News story

Michael Gove welcomes independent schools' contribution to academies

Speaking at the Wellington Academy, Michael Gove outlined the ways in which independent schools are helping to support academies.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Michael Gove today welcomed the contribution that independent schools can play in supporting or sponsoring academies. Speaking at the Wellington Academy, he also said that academies offer high quality training and professional development for their teachers.

658 schools are now academies. A third of all secondary schools are either already an academy, or on the way to becoming one. More than 40,000 teachers now work in academies.

Speaking about the role of independent schools he said:

Independence has made Britain’s private schools the best in the world. Greater independence will ensure more of Britain’s state schools become world class as well. That’s why it makes sense for private and public to work together.

Commenting on the benefits to teachers he will say:

There are still those who continue to criticise our policy of letting schools choose to become academies. They claim that academy status is a threat to staff pay and conditions. This is nonsense.

Academies, more than others, know how important it is to attract and keep good teachers. That is why they place a high premium on providing excellent development opportunities for staff.

It is time that the opponents of academies recognised that the landscape has changed. Every month more and more great professionals are teaching in academies, and despite scare stories, those teachers are getting a great deal.

Some of the benefits to teachers include:

  • Average pay for full-time classroom teachers in academies is higher than that for maintained schools. £35,700 compared to £34,700. Teachers in academies also tend to be younger.
  • Teachers in academies have more freedom over how they teach - as academies have freedom over the curriculum.
  • Academies place a high premium on good training and development for their staff. Including:
    • training days at Oxbridge and other top universities
    • giving them access to MAs both in the UK and at Harvard
    • opportunities to work with successful businesses
    • learning from classroom observation, often in specially fitted classrooms designed to help observation
    • bonus awards, private medical cover, interest free loans for season tickets and bicycle purchase
    • working with teachers in other schools to share skills

He will say that unions in particular should welcome these opportunities. For years they have demanded better opportunities for staff development, and better pay. Academies are providing just that.

Further information

More detailed examples of the development opportunities provided by some of our largest academy sponsors are set out below:

Harris Federation

  1. Development opportunities include:
    • Professional Standards: a 1-year programme for taking teachers from Satisfactory to Good, and a 2-year programme for taking them from Good to Outstanding. Delivered through weekly coaching, residential trips and twilight sessions.
    • Subject Networks: Heads of Subjects from across the Federation’s academies meet on a regular basis to share data, make observation visits and to co-develop curriculum and pedagogy.
    • Subject Days: through the Federation’s link with Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford, special learning days are put on for teachers in English, maths and science. Harris Manchester organises these days, and delivers leading world experts to talk to academy teachers about the subject areas that interest them. For teachers with an intellectual interest in their subject area, this is a fun, attractive and stimulating event to be part of.
    • Co-development and sharing of the best curriculum and lesson plans: the best maths, English and science teachers from each Harris academy attend a week long residential trip at Harris Manchester, where they develop excellent, high quality lesson plans to share across the group and across their teams.
    • Developing Future Leaders through the Harris Federation Masters Programme: delivered with the London University Institute of Education, and subsidised by 50%.
  2. Innovative benefits and incentives:
    • The benefits scheme is comparable to the schemes offered to other hard working professionals, but highly unusual within teaching. Includes private medical cover, interest free loans for season tickets and bicycle purchase.
    • There is a Harris allowance added to teachers’ salaries - £1,500 for outer London academies and £2,000 for inner London.
    • There is a range of financial incentives and bonuses for good performance, including for attendance and examination performance.

Teacher testimony

Esther Hobbs, Acting Co-ordinator of Maths, Harris Academy Falconwood - an Ofsted Outstanding School which opened in September 2008 said:

Having been a teacher at Harris Academy Falconwood since its inception I’ve had the opportunity to witness firsthand the extent to which sheer drive and determination can completely transform educational aspirations and outcomes for young people. More than that, in these three years I’ve gone from NQT to Deputy Co-ordinator, and am now about to take up the position of Co-ordinator of mathematics in another of the Harris academies. I would never have had the skillset or the confidence to achieve this in such a short period of time had the Harris Federation not been so committed to my professional development.

