What we do
As a multi-academy trust (or MAT), Anthem is first and foremost a school improvement organisation, responsible for ensuring that the public money we receive to run our 11 primary schools and five secondary schools is used to drive the best possible outcomes for the children and young people under their care.
How we do it…
Our work as a MAT falls into three broad areas of activity:
Within and between each of these areas, colleagues employed at national level (as part of our central team) and at local level (in our schools) work together to secure the highest possible standards in all aspects of school life and fulfil our shared ambition to become a high-performing, truly collaborative organisation.
School Improvement at Anthem
The Anthem School Improvement Strategy is our approach to monitoring, evaluating, supporting and challenging our schools to secure the best possible outcomes for our children and young people.
How does it work?
Our School Improvement Strategy is implemented collaboratively between school leaders and Education Directors. The process is both iterative and responsive to the needs of our schools. The cycle begins in the Autumn term when Education Directors and school leaders work together to review the schools’ overall effectiveness, based on robust school self-evaluation. The outcome is an annual school summary, which captures strengths and areas for development. This supports effective school development planning and informs the work of the Trust in providing support to our schools.
By far the most significant part of this joint work is what we call a ‘Gateway Assessment’ - a conversation designed to highlight and agree what support schools need, and what the desired impact of that support will be.
The Gateway offers schools three levels of support:
- The Core Programme
- The Development Programme
- Targeted Support
We are passionate about inclusion at Anthem. We understand that everyone has different starting points and work hard to make our schools places where all children and young people feel valued and receive the understanding and support they need to thrive.
The Head of Inclusion drives a strategic school improvement SEND agenda that permeates all areas of school life, working with SENDCos, Senior Leaders, and the Trust Executive to develop high-quality systems that reflect best practice within in this important and complex area of teaching and learning..
Together with SEND expert David Bartram OBE, Anthem’s Inclusion Lead Learner carries out whole-school SEND reviews to capture what’s going well and provide some suggested areas for improvement. Once an action plan is in place, schools receive follow-up visits and support to achieve their goals.
The Head of Inclusion is also available to provide bespoke training and advice on specific issues or cases as necessary, and Anthem staff are encouraged to make contact to gain support and advice. A good understanding of the legislation relating to SEND practice is available and necessary to ensure best practice, meaning that support and challenge can be offered in cases where areas need further consideration or discussion.
To complement the SEND reviews, we have set up a training programme for staff in inclusion roles. This training equips staff with the skills they need to put plans into action and, crucially, brings colleagues from different Anthem schools together, creating networks of peer support. Our annual SEND conference offers further opportunities for sharing ideas and collaboration.
Beyond the classroom
Recognising that there is more to a well-rounded education than simply what goes on in the classroom, we run some exciting cross-Trust initiatives to help students develop crucial life skills.
Pupils and students are experts on many aspects of school life, and their insights and suggestions are vital for senior leaders to make well-informed judgements about how to develop their school.
The Anthem Student Leadership Team has been established to do exactly that – enable a group of students, hand-picked by their peers, to make a meaningful contribution to our schools’ strategic development and hone their own leadership skills along the way.
The 10-strong collaborative working group of students from Anthem’s secondary schools will be looking at issues such as mental health and wellbeing across the Trust, investigate and share best practice in this area and make recommendations to inform our thinking.
Kyra Teaching School Alliance
The Kyra Teaching School Alliance, led by Anthem’s Mount Street Academy, is a partnership of over 50 schools across Lincolnshire. The alliance’s vision – which was shaped by leaders and teachers from across its schools – states that:
We will work together to ensure that all children across our schools benefit from the highest standards of teaching and learning and are inspired, supported and prepared to fulfil their potential.
The alliance has been established for four years and has achieved significant impact during that time. Currently, its work includes an emphasis on building greater capacity for school-to-school support within Lincolnshire, drawing on headteachers and other expert practitioners with a strong track record of supporting improvement in other schools. The alliance also continues to develop its work in recruiting and training trainee teachers, which it considers to be a key strategy for ensuring the long-term success of schools and pupils.
Kyra is also committed to harnessing the ideas of children themselves in order to achieve improvement across schools. The Kyra Kids’ Council, which includes student representatives from schools across the alliance, provides a key school improvement role, through their learning walks and constructive feedback to head teachers and teachers across the alliance.