This is about driving standards across all schools. You’re rooting for every child, not just those at your own school.”
The ATLP is taking greater responsibility for the effectiveness of its academies through rigorous school-to-school peer evaluation.As part of its drive to create a sustainable and self-improving system, the peer review programme is a positive approach that recognises the strengths of schools and enables them to learn from each other to raise standards collectively.
The review enables colleagues to challenge each other and identify key areas for development to improve outcomes for students.
ATLP’s latest peer review took place at Hill West Primary School. Lead reviewer and former Ofsted inspector, Jonathan Smart, headteacher of Brookvale Primary School, and a team of senior ATLP leaders spent two days at the popular academy.
Taking on the role of “critical friend,” reviewers were able to gain a clear picture of Hill West through a series of assessments and lesson observations. Their positive feedback celebrated the strengths of Hill West and recommended ways in how the primary could improve further.
Hill West is already implementing those recommendations as part of its wider plan for improvement.
Reviewers are also benefiting from the experience, by drawing on Hill West’s best practices and adapting them for their own classrooms, as part of the ATLP’s continuous cycle of school-led improvement.
Jonathan Smart adds: “A peer review raises aspirations and drives professional accountability. It is a valued and supportive approach: it raises standards in our classrooms, provides credible professional development, and builds trust and accountability among our schools.
We all learn from the experience and we all improve. Ultimately, it makes all of our schools better places for our children to thrive.”
ATLP Peer Review – the view from both sides
Stuart Lackenby, assistant headteacher at Hill WestPrimary School, has previously reviewed Mere Green and Brookvale as part of the ATLP peer review programme.
Stuart says: ‘‘Being part of the peer review process was an excellent experience, particularly as it was led by colleagues across our partnership, who have the same passion and vision for improving standards for all of our children across all of our schools.
”I certainly found the process beneficial for my own professional development as, over the course of the two days, I took part in a number of discussions with lead and supporting reviewers that were not only challenging and probing, but were equally supportive and constructive.
”The process has contributed to my development as a leader and has allowed me to move forward with actions that will improve the outcomes for our children.”
Kerriann Morris, deputy headteacher at Slade Primary School, has previously experienced a peer review as a reviewee. This was her first time as a peer reviewer and here are her thoughts:
“It was really beneficial to have the opportunity to be part of Hill West’s peer review as a leader to see the other side of the review experience. It was a fantastic way to not only look at the shared vision that we have across the ATLP, but how each school delivers this vision in a way that is purposeful, engaging and worthwhile for their pupils.
“There are always things to learn in experiences such as these. I found that for my own professional development, being part of impact discussions, pupil voice activities and lesson observations allowed me to learn a lot more about leadership. It also gave me the opportunity to reflect on what we do at Slade and continue to drive our standards forward to ensure the best outcomes for our pupils.”