Faye Humphries, English teacher, Harris Academy Falconwood, an Ofsted Outstanding School which opened in September 2008 said:

Working at Harris has enabled me to become an outstanding teacher. Through CPD and a supportive network I have been able to progress professionally in a rapidly changing environment. The job is both challenging and rewarding but job satisfaction comes from knowing that we have provided students from a range of different backgrounds a chance to succeed and improve their life chances.

Sara Buchanan, Head of Modern Languages, Harris Academy Falconwood, an Ofsted Outstanding School which opened in September 2008 said:

Working at Harris has provided me with many fantastic opportunities. It has allowed me to develop my practice to become an outstanding teacher and has also given me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills and progress quickly in terms of career development. The Academy is an exciting, innovative and sometimes challenging place to work, but it is a great place to work if you are an ambitious and determined individual.

Nathalie Van der Weide, Head of Music, Harris Academy Purley said:

I didn’t know what to expect when we become a Harris academy. The rapid change has been really hard work but it has been absolutely worth it. I now feel much more secure in my job and much more supported. Harris is rigorous about standards and maintaining very high expectations. A good thing about Harris is they force you to think about your future and your career. The CPD is fantastic and there is lots of it. I never expected my MA to be funded to the level it has been. The whole Federation CPD days are always excellent and there are middle leader and aspiring senior leader programmes.

Dawn Steele, Music teacher, Harris Academy Purley said:

My teaching has directly benefitted from the excellent CPD and the resources provided to support my teaching. The IT support is fantastic. It is really focused on learning. At Harris you are really supported to be an outstanding teacher.

The whole federation CPD opportunities are outstanding. They help build really supportive teacher networks. Teachers from across the Federation are happy to share all their best ideas and resources.

The Harris Federation is all about Teaching and Learning, Teaching and Learning.

Francis Lane, was Teach First now Head of RE, Harris Academy Purley said:

As a new leader, being part of the Federation has been particularly good for me. The Federation Middle leadership Network has been incredibly helpful and informative.

The whole Federation CPD Conferences are always great particularly the subject network sessions. There are always lots of excellent classroom ideas.

For new subjects and smaller subjects like mine, the Federation subject networks provide fantastic support.

Esther Olayiwola, teacher at Harris Academy South Norwood, an Ofsted Outstanding School which opened in September 2007 said:

The outstanding teacher programme at South Norwood is brilliant. It has not been about being told how to be a better teacher, but involves exploring what makes for effective learning. Having a coach who worked with me 1-1 throughout has focused on my needs and personal growth. My lessons have improved greatly and I now consider myself to be a consistently outstanding teacher.

Rebecca Heathcote, Acting Assistant Principal at Harris Academy South Norwood, an Ofsted Outstanding School which opened in September 2007, said:

The power of coaching has amazed me. It has encouraged to reflect more deeply and think solutions through to my own issues. I have been encouraged through a structured model and very precise questioning to develop my strategic thinking and unlock a belief in myself. I feel challenged by coaching in a supportive and constructive way.

Nikky Aderanti, Co-ordinator of Science, Harris Academy Falconwood, an Ofsted Outstanding School which opened in September 2008, said:

The fear of the unknown enveloped the whole school before Harris academy took over Westwood College. The inevitable changes, though sometimes challenging, have engendered palpable improvements in work ethics, improved quality of teaching and learning and measurable success in the lives of the students.

