Rachael Rimmer, head of Thomas Gray Primary is The chair of the Strand Network. The Strand Network is a collaborative of 26 primary schools in South Sefton including a PRU, Special School and three Nursery Schools.

Summary of Activities 

1. A School Council Project for the whole year: to raise awareness of employability; learn about the importance of work; raise awareness of skills needed for different jobs. An end of year celebration event will take place at Crosby Lakeside July 2019.

2. All Strand schools have been united into smaller SIGs to quality assure aspects of school performance and drive forward key initiatives to raise pupil performance and ensure every child in The Strand fulfils their potential. The four SIGs are working on a different area of focus each. The foci include – Depth and Mastery; Metacognition; Improving attendance and Children’s wellbeing; Governance; Investigative Science.

3. The core Strand CPD efforts are aimed at securing ‘Quality first teaching’. Core CPD projects this year have been commissioned following analysis of whole Strand data. The core projects this year are: Accelerating progress and raising attainment in Year 6 Mathematics; Accelerating progress and raising attainment of boys writing in Key Stage 1; Ensuring high quality provision for Mathematics in the Early Years. St Helens Teaching School and Early Impact are leading the year long projects. All CPD is co-ordinated and evaluated by Thomas Gray.

4.  SENDCO Subject leader training events are very successful and take place either every term or every half-term according to demand. Almost   all the sessions are supported by consultants from a range of sources.

5. There has been a particular investment in ‘mastery’ training in Mathematics this school year and the investment will be continued        next year with bookings already in place with a leading external consultant Sarah Martin .

6. Strand leaders meet for half a day every half term to discuss business, review progress and make plans. Each meeting involves a review of ithe small School Improvement Groups action plans.

7. Several Strand heads serve on LA committees and groups and involve the whole collaborative through dialogue and feedback.

8. Strand heads welcome the mutual support which is available through the leadership meetings and feel that the scale of the meetings and ‘like-    mindedness’ of the group facilitates genuine empathy. A strong bond has developed between leaders and personal trust is strong.

9. Strand heads benefit from a monthly ‘Heads-up’ document from the facilitator which summarises all the education ‘stories’ in the popular media each month. There are usually well over 20 and often over 40 articles summarised.