Saturday, 5 November 2011

Does federation work?

Does federation work?
The impact on provision and outcomes

In all the federations visited by Ofsted inspectors it was found that aspects of provision and outcomes were improving, albeit at varying rates. Trends could be identified that linked specific improvements to provision and outcomes directly to the reason for federation. Where a successful school was federated with a weaker school, for example, the greatest improvement was always in teaching and learning, achievement, behaviour and often attendance. This did not mean that other aspects of provision were neglected, but demonstrated the effectiveness of leaders who prioritised and drove improvements in areas that were the most important to the federation and their reason for formation.

In the federations formed to protect the quality of education in the community, the priority was to enrich and broaden the curriculum and to make the procedures for care, guidance and support more flexible and responsive to need. In these federations the improvements in outcomes tended to be reflected in the achievement of different groups, such as pupils whose circumstances