The United Learning Trust

  1. Leadership Provision
    • 1 ULT principal attended executive programme at Harvard Business School, USA
    • 1 ULT principal attended executive programme at Harvard Business School, London
    • 3 ULT principals attended executive programme at Henley Business School
    • 2 ULT principals attended executive programme at Ashridge Business School
  2. Accredited Provision
    • 40 ULT teachers currently on or completed - MA in Educational Leadership and Management - University of Warwick: Institute of Education and Business School
    • 15 teachers commencing in September 2011
    • 40 ULT teachers currently on or completed pedagogical MA module with Sheffield Hallam University (ULT Teacher Leader Programme)
    • 10 teachers commencing in academic year 2011 to 2012
  3. Talent Development Provision
    • Partnership with Future Leaders leading to Assessment Centres, Full programme and bespoke ULT Modular Programme for Aspirant Principals (10 assessed this year).
    • Partnership with Teaching Leaders leading to Assessment Centres, Full programme and bespoke ULT Modular Programmes for Middle Leaders to become exceptional leaders (40 assessed this year).
  4. Short Course Provision
    • People Development Programme containing 50 days of training per annum for all categories of academy staff
  5. Partnership Provision
    • Honda deliver a day on our Warwick MA on Business Leadership.
    • The MoD have invited all ULT Principals to participate in the partnership day of the Defence Strategic Leadership Programme.
    • Trinity Hall Cambridge providing bespoke science conference for ULT science heads of departments (HoDs) and teachers.
    • St John’s College Durham holding places for ULT HoDs at their annual religious studies conference.

Teacher testimony

Anne Hill joined ULT’s Northampton Academy from the predecessor school as Head of Department 6 years ago. She has just been appointed Principal and will take up her post in September. She said:

ULT quickly identified my leadership potential and their willingness to invest heavily in my professional development particularly through expert coaching provided the opportunity and privilege to lead one of their academies.

Maria Nightingale joined ULT as Assistant Principal at Manchester Academy which, 6 years after opening, was deemed ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. She was then appointed Associate Principal and then Principal of Sheffield Park Academy - also sponsored by ULT. She said:

As a product of an inner-city multi-cultural education myself, it was a privilege to join Manchester Academy’s senior leadership team and play a part in transforming the lives of young people in inner-city Manchester.

It has been wonderful to transfer my experiences gained in Manchester to other schools in the north west where there is further potential for raising aspirations amongst young people and impress upon them that through hard work they can achieve anything they put their mind to.

ARK Academies network

There are 4 areas of focus for staff development at ARK Schools:

  1. In-School training:
    • Staff benefit from lesson observation and real time feedback/ planning support provide a key input to this process.
    • Senior staff in schools are trained to conduct and lead lesson observation feedback sessions with all individuals in the school to ensure that the content learned via the formal training programme is having an impact on classroom practice.
    • Some ARK Schools have observation classrooms available, where teachers are able to ‘book’ classrooms fitted out with high tech video recording facilities. Video footage from these filmed classes then becomes a key input to teacher’s development.
  2. Training opportunities across the ARK schools network:
    • Staff across the network (both teaching and non-teaching) are offered a wide range of targeted training solutions- relating both to teaching skills as well as ‘soft skills’ like communication, team work, managing conflict and time management.
    • These include programmes such as the ARK Schools Aspiring to Headship programme, the ARK Schools Aspiring to AST programme, Future Leaders and Teaching Leaders.
  3. Network-wide activities for staff:
    • Subject groups are in place across the network to provide opportunity to share best practice
    • All key subjects including English, maths, music and science; as well as areas such as SEN, behaviour, assessment and school leadership have cross network groups - where staff can share ideas and learn from each other
    • Two days a year from the school calendar are dedicated to these hubs meeting in person to look at subject pedagogy and sharing best practice; while peer mentoring, coaching circles and support plans are in place outside the hub days to ensure exceptional teaching and learning exists across the network.
  4. The ARK Schools Summit:
    • The first ARK Schools Summit took place in November 2010 for over 800 ARK staff (teaching and support) with a pre-selected choice of 28 breakout sessions offering role-specific training or ‘soft skills’ training in areas such as line management, communications, time management, etc
    • The Summit brought together world class speakers and educationalists including Doug Lemov of Uncommon Schools, Jay Altman of First Line Schools, Dylan William from the Institute of Education and Sir Keith Ajegbo.

DfE enquiries

Website: www.education.gov.uk/help/contactus

Published 13 May 2011