Our Philiosophy informing our mission - 'Every Child, Every Day'
Children only get one chance at education and what we do is therefore both critical and urgent!
Transparency drives transformation
‘We are what we are and we do what we do’.
A year, in time, for adults may not feel like very long – but for a child it is significant. Can you remember how long the summer holidays felt when you were a child?
We therefore don’t have the luxury of being able to sit back and simply wait for things to happen. Improvement within the classroom needs to be driven by passionate, enthusiastic staff who believe firmly in the value to children of what they’re doing and it is these people who we seek to recruit across our organisation.
Our 4 values underpin everything we deliver for our children and young people and they are fundamental to the way we operate inside and outside of the classroom.
Reaching exacting educational standards is now a basic requirement of any educational provision and no one would argue with the benefit of raising educational standards, but different schools and Trusts can use different approaches to do this.
Whilst some may decide to focus more exclusively on academic progression at the expense of a broader and more balanced curriculum, we believe the opposite is true - that we should use a greater breadth and depth of curriculum, extra-curricular, and supplementary activities as a fundamental underpinning for our curriculum - to ensure that rigorous academic progress is delivered through, not in place of, a wider range of experiences.
We believe in developing highly engaging, interactive and innovative teaching, which stimulates and builds on children’s real world experiences and allows them to transfer what they develop in school directly into real world scenarios wherever possible.
The innovative approaches our schools and settings take demonstrate that developing excellent outcomes in this way can give high educational standards, alongside happy children who have deep and lasting memories of great experiences.
School Improvement Process - 'Innovate and Collaborate!'
We see 2 strands of school improvement which support each other - but can be operationally quite separate whilst working clearly within our organisational culture:
- Systems and processes
LIFE Academies Trust and our partners can offer help and support to both maintained schools and Academies in both of these key areas:
Educational improvement: based on a clear culture of innovation and collaboration:
- Create a sense of ‘urgency’ for our children - there isn't time to wait for things to get better themselves.
- Focus clearly on the development of high quality classroom (and out of classroom) practice.
- The Academic curriculum becomes more demanding year on year – we need to keep up. However…
- We should never underestimate the importance of breadth and (age appropriate) play in doing this.
- Engagement is key – We all know how much easier it is to stay engaged and motivated by something if it captivates our attention and imagination. Children and young people need this too - they need to love what they do and WANT to learn - however young or old they are.
- Look at the design of the curriculum – does it really work for all our children and young people and support the aims of the school and the Trust? Is it inclusive, progressive, challenging & reflective of our local national and international communities?
These key fundamental principles underpin our actions in improving the quality of provision and outcomes for children and young people.
Systems and Processes - designed to support and drive our improvement work
- Culture is key - and a fundamental principle of this is that we won't get everything right all of the time - far from it! What is key however, is that we're open and honest when we get things wrong and learn from our mistakes - quickly! Creating an open culture of ‘Monitoring – Evaluation and Review’ to drive improvement is key in creating capacity and sustainability.
- Financial sustainability - No one enters teaching to become an accountant- but financial pressures on schools are a very real and significant danger to schools' futures and therefore ensuring finances are under control and the school is sustainable is a key line of work. As a Trust we can remove this burden from school staff and use our range of experience to make cost savings and protect front line staff and resources within these challenging times.
- 'Let Headteachers be Headteachers' sums up our approach of ensuring that leaders and managers at all levels are focussed on the right things - and not distracted by the wrong things. Clear, appropriately directed leadership and governance must be in place and focussed on the right areas.
- Ensure that policies and systems are complementary and support overall aims and objectives – everyone must be clear about who does what – and be travelling in the same direction, otherwise time, energy and resources are spent replicating or confusing what needs to be done.
Schools need to focus on children and young people as their core business - but all the other 'business' still needs to be taken care of, and the demands are evermore taxing. This clarity of vision and operation can help make this a reality.