Collaboration & Support Projects

      Great professional learning happens when we learn together

      We are always keen to bring our network schools together in genuinely collaborative and sustainable projects which develop shared enthusiasms and expertise. If your school would like to get involved in a research project with MMLA schools, or to discuss bespoke support from our experienced SLEs, please email us at

      Our current collaborative projects include:

      Developing Outstanding Middle Leaders in EBacc Subjects (English, Mathematics, History & Geography, Sciences, Modern Languages) with Beaconsfield School, The Buckingham School, Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School

      This two-term collaborative project draws on coaching frameworks and recent pedagogy to explore the power of this group of subject leaders in shaping and driving the Teaching and Learning vision of their schools. It aims to enable participants to realise the potential in their department teams, and how to lead consistently outstanding teacher and student performance. Participants will be equipped with frameworks within which to analyse performance and set targets. The programme also seeks collaboratively to develop evidence-based guidance on effective practice which other schools can draw on. The programme has been developed by Heather Clements (author of the NACE Challenge Award) and Ben Parsons, Director of MMLA, and will be delivered with MMLA SLEs, Ron Piper (Assistant Head, the Ridgeway School, Swindon).

      The agreed intended outcomes of the project are:

      Upskilled subject leaders who are confident to drive improvements in their own departments and provide a model for improved middle leadership across their own schools in the following areas:

      • Outstanding teaching and learning in core subjects
      • Improved provision by all teachers for the More Able students
      • Improved post 16 provision and student aspirations
      • A clear understanding of both the barriers to learning and the effective strategies which schools have developed to mitigate these.

      The creation of a sustainable network of outstanding EBacc HoDs who are excited about leading their teams in innovative, research-informed practice.

      The programme is delivered in two phases:

      Phase 1 (June-July 2016) The Journey to Outstanding Middle Leadership

      The Programme will examine what it means to lead outstanding teaching and learning, raising attainment (with a particular emphasis on disadvantaged pupils), engaging and motivating the Most Able students, enhancing post 16 provision, and raising aspirations for all. By the end of the programme participants will have completed an in-depth evaluation and have a portfolio of evidence and a department improvement plan. Each session (following session 1) will begin with a facilitated reflection and sharing of ideas, followed by an input session and a subject-area-based discussion group, led by MMLA SLEs. Participants will also have access to Teaching Talent (BCC)-funded places on the MMLA’s forthcoming Gifted & Talented Leaders and Behaviour for Learning programmes (from September 2016)

      Underpinning the project will be a professional enquiry strand considering the theme of Outstanding Departmental Leadership. Throughout the programme, participants will reflect on this theme and bring examples and case studies of both the challenges and the effective practice they have developed. This will be drawn together by MMLA SLEs (with, ideally, programme participants) to create a reference for all Buckinghamshire Schools to draw on.

      Phase 2 (September-December 2016)

      This is an introduction to the skills involved in coaching and mentoring for improving departmental performance, developing themes from the Summer programme. Sessions will progressively integrate the theory and practice of coaching by focusing on a range of departmental responsibilities and skills, including departmental evaluation and planning, developing the department team, coaching in the classroom, resilience coaching for change. There will be an applied approach from the beginning of the programme, with participants working in two sets of triads (cross-school subject area; in-school) to develop the roles of coach, coachee, and observer. The observer has a key function in evidencing the impact of this improvement strategy. The course is being developed by Ben Parsons (currently undertaking EMCC Level 5 qualification) with and Ron Piper (Swindon TSA). The group will also spend a day with EMCC Master Practitioner Karen Kennedy, exploring strategies for leading themselves and their teams through challenging situations.

      Find out more about the programme and read the group’s findings [LINK TO RESEARCH SECTION]

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