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CL Update - 13/11/2015

CL Update - 13/11/2015

CL Update - 13/11/2015

16 Nov 2015

‘Next steps’ workshops held

This week saw important workshops being held with Heads and Chairs to discuss and help design the future work of the CL as a continued improvement and development vehicle for schools. Secondary Heads and Chairs met at the Crowndale Centre on Monday 9 November, while Primary and Special Heads met at the Swiss Cottage School Development and Research Centre on Thursday 12 November.
The workshops, which focused on three main areas outlined further below, were well-attended and attendees provided valuable feedback on the proposed future direction of the CL. Thanks to everyone for coming and taking part.

Feedback on the core elements of the CL strategic plan

The first item provided an opportunity to draw on the invaluable collective knowledge and expertise of Heads and Chairs. Following group discussions, useful feedback was provided on the CL plan’s priorities, strengths and areas for improvement which will help us to inform the future direction of the plan. Feedback included that many agreed in principle with the plan but there was a desire to further understand, and clarify, how implementation of the plan would work in practice - to ensure that it drives the work of the CL in a meaningful way. It was recognised that the plan needs to be further sharpened and shortened and more work will be undertaken on this. The plan will now be revised following feedback received. Kathy Bannon has also agreed to arrange a workshop session with the help of John Hayes and invite Primary, Secondary and Special School Heads to attend and work together on the revision of the plan.

Discussion on schools working in smaller clusters

The second item of the workshops looked at how schools might work in smaller clusters to support school improvement. Head and Chairs were broken into small groups and asked to identify:
• what existing experience schools already have of successfully working together collectively; and
• what more schools could do to work together as a group.
Discussions highlighted that schools are already successfully working together in a number of areas, but that there are further opportunities to build on this. A particular area Heads and Chairs highlighted to prioritise and build on was assessment, moderation and progression.
Other areas highlighted included more secondments between schools to share experience and learning, further sharing of support and business services and additional access to curriculum expertise. This feedback will be used to further inform thinking on how schools can work together in clusters.

Discuss future function and form of CL

The third focus area of the workshops looked at how the function and form of the CL will evolve in the future. Initial thinking was outlined on how the CL can be ‘future proofed’ to withstand further changes from government (which may see council roles in state education provision being restricted), through moving the CL to become a new legal entity. This would enable a strong, legally-bound basis to protect the collective and partnership working through the CL. Initial options being considered are the creation of a company limited by guarantee or a not for profit, co-operative or community interest schools company.

Heads and Chairs provided some initial feedback on this at the workshop. These options will now be further developed, with formal consultation undertaken with schools and partners in the New Year. The aim is to take proposals to the Council’s Children, Schools and Families Scrutiny Committee in December 2015 or February 2016, followed by Cabinet in February or April 2016 (depending on when the paper goes to the scrutiny committee), with CL beginning to operate as new legal entity by September 2016.

Steps forward

Feedback from the workshops was invaluable – thank you to Heads and Chairs for your input, which will be used to take forward the work of the CL, as outlined above. All Heads and Chairs will also receive a report from ISOS following the workshops. It is recognised that the timetable for taking forward this work is ambitious. However, the Council is determined to drive this important work forward in a timely way. For further updates please see our schools Camden School Services website.

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