Our approach encourages school leadership teams of primary schools, in partnership with their governing bodies, to focus on doing fewer things better since we believe that they can no longer be all things to all people. The best way to overcome the recruitment and retention crisis is to make the job of teaching and leadership more manageable and more fulfilling and to create the conditions in which ‘children love learning and teachers love teaching’. This is best achieved through the engagement and involvement of the whole workforce through the partnering of people for performance and fulfilment.
Much of our work is with clusters of schools. Over the past few years we have been working with clusters from Bexley, Bracknell Forest, Brent, Chelmsford, Enfield, Hackney, Havering, Hounslow, Lancashire, NW Kent, Poole, Reading, Rotherham, Stoke, Surrey, Tamworth, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, West Sussex, Wirral and Woking. All of these clusters have involved between eighteen and thirty participating schools and nearly all of them have been organised directly for us by local headteacher organisations or headteacher co-ordinators. This is further evidence of the extent to which school leaders are being proactive and empowering themselves both individually and collectively to make things happen.
More recently we have started working with the senior leadership teams of primary schools from the same multi-academy trust in order to develop the essential foundations of shared purpose, vision and values in a way which balances ‘the cluster way’ with the need for schools to have levels of autonomy, self direction and distinctiveness.