Principles for Learning
The vision of Equals Trust states how our schools work together collaboratively and in partnership with each other to achieve the best for the children in our care. It sets the standards for our schools and the parameters of expectation. These are our roots and expectations of all schools within Equals Trust.
We work collaboratively together with a clear purpose and direction, where:
- teaching and learning is at the centre of all we do;
- children enjoy, and are engaged in, a curriculum that challenges and excites them;
- we develop responsible citizens who value diversity;
- we ensure a culture of high expectations amongst all our children;
- children value themselves and each other, developing the self-confidence and resilience to face future challenges;
- the contributions made by all stakeholders are valued.
We work effectively in school partnerships to enhance our provision by:
- extending the learning opportunities and activities for pupils;
- enriching the curriculum through partnership working and shared resources;
- enabling the greater sharing of excellent teaching and learning;
- enhancing the professional development of teaching and support staff;
- building mutual support and accountability for Headteachers and Governors;
- securing cost and resource efficiencies through joint commissioning.
The National Curriculum is the basis of our school’s curriculum. We have taken a close look at the skills and objectives to develop it’s breadth and balance. By looking at the principles for designing a curriculum we have looked at how the provision, enhancement and enrichment can be designed around learning independently and collaboratively for our schools and children.
Building new links and maintaining existing links to the locality and environment, deepening knowledge by combining skills for learning and professional development will enable schools to benefit from collaborative partnership working with other schools whilst retaining their own school specialities and unique identities.
Our Equals Trust model for Teaching and Learning identifies the qualities and skills needed for outstanding teaching and how children learn to enable them to be effective learners. The Leadership Group of head teachers have developed this model to reflect not only the best practice but also the expectations of Equals Trust. This model is used to support the development of teaching and learning across Equals Trust.
Assessment for Learning is an essential element of teaching and learning and we have developed a set of ‘Equals Trust Principles for Assessment’. This enables schools to work with structured and helpful guidance but in a way that benefits their individual school. The consistent methods of data collection and analysis of performance enable the Trust to support schools through common initiatives and trust-wide school improvement.
Branching out with Trust-wide activities to enrich the Entitlement.
All schools undertake a huge amount of enrichment activities, for example educational visits and events. Enriching the curriculum through Trust-wide activities are an important part of our collaborative work together, making our Trust a special place for children to thrive. Children will meet and interact with children from other schools, learn from each other and take part in inter-school activities and events.
- Sports – football and boccia inter-school tournaments.
- Story Telling – Children learning the art of storytelling, working in and supporting children from other schools, ultimately holding a performance evening of storytelling.
- Singing – all schools performing at the Albert Hall.
- E-Safety project – children from all schools developing technology guidance and information.
The two main areas of CPD and School Improvement enable us to deliver the Entitlement through the canopy of Engagement.
Through the work of the Leadership Group and the rich good practice identified in our schools, we are able to provide excellent shared professional development between our schools and school-to-school support. This enables our staff to thrive and to provide the best practice for the children in our care.
We have several networks and learning groups as well as ongoing projects to enhance teaching and learning. This includes our good practice toolkit and the development of lead practitioners who are accredited and can support schools across the Trust when required. We are also able to access continuing professional development in collaboration with others outside of the Trust, for example Teaching Schools, Research Schools, the Rushcliffe Learning Alliance networks and the East Midlands Education Support Service. Many of these can be made bespoke to our Trust and school needs.
Equal Trust's ‘School Improvement Strategy’ outlines our principles for supporting schools, being proactive in preventing issues arising and sustaining good practice as well as supporting the improvement of practice when required. The Leadership Group have Trust roles for school support and we continue to work in partnership with external School Improvement Advisors.
It is important that after analysing a school’s performance that their needs are identified and the appropriate level of support provided to improve. There is a great deal of excellent and exciting practice in our schools and a desire to share it. Strengths and good practice are identified in schools and these are used for further improvement. Schools work in partnership on new initiatives and developing good practice, looking to provide the best opportunities for our children to learn and grow.
As we state in our vision ‘teaching and learning is at the centre of all we do’.