In partnership with a combined authority, this pilot seeks to develop a school improvement arrangement capable of supporting schools across multiple local authorities.

It’s aim is to test the conditions needed to establish such a model successfully, and to explore the advantages and disadvantages of organising on this basis.

How will this pilot work?

In this pilot we are working with local authorities, local education partnerships, and school and academy trust leaders across the North of Tyne Combined Authority to:

  1. Explore how a combined model of school improvement could support all schools and academy trusts across multiple local authority areas
  2. Build on the principles of collaboration and open sharing
  3. Improve best practice.

We will be taking locality approaches that:

  • Identify the scope of what a model working across multiple local authority areas should cover, including models of support, challenge, and sharing good practice
  • Engage schools and academy trusts across the region
  • Test how any new arrangements fit with other regional structures and partnerships
  • Investigate opportunities to join up with work in other areas, for example skills/health/transport
  • Develop appropriate governance and membership arrangements for the new model
  • Test the capacity needed to facilitate and co-ordinate delivery across the new model
  • Explore the costs of delivering such a model and options available for funding

Key questions explored by this pilot

  • What are the main advantages and disadvantages of the new model from the perspective of local authorities, local education partnerships, schools, academy trusts and other stakeholders?
  • Where does the capacity for supporting schools come from under the new model?
  • What is the role of academy trusts and regional teaching school hubs in providing support?
  • How have opportunities for improvement and quality of any support changed?
  • What school improvement activities and conversations happen at different levels of the new arrangements, for example at regional level, at local level, at cluster and school level?
  • What are the costs for individual local authorities, schools, and academy trusts?
  • How do these compare to existing arrangements for school improvement support?
  • What are the benefits of working at this level in terms of reflecting the importance of place and connections to other regional bodies and priorities?
  • Do local communities within the combined area feel like they have a voice in the new arrangements?
  • How does this pilot connect to continued local accountability?
  • Are there any structural, legislative, or regulatory frameworks that create obstacles to achieving the pilot objectives? If so, what can central government do to remove those obstacles?

Six month reports

After the first six-months of this project the North of Tyne Combined Authority has completed a short summary explaining progress made so far. You can this summary here.

Year 1 report

One year into the Project, North of Tyne Combined Authority presented their lessons learned from the first year and their objectives for Year 2. The summary can be found below:

North of Tyne

Pilot 2 participant

North of Tyne Combined Authority Lead contact: Adrian Dougherty

“North of Tyne Combined Authority have started to deliver on the principles of locality-based support for schools, teachers and children through our Education Improvement and Child Poverty Prevention programmes. The LocalED pilots offer us a unique opportunity to share our best practice, learn from others, and build the evidence base for the vital role Combined Authorities can play to support the existing system.”

Adrian Dougherty, Strategic Lead, Education Challenge, North Tyne Combined Authority

Further information

Read our blog post by Simon Day, Director of the Isos Partnership, explaining why we have a pilot focusing on this area, what we are seeking to test and next steps.