How we work together
How does collaboration work in our schools? When you’re a part of Maritime, we are all interconnected. Yes, it’s about headteachers, SLT, phase leaders, and teachers working together to learn how their counterparts do things and approach different challenges- and yes that works and that’s how we’ve turned schools around. But it goes deeper than that – it’s about making sure staff are deployed efficiently across the Trust, it’s about helping each other to plug gaps whenever possible, it’s about thinking about how the Trust might help your school, and how your school can help the others in the Trust. Going it alone won't work – there is always something to learn from each other and a way to develop your school and your people while working to help each other. A win for one of us is a win for all of us. And challenges are an opportunity for us to pull together and find a solution. No one is alone in this and we’re here for each other. Together we are Maritime.
How we work together
The best part of being part of our Multi Academy Trust, apart from the security of having other schools to support you whenever you need, is the partnership work available to you.
Examples of the ways in which we work together currently:
At Maritime we are passionate about Special Educational Needs and believe that every child has the right to a fantastic education. We have a number of schools with designated specialisms, such as our Autism and Language Impairment provisions. We share this expertise across the Trust. Our SEND lead works with all of the schools to ensure that we have a shared approach, we support each other with the latest legislation and carry out audits to ensure that each school has the best possible SEND support.
We work together and with local partner schools to regularly carry out peer reviews. We use these to reflect on our existing practice or to develop middle leaders across our schools. It is a chance for subject leaders to work together and support each other in developing practice in their schools.
Over the past year we started having a number of teacher exchanges, in which teachers have the opportunity to work with a partner teacher in another school. They get the opportunity to team teach in their partner’s school and then they reciprocate the process back at their own school. The teachers then are given release time to reflect on what they have learnt and what they can develop within their own classes.
We also started secondments and teacher swaps for teachers looking for new challenges but wanting to stay within the Maritime family. This has meant that we have been able to keep highly skilled staff whilst giving them new challenges and opportunities to explore.
We work together on teacher recruitment through a number of schemes. We regularly take on apprentices. We are part of two School Direct schemes, enabling us to recruit a number of staff each year through the School Direct programme. We also share student teachers who join us from local universities.
Through our work with local partner schools we run a number of direct training programmes. These include:
Subject Leader Training
Support Staff Training
Coaching and Mentoring
From 17/18 staff will be able to sign up to more bespoke weekly CPD sessions at each other’s schools, rather than having a one-size-fits-all model of staff meetings in the individual schools.
The heads in our schools regularly meet together as part of their development. They use these meetings to support each other, share practice and work together on new challenges or initiatives. Each of the schools work together to moderate levels and share book monitoring, enabling them to benchmark standards. Leaders and teachers will also make their own network meetings. Our EYFS teams regularly meet to help moderate, share practice and support each other.
Headteacher Network Meetings
The Heads regularly meet with the CEO to discuss the development of the trust and to input into trust decisions and trust policies. At Maritime policies are split 3 ways:
- policies drafted by the Trust which affect all of the schools (i.e. HR and Finance policies)
- policies drafted by the Trust but then personalised by the schools (i.e. Behaviour, SEND, and Curriculum as there are shared approaches or expectations set at Trust level for these, but the schools get there in their own unique ways)
- policies drafted by the individual schools (i.e. homework, uniform and subject policies)
With so much to do in this job, whether you are a teacher or a leader, it’s good to be able to share. We share policies, documents, letters and the workload across the Trust. When the schools decided that they would each offer the 30-hour childcare provision and wraparound care the schools were not on their own - our Finance Director did the modelling for all of them. One of the Heads wrote the adverts for all of the schools to use and others worked on policies, organisation and checked out the regulations. Sharing of the workload is a huge benefit of working in the collaborative form of partnership we’ve developed.
This one is self-explanatory really!
All children in the Trust get the opportunity to compete against other children within the Trust. At the end of a P.E. unit, children get to compete against one of our partner schools. We organise ‘World Cup’-style tournaments where children compete against each other in a tournament setting. We also have 2 types of Sports Day. We have the ‘traditional’ Sports Day and we also have an Olympics-style sports day where the most talented athletes then get to compete with each other at a local sports track.
Subject leadership can be difficult for staff who are busy working in their own classrooms, but having a network of other leaders that they can draw upon for advice and to learn from is ideal. Our subject leaders regularly meet to work together.
It is important that any school grows its own staff and invests in quality CPD. Our CEO, Finance Director and Educational Director will all offer unique training programmes for individual staff within the schools to ensure that if they have a career pathway if they want it.
Our Chair of Trustees is a National Leader of Governance, an Expert for The Key, and Senior Governance Advisor for the country’s largest primary academy trust. She is able to advise Heads and governors on all aspects of governance including recruitment, training, Ofsted and coaching, as well as any aspects of conversion if you are looking to join us. We also run governor training sessions across the schools on areas such as safeguarding, finance, and SEND.
Our Finance Team support all of the schools in the trust. For example: group procurement, bidding for money, internal monitoring, benchmarking, help with budget setting as well as general advice.
We have a Compliance and Estates Manager that works with the schools to ensure each school is meeting legislation, enabling premises staff to concentrate on the upkeep of the school buildings. He also supports with procurement, risk assessments, health & safety and managing projects.
Each of the Heads and Deputy Heads gets access to a 1:2:1 coach to help them deal with any issues that they are working through.
The Trust also offers support in areas such as HR, all finance matters, and general support for Heads - even if this is just being someone who will listen to any concerns or worries.
However, the best thing is that if anyone ever needs anything, there is a team of people ready to help.