Why is it so hard to be 'outstanding'?

Only 6% of schools gain or maintain the Ofsted ‘outstanding’ judgement
24% of schools Heads Up have supported have gained or maintained their outstanding judgement*

Yes you read that correctly.

Why is this percentage so low and why do your chances of becoming ‘outstanding’ dramatically improve when Heads Up supports you?

Since 2011 my team and I have spent hundreds of hours training headteachers and their leadership teams. 

Based on my experience and results, I can confidently say, what gets you to ‘good’ will not get you to ‘outstanding’. 

The journey to ‘good’ and the journey to ‘outstanding’ are qualitatively different.

Getting to good is about compliance, systems and making sure a demanding list of actions are done every day and it’s no small feat.

Getting to outstanding is about creating a high-performing culture, something most leaders are not adequately trained to do; it’s the reason most schools struggle to break the glass ceiling of good.

Every school can be outstanding. 

I know we can help you.

Our results speak for themselves.

Do you want to build a great school that’s driven by your own standards of excellence and not just what Ofsted expects of you?

Then read on…

Why is it so hard to be “outstanding”?

I’ve heard many reasons why schools are struggling to be outstanding and I’m sure you’ve heard all, if not most of them too. 

Things like:

  • We have high EAL, high SEN or high mobility children. 
  • Our parents don’t value education or have little aspiration. 
  • There’s a lack of consistency, the team aren’t following policies. 
  • Recruitment is an issue or staff just haven’t bought into what we want to do.
  • There’s not enough money or resources.
  • The ofsted criteria keeps changing. 
  • We will have to compromise on staff wellbeing. I’m not willing to put that extra stress on my staff. 

These are not the reasons your school isn’t or won’t be outstanding.

How do I know?

Because over the last eight years I’ve walked into a lot of schools and I know more ‘outstanding’ heads than anyone else. 

The patterns of how to become genuinely ‘outstanding’ have become very clear.

What does every genuinely outstanding head do differently?

Genuinely outstanding headteachers will tell you how they got their culture right before they tell you about any initiative or idea they brought in. They will tell you how culture has been a fundamental driver on their journey to outstanding.

Culture is the qualitative shift that moves you from ’good’ to ‘outstanding’. 

So, how do you build a high performing, outstanding culture?

Click on the tab ‘What makes the difference in ‘outstanding’ schools?’ above to find out…

*https://ukheadsup.com/impact/

What makes the difference in 'outstanding' schools?

Culture is the difference and since 2011, we’ve been supporting schools create high performing cultures.

What is culture?

Culture is behaviour over time.

Which means your school already has a culture in place, because culture forms as soon as people come together regularly.

But your current culture is one created by accident.

If you want a high performing culture, you must proactively develop it. 

How do you create a high performing culture for excellence? 

There are 3 core strategies for developing a high performing culture: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is responsible for building a high performing culture?

Headteachers create school cultures.

Your primary task in becoming outstanding is to make learning exceptional, because learning is the core purpose of schools and teaching is the main way we create learning. 

Simple enough right? So why is it so hard? Because:

If you want exceptional learning, you need to have exceptional teaching.

If you want exceptional teaching, you need to have exceptional culture.

If you want an exceptional culture, you need to have exceptional leadership.

Leaders create culture. It’s really hard to change culture from the bottom up. When that happens we call it a revolution!

If you don’t create a high-performing culture you will face the same issues day in day out: 

  • Policies not being followed.
  • Recruitment is hard.
  • People in your team can wear you down through their attitudes and behaviour (not everyone, but you know the few!).
  • Another Ofsted cycle goes by and another ‘good’ grade (hopefully).

Are you thinking… 

We have a vision. 

We know how to have difficult conversations. 

We develop and grow our team through training.

So why aren’t we ‘outstanding’? 

The fact is, most schools have these strategies in place. However it’s the quality of these elements that makes a difference.

Who has shown you the standard required for excellence, for a genuinely ‘outstanding’ school?

 

How good is your school?

We’ve worked with a lot of schools since 2011 and we know what culture looks like at different levels. Use the table below to understand where your school currently is.

Our programmes and what heads say about them

We know what we do works because schools are four times more likely to move to ‘outstanding’ when working with us.

We have two programmes:

Journey to Outstanding for ‘good‘ or better schools – click here for details.

Journey to Outstanding for ‘requires improvement‘ schools – click here for details.

What headteachers say about our work

 

Joanna Savidge, Headteacher, Clockhouse Primary School

Paul Murphy, Headteacher, Lancasterian Primary School

April Grimes & Lorna Rourke, Joint Headteachers, Forest & Elveden Academies

The Heads Up training has had a real impact on our success in gaining Outstanding in all areas and we have learnt so much about ourselves and our leadership styles. If we could recommend one CPD programme that gives real results, then this would be it!

Next steps & Frequently Asked Questions

Next steps 

How are you feeling right now? 

Are you excited and want to know how we can help you on your journey to outstanding? 

If so, let’s have a chat to get to know each other so we can both feel confident this is the best next step for you. 

Click here to arrange a call.

On the call we can discuss: 

  • Where your school is currently on the journey to outstanding.
  • Your priorities over the next 1-3 years. 
  • The type of school you want to build for your children and community. 
  • What’s preventing you.
  • How the programme can help you.
  • How the programme works.
  • The logistics to ensure the training runs smoothly.

The call will last no more than 30 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What if we have more than six people in our leadership team?
What if we have less than 6 people in our leadership team?
Can I pick and choose parts of the programme I want to be trained on?
Can we split the payment?
According to our previous Ofsted judgement, we are a RI/Good school. However we think we are now a Good/RI school. What training programme should we do?
Can we squeeze the two year programme into one year?
What if our SLT will be changing in the second year? 
Can new members of SLT join the programme part way through? 
Is there a certain time in the year you recommend starting the programme?
We are a small school. Can we join up with a neighbouring school? 
Can our school governors be part of the programme? 
Is it best to have Governors on the training?
Can we do this training with the other schools in our trust or federation?

What if we have more than six people in our leadership team? 

We can work with more in a leadership team, talk to us about this.

What if we have less than 6 people in our leadership team?

That’s ok, but there might be some middle leaders you want to be part of this. We’ll talk about this with you.

Can I pick and choose parts of the programme I want to be trained on? 

No, the programme works and the results show that. We want you to get the most out of the programme and create a genuinely outstanding school. To do that we need to do the full programme according to where your school is when we start.

Can we split the payment?

Yes, over two terms.

According to our previous Ofsted judgement, we are a RI/Good school. However we think we are now a Good/RI school. What training programme should we do? 

We need to talk. We’re not fixated on the Ofsted judgement and a short conversation with you will let us both become clear about where your school currently is.

Can we squeeze the two year programme into one year?

No. Culture does take a little time and the course is set out so that the changes that need to happen within the team can. 

What if our SLT will be changing in the second year? 

That’s ok, they will be able to join in the training. Your SLT is going to keep changing, as is your team and the cultural foundations we’re building will make it easier for new people to join and become part of your high performing team.

Can new members of SLT join the programme part way through? 

Yes.

Is there a certain time in the year you recommend starting the programme?

No, the programme starts at the start of each term and all are just as good times to start.

We are a small school. Can we join up with a neighbouring school? 

We’re afraid not. The work on vision is deep, unique work relevant to your school and so we can’t get the same level of impact if two different schools, with different heads, do it together.

Can our school governors be part of the programme? 

Yes as long as they commit to being present at all of the training dates for the duration of the sessions.

Is it best to have Governors on the training?

We haven’t found any increase in the results you achieve if Governors are included and we find having more members of your SLT involved is more important.

Can we do this training with the other schools in our trust or federation? 

This might be possible, please get in touch to talk about this with us. Click here to arrange a call.