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What we do Our programme

Our programme

Our programme

The Schools Partnership Programme (SPP) develops the confidence, capability and culture in and between schools to lead their own improvement through a continuous cycle of school self-review, peer review and school-to-school support and improvement.

Over the last nine years, we have worked with over 2,000 schools around the country - and the local systems that support them - to help existing partnerships mature and improve each other’s practice with a collective will and purpose.

We believe that school leaders and teachers already have the answers to their most challenging issues. SPP helps them unlock those answers for themselves.

Our programme builds skill in peer review, coaching, non-judgmental enquiry and creating a culture of feedback to transform more traditional approaches to school improvement into something school-led and empowering, putting power not only in the hands of school leaders but, in time, middle leaders and staff across the whole school.

Our framework and materials provide the rigour and structure to help turn school-to-school collaboration into evidence-based action and, ultimately, improved outcomes for children and young people. 

SPP is the only peer review model that is informed by research evidence and benefits from a global network of partners, making it distinctive and effective. As well as providing a framework to facilitate a continuous cycle of reviews and improvement workshops, the training also supports the development of skills that underpin effective peer review and follow-up support. This includes collaborative enquiry and the collective scrutiny of evidence and research to inform school improvement decision-making, ensuring the process builds leadership capacity and has real impact.

Over time, not only does this model build capacity in local areas but it gives ownership of the model to schools to continue to develop peer review, which in turn supports local priorities and enables school-to-school support.


Core SPP Programme

There are 3 key phases (approx. 1 year each) that build the skills of peer review and culture change required to develop a mature partnership or local system. As soon as the programme begins, partnerships are ready to start identifying their area of focus for improvement and conduct their first SPP peer review cycle.

Phase 1: BUILD - developing senior leaders

Phase one allows partnerships of schools to experience the process of identifying, analysing and addressing areas of school improvement within each setting in an open, honest, objective group environment, and adopt joint-practice and accountability. Our SPP Associates provide a programme of training and support that our partnerships need to begin to build around the SPP framework. All programme resources and support materials, including the SPP enquiry questions, are made immediately available to all SPP schools from the start of the programme.

The Build Phase includes:

Peer review training – support for senior leaders to explore and build the principles, processes and skills needed for effective collaboration and peer review with their partner schools

Improvement champion training – Improvement Champions (ICs) are highly effective practitioners who are nominated by the partnership at the start of the programme from within schools. ICs are usually middle leaders, and this role provides an excellent opportunity for career development. This training will equip them with the key skills they need to facilitate the post-review improvement workshop & take a lead on aspects of school (and partnership) improvement throughout the programme and beyond

Peer review within partnerships – schools start to use the SPP framework and approach to focus on and improve areas of need

Facilitated impact and support workshops – understanding, monitoring and measuring impact


Phase 2: EMBED - building capacity at all levels

Phase two provides schools with the opportunity to reflect on the outcomes of applying this framework so far and further develop their capabilities, embedding peer review into their school improvement systems and making mutual support and collaboration part of their everyday practice. They now benefit from an established support network and are able to draw on their own experience and that of the wider SPP community, with bespoke training and support available through their SPP Associate. Building further capacity and improvement is led and sustained by the partnership as they continue to sharpen their skills through focused, rigorous peer review. This is potentially an opportunity for middle leaders and teachers to contribute to building capacity.

The Embed Phase includes:

Further capacity building – support to build further capacity within schools and partnerships to undertake peer review

Leadership of collaborative school improvement – coaching and support for headteachers and senior leaders to develop and deepen their leadership, as well as drawing on what the evidence has told us about effective peer review

Peer review within partnerships – schools continue to employ the SPP framework and approach to focus on and further improve areas of need

Facilitated impact and support workshops – understanding, monitoring and measuring impact


Bespoke SPP Programme

Phase 3: SUSTAIN - maturity and local ownership

In phase three, partnerships take ownership of their own collaborative journey. In time, this self-sustainable develops into partnerships further enhancing their effectiveness, strengthening the national peer review community, and those who are particularly skilled in peer review being invited to become delivery partners with the SPP core team.

There are a number of bespoke packages of SPP Associate support and coaching to help you deepen, focus, evaluate and/or broaden peer review practice within your partnership.

The Sustain Phase can include any of the following packages:

We will also be running termly national meetings with guest speakers to collectively explore how peer review can help tackle the most pressing issues of the day – find out about our next national meeting here.


SPP Delivery Partner

We are very keen to support our schools to share SPP beyond their existing partnerships according to local need, in partnership with existing organisations and systems. We’re already working with trusts, teaching schools and local authorities around the country to strengthen their school-led improvement strategy by training and coaching local facilitators to deliver SPP and support new partnerships of schools. If that is something your partnership, trust or local authority is interested in, please get in touch or visit our In your area page for example ways of working.

If you've never done peer review, let us know - we'd be happy to put you in touch with a colleague in your area who has.

Done SPP in the past? Let's talk about what the Sustain Phase has to offer you.

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