects undertaken within the Teaching School Alliance, or from joint INSET and Continuing Professional Development offered to staff from across schools within the Alliance and Challenge Partner Hubs.
An Excellent Record in School Improvement
A core element of the work of the Teaching School Alliance, facilitated by funds it obtained for this purpose, is the school improvement support programme. Schools requiring improvement have been supported through working with colleagues from outstanding schools to drive up standards. Over the last three years, eight schools across both secondary and primary phrases have been supported through executive leadership and business management deployment as well as subject specific support. Three out of the four secondary schools have moved from RI to good. Of four primary schools supported, two moved from RI to good, one improved from special measures to good and, in the fourth, the quality of teaching is now good. Currently, the Teaching School Alliance has been commissioned by the Department for Education to work with five secondary schools, a primary school and a UTC to bring about improvements in their Ofsted grading. No other Teaching School Alliance in the area has had greater success and supported more schools across both phases to deliver improved outcomes.