John Dunford, Chair of Whole Education and former general secretary head of ASCL, identified in his blog this week the need for a school improvement ‘middle tier.’ For many schools, the middle tier of support has effectively disappeared. It is difficult to see how local authorities can now be expected to play a leading role in school improvement and the hugely successful London Challenge and City Challenge initiatives do not seem to fit with current government ideology.
The role of Teaching Schools will undoubtedly play a key role in school improvement. However, without an effective middle tier (the McKinsey research identified that the most successful schools systems all have an effective middle tier between central government and the school), who will signpost vulnerable schools to the appropriate support? Moreover, who will be helping these schools to identify their priorities? Leaving it until the Ofsted visit is simply too late.
The lack of a clear vision for the middle tier means that for Teaching Schools, deployment can be a real challenge. These outstanding schools are finding that it is increasingly important to have a clear and effective marketing strategy, in order to ensure that their ‘offer’ is communicated effectively.