‘However good we are, we always want to be better’ – this statement, taken from the start of our school improvement strategy, articulates the mindset that exists in our schools. This is as true at trust level as it is for individuals that work for the trust.

So how do we achieve this continual improvement? Central to this ambition is knowing our schools really well. Having in-depth knowledge of the areas of real strength, and those that need some additional support, are critical to enabling the capacity to improve schools. So far this year we have undertaken regular school improvement visits (SIVs) and raising achievement visits (RAVs) in all Futura schools. The RAVs are particularly valuable; they not only provide a detailed insight into the workings of a school but also provide opportunities for peers to be involved in the review process. In the coming year we want to increase and widen the opportunity for colleagues to be involved in the RAVs. This will also form part of a wider ‘study tour’ approach that I will write about in a future edition. The RAVs also help with the sense of collective responsibility. I particularly enjoy seeing colleagues taking away ideas for discussion in their own school or offering solutions to challenges faced in the school being visited. There are numerous examples of collaborative activities that have been initiated by RAV visits.

Trust-wide school improvement is not just carried out by the School Improvement Team. The professional generosity of colleagues across the trust never ceases to amaze me. Examples from this week alone: heads providing weekly support to other schools; teachers moving short term to provide much needed cover in more vulnerable areas; leaders delivering training across the trust; site staff covering absent colleagues in other schools; admin colleagues providing specialist advice to a colleague down the road. I could go on. The capacity for all our schools to become great mostly comes from the skills and expertise that already exists in our trust. The sense of belonging, the desire to be part of the improvement of all, and the mindset of always wanting to be better are the levers that will help us to create this excellent future together.