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Independent Study: Partnership Between England’s School Leaders’ Union and EdisonLearning is Helping to Improve UK Schools.

Recently released independent research shows that the Aspire Project, a school improvement program developed by the NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers – a trade union and professional association representing more than 28,500 members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland), in partnership with the international education services provider -EdisonLearning, has proven to be, “an effective and sustainable way of helping schools to improve standards.”

The research conducted by the University of Derby’s College of Education shows that:

- Aspire pilot schools have made twice the improvement of schools nationally for both progress and attainment with exceptional gains in Mathematics at level 5 as compared to national averages.

- Half of the schools have demonstrated a transformational improvement of 10 per cent or more in the percentage of pupils attaining Level 4 or above in Reading, Writing and Mathematics combined.

- 63 per cent of pilot schools have been inspected by Ofsted (the United Kingdom’s Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) and rated as good over the course of the NAHT Aspire programme with more forecast by the end of the third year.

- Both case studies and survey respondents (90 per cent) were overwhelmingly positive about their experiences and the impact on the whole school.
 

Commenting on the report, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, says: “we created Aspire to offer a credible, school to school system to help boost standards. The government is keen to talk about the structures in education, evidenced by its fixation with schools becoming academies, but is less keen to talk about school improvement as well.

“This independent report shows that NAHT Aspire is a credible pathway for school improvement. Aspire is value for money, it’s an example of the profession taking responsibility for school standards, and above all it works.

“NAHT believes Aspire should be recognised as a sustainable, successful and realistic response to the question of raising standards. The ambition now is to roll out the programme to a wider audience, including primaries, secondaries and special schools. It’s not just about helping a particular type of school, but will be about school improvement across the board, including helping good schools to become outstanding.”

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says: “The Aspire project demonstrates the potential of what can be achieved when schools work together to share expertise and drive up standards.

"As we move towards a more school-led system then collaboration will soon be commonplace across the country, ensuring every child has access to the excellent education they deserve."

Tim Nash at EdisonLearning, NAHT’s partner in the Aspire programme, says:  “It has been a privilege to work with the schools involved in the pilot, and we thank them for the energy, enthusiasm and commitment they have shown over the past three years.  It is impossible to overstate the vital part they have played in helping Aspire develop into the ‘blueprint for the future of school improvement’.

“With more than 100 schools and 13 networks now engaged in the programme, involving schools of every character and context, Aspire is now well on its way to becoming established as a national school improvement movement, reflecting the power of research and evidence to guide in-school practice, building collaboration and trust between schools, and investing in the development of the current and prospective leaders that are so critical to the future health of our education system.”

Commenting on the report, lead researcher Dr Siobhan Neary from the University of Derby’s College of Education says: “Our analysis shows that NAHT’s Aspire programme has successfully supported school improvement. Many schools reported that Aspire is a transformative programme, changing the way they see themselves. This has improved progress, attainment and pupil behavior, whilst increasing the confidence levels of many staff.”

Additional information can be found at: http://nahtaspire.co.uk/accolades-and-national-endorsement-for-naht-aspire/.