DNEAT Academy Improvement Strategy


The DNEAT approach to academy improvement is underpinned by a model of earned autonomy and a strong, shared accountability framework. This is further supported by deliberate strategies that enable individual academies to work together in order to promote and sustain a culture of high expectation, rapid improvement and interdependency.

This balanced methodology is designed to ensure that autonomy does not lead to isolation, diversity does not become a barrier to collaboration and accountability does not rely exclusively upon regulation.

Key Principles:

Our Academy Improvement Strategy is rooted in a strong Christian ethos that creates the culture, attitude and aspiration necessary to secure successful outcomes for children and prepare them effectively for life in modern Britain.

We aspire for all academies within the Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) to be good within two years of conversion, and for good schools to be outstanding within a further three years.

Support will be provided in proportion to the level of need within each academy as determined through the school's own self-evaluation judgements and the Trust's monitoring.

We recognise that academies will have times when they are strong and other times when they will face challenges. We will actively monitor the performance of each academy and support will be tailored to ensure that each academy is providing the highest quality teaching and learning possible.

We are committed to an open and transparent relationship with academies and will endeavour to ensure that the senior leadership team and governors are aware of and contribute to all judgements and plans.

Before conversion we will conduct with school leaders a ‘Collaborative Quality Analysis’ to understand areas of strength and those that require development. We will agree the level of support needed at the point of transition.

We will assign an ‘Academies Group Executive Principal’ (AGEP) to work with academy leaders in a geographical region. They will provide the support, challenge and brokerage required to realise the very best outcomes for pupils.

We commit to providing every academy with an external evaluation of progress and performance once each year. This will be carried out by an educational professional who will also assess the impact of the MAT on academy improvement.

We will ensure that our academies are Ofsted ready. Two terms prior to likely inspection a School Effectiveness Review will routinely be carried out and support will be provided to address significant issues where they exist.

We aspire to every academy having sustainable, high quality leadership and therefore we seek to build capacity and support succession planning, not to direct or control.

We are committed to using academy to academy support as a means to provide leaders and teachers with opportunities to develop their own practice and to help others improve. Providing support to others should never be to the detriment of the finances or effectiveness of an academy. Over time, every academy can expect to be a giver and receiver of support.

We aim to achieve this by:

  1. Establishing robust and effective leadership at all levels, ensuring that accurate self-evaluation and monitoring inform whole-school improvement planning.


  • We will appoint AGEPs to work with the Headteacher in supporting the development of senior and middle leaders. This will include validating the schools quality assurance processes and outcomes to ensure that the actions taken to improve are having the necessary impact.
  • We will broker links between Edison Learning, the academy and other academies within the MAT working with the Quality Framework for School Leadership.
  • We will provide a package of training for leadership development which will be attended by senior leaders from all our academies and will promote academy to academy challenge and support.
  • We will initiate a talent identification strategy and grow leaders rapidly at all levels so that they have greater influence and impact across our academies. This will include opportunities for internship and secondmentto build succession in individual academies and across the MAT.
  1. Developing highly effective local governance strengthened and supported by the Trust


  • We will recruit a Local Governing Body, with a majority of Trust Appointed governors, who will have a Scheme of Delegation which details levels of responsibility and decision making.
  • We will provide guidance materials, training and support for governance through our own governor support team and our links with Norfolk LA’s Governor Services.
  • We will support the professional clerking of all meetings of the Local Governing Body and its committees.
  • We will hold the Local Governing Body to account by scrutinizing their reporting to the Regional Standards Group (RSG) who will ensure robust monitoring of academy performance.
  1. Establishing a clear shared understanding of good and outstanding learning and teaching and embedding good practice.


  • We will use the Edison Learning’s ‘Quality Framework for Learning and Teaching’ to provide criteria for effective learning and teaching and associated training to improve practice.
  • We will deploy AGEPs to support the leadership team in observing teaching and identifying strengths and development needs for all staff.
  • Through training for headteachers and governors we will provide a structured approach to robust performance management for all staff.
  • Where appropriate we will use one of our good or outstanding academies to provide additional support for individual teachers.
  • We will ensure that the Headteacher has high quality HR advice to address any areas of persistent underperformance or capability.
  • We will procure expert financial support to ensure that resources are effectively and efficiently deployed to meet school improvement priorities, including the continual professional development of the workforce.
  1. Establishing the use of accurate assessment information to track progress and identify under-performance.


  • We will work with Edison Learning and Pupil Asset to provide assessment guidelines and software which will ensure that assessment information is readily available to support teachers’ in their planning for pupils’ learning.
  • Pupil Asset software will be used by leaders to evaluate assessment information for summative purposes.
  • Through partnership working with good and outstanding academies in the MAT we will provide opportunities for standardisation and moderation of assessment information.
  1. Providing training and support to enable staff to create a curriculum which reflects the needs and interests of the pupils, which inspires engagement in learning and raises achievement for all.


  • We will work in partnership with Edison Learning to provide curriculum guidance through the use of their ‘Connected Curriculum’ materials.
  • We will continue to use our DNEAT Quality Standards as a benchmark for evaluating the quality, breadth and balance of provision more generally in the academy.
  • We will promote partnership working with other academies within the Trust to support the development of curriculum materials and subject knowledge.
  • We will use the resources available through the Diocesan Board of Education to develop an enquiry based curriculum for RE that results in ‘RE Quality Mark’ accreditation.

6. Ensuring that there is a positive ethos and culture within the academy, consistent with DNEAT aspirations, including an effective and shared approach to behaviour management.


  • We will ensure that a strong emphasis on positive behaviour management is included in our targeted programme to support NQTs in the academy.
  • We will provide training for all academy staff so that restorative approaches are consistently practiced at pupil and adult level.
  • We will provide termly opportunities for the Headteacher and Chair of Governors to meet with their peers and DNEAT officers to promote a shared understanding of high expectation, aspiration and collaborative endeavour.
  • We will facilitate multi-academy events that draw pupils and staff together to share, celebrate and compete with others across the family of academies.

Monitoring and accountability:

Local Governing Body meetings will review performance and standards each term with the Headteacher.

The implementation of the academy support plan and its impact, including the actions taken by leaders to improve will be monitored and evaluated at termly Academy Review Meetings. This group will also validate assessment information and whether pupils are on track to realise age appropriate expectations and the aspirational targets set.

In turn the progress of each academy in an area will be reported directly to the relevant Regional Standards Group chaired by a Trustee. This will also scrutinize the overall performance and progress of the area itself.

The Academies Improvement Director will then provide a summary report to the DNEAT Trust Board for scrutiny.

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