Driven by a desire to secure the very best educational standards for all our students, we formed our own limited company over twelve years ago, with the two most recent members joining three years ago. Kendal College and the University of Cumbria are also members of the Federation working collaboratively on transition and research, for example. We are also a Cohort One Teaching School and enjoy excellent links with our two local primary consortia.
Back in 2004, becoming a limited company gave us the opportunity to appoint our own federation staff. In the early days we appointed a part-time Executive Officer to set up structures, manage the business and keep us on track, and then an Inclusion Manager; at the time we were particularly concerned to improve the opportunities for those students in our schools whose needs were not being met by the provision available. A cross-school programme was highly successful and, over time and by working closely together, our schools were able to improve the way they managed these youngsters.
The scope of our partnership working developed markedly from 2007 when we appointed our Director of Quality and Development (DQD) with a focus on standards in our schools. The federation went from strength to strength and meant our application to be one of the first Teaching Schools was made with enthusiasm and confidence.
As has been the case for many years, our work comes both from identified needs and individual school/college priorities and now overlaps with/covers the Teaching School agenda. We hold at least two Strategy Days each year when headteacher/principal colleagues meet to agree the focus of future work.
Our work includes:
School to school support and school improvement – as needs are identified through our peer review process: a combination of DQD, heads and SLEs or other colleagues from within our partnership.
Professional Development, Leadership Training & Succession Planning – a cross-area training day and subject networks in all subject areas. Work co-ordinated by our PD group.
Initial Teacher Training and NQT induction in partnership with the University of Cumbria
Curriculum Development – curriculum representatives from each school meet for at least one half day meeting a term
Inclusion – Student Engagement and Pastoral Support as well as Inclusion Advocates who meet monthly to consider the needs and provision for those students most at risk
Research & Development – Through our strong links with Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria