What is leadership like at Coppice Valley? Click here for diagram of leadership
We do things differently at Coppice Valley. All decisions we make start and end with the needs of our pupils and our unique context. We are striving to design, implement and evaluate our Coppice curriculum so our pupils achieve excellent outcomes and have their personal needs met. We imagine what things would be like if we weren’t bound by traditions and did something different instead. We use research and the experiences of our own staff, other schools and the wider world of business to inspire us.
Through careful consideration and research, we have arrived at own bespoke system of leadership which fulfils our core purpose as a school: for our pupils and staff to be the best they can be. To achieve this lofty ambition, we have leaders at all levels of the school, with specific remits, which are all integral parts of the jigsaw of school development.
We put our children at the heart of our school and our decision making. Pupil Leaders assist the leadership team to steer the direction of the school. For example, we have pupil curriculum leaders, pupil welfare leaders and pupil eco-leaders. The Senior Leaders Team have regular "Question Time" with delegations of pupil leaders, when they can ask us about how the school is run, how decisions are made and tell us about how they things are going with our school development plan.
Why a full time non-teaching deputy head?
We know that for our pupils to be the best they can be the teaching, learning and curriculum has to be inspiring, engaging and challenging. Our curriculum is underpinned by our vision “Inspire, Dream Big, Learners for Life”. In practice our vision is two-part. One part is the day to day learning opportunities we provide which should embody the vision i.e. excellent teaching that makes learning irresistible. The other part of the vision is the Coppice 50 which are the key social, moral, spiritual and cultural learning experiences we provide to the children throughout their time with us. We want to achieve this vision fully, not in part or just dipping our toes in the water, so we have invested in a full time deputy to ensure it happens. The deputy head is also responsible for quality of the curriculum as a whole. This approach was chosen to ensure the various parts of our curriculum makes a cohesive whole unit, with breadth and balance, that works for our pupils. Crucial to achieving the vision is providing staff with CPD. This is both whole school training on a weekly basis in staff meetings (relating to SDP) and personalised training to develop the knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits (KASH model) of staff. Our assistant head role complements the strategic work of the deputy whilst taking on more of the operational day to day running of the school.
Why don’t you have subject leaders?
Our leadership team includes discrete leads for English and mathematics. Our evaluation of subject leadership beyond these roles was not as effective and rather than continuing to identify 'nominal' leads we have instead incorporated subject leadership into our 'Teams' structure. This allows a focus on the continuing development of generic pedagogical skills and reflects our commitment to cross curricular work. Individual subjects and their teaching are supported more effectively and, as a result, our pupils' subject knowledge and its application is more meaningful and productive. Over time we are building in pupil leaders to the Teams to represent our pupil body’s voice. We do maintain the specialist leadership of PE to ensure the school sports premium is used effectively.
Headteacher’s Role - inspiring the vision and culture of the school, ensuring the safeguarding of all pupils, ensuring high behaviour standards, working with the MAT to promote the interests of the school, performance management of teaching staff, managing the operation of the on-site nurture unit, having oversight of teaching, learning and curriculum, recruiting and retaining excellent staff, finance, assessment leader.
Deputy Head’s Role – improving teaching, learning and assessment, ensuring the curriculum is broad, balanced and meeting the needs of the pupils, managing the Teams, providing CPD for teachers and TAs in staff meetings, performance management of teaching assistants, new and returning staff induction, ensuring curriculum policies and strategies are meeting the needs of the pupils.
Assistant Head’s Role – assisting deputy head with teaching, learning and curriculum projects, trialling R&D projects in the classroom, modelling excellent practice to colleagues in teaching and embodying the vision and values of the school, monitoring the fulfilment and impact of the Coppice 50, assisting deputy head with performance management of teaching assistants, day-to-day operational staffing issues, EYFS co-leader and educational visits.
Phase Leaders’ Roles – assisting in the strategic development of teaching, learning and curriculum by trialling R&D projects, modelling excellent teaching to colleagues, organise key stage meetings, the purpose of which are to ensure pupil needs are being met and expectations are high. Examples of key stage meeting work are moderating work samples, “book looks” for to ensure standards and pupil progress meetings.
TA Leader’s Role – organising monthly TA meetings, being a communication link between leaders and teaching assistants, assisting deputy head with delivery of CPD to TAs in TA meeting time.
Vulnerable Learners Leader’s Role – acting as SENCo, safeguarding lead, disadvantaged pupils’ leader and forwarding the interests of all vulnerable pupils. Creating a strategy to close gap between vulnerable learners and their peers in school, and nationally. Liaising with the school pastoral TAs about identification, intervention and impact of work with SEMH projects.
Teams Commissions – groups of staff, building in former subject leaders’ roles working together to investigate, implement and measure the impact of projects from the school development plan in a project based approach. Previous subject leaders now participate in Team Commissions. All teaching and teaching assistant staff work in a team on a school development plan project. Performance management is used to secure accountability for individuals work in Teams. Using the Education Endowment Fund Implementation strategy as a model of creating effective change and improvement in school, each team investigates, implements and measures the impact of their school development project, reporting back to the Deputy Head. This approach works for us as it ensures commitment to, and a tight focus on, the school development plan. Research and Development Staff feel closely involved and valued in school development.
CPD, self-evaluation and school improvement cycle – our culture of professional growth and development is characterised as an organic cycle of evaluation through monitoring, then providing coaching, mentoring, pupil progress surgeries (non-judgemental opportunities to pick SLT brains about pupil progress issues), leading to in-house CPD. Weekly staff meetings are CPD based. Leaders produce CPD support materials and a reading list using Microsoft OneNote so staff can revisit training. In phase meetings, colleagues provide each other with peer to peer support through data analysis sessions, work scrutinies, moderation and lesson study style research. TAs have additional monthly CPD meetings and their own lesson study research groups to develop and extend their own practice.