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 2015/2016
1. A School Council Project for the whole year working with the Oliver King Foundation to: raise awareness of heart disease in childhood; learn about the importance of defibrillators in the community; raise money to pay for as many defibrillators as possible in the Bootle area. An end of year celebration event will take place at Formby Hall on July 8th 2016.
2. All Strand schools have been united into ‘Triads’ to quality assure aspects of school performance and school self-evaluation.
3. All Strand CPD efforts are aimed at securing ‘Quality first teaching’. All CPD is organised, co-ordinated and evaluated by Thomas Gray.
4. A wide range of CPD is being funded for Strand leaders ranging from small sessions usually based in schools to larger sessions usually based at CLAC. Most sessions are advertised across Sefton and larger events usually attract paying customers from beyond Strand. (e.g. The Academisation event attracted heads from Sefton, Liverpool and Warrington)
5. A wide range of CPD is funded for teachers and support staff including: subject leaders; middle leaders; TAs and NQTs.
6. Subject leader/co-ordinator 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 e.g. Lancashire LA; Liverpool LA; Edge Hill; Hope; Chester University. Events are hosted by schools who undertake the host particular subjects for at least one year. These are co-ordinated and organised by Thomas Gray.
7. There has been a particular investment in ‘mastery’ training in both literacy and numeracy this school year and the investment will be continued next year with bookings already in place with two leading external consultants.
8. A specific and wide-ranging course for TA’s is running throughout the school year with funding from the Rowan Park Teaching School and has attracted delegates from all Strand schools.
9. Peter Yip has been engaged by Strand as a consultant for Equality and Diversity and a ‘health check’ funded for each member school.
10. Strand leaders meet for half a day every half term to discuss business, review progress and make plans. Each meeting involves two visiting speakers who present their products or services. Presenting companies often offer ‘Strand Deals’ if a number of schools sign-up.
11. Several Strand heads serve on LA committees and groups and involve the whole collaborative through dialogue and feedback.
12. 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.
13. 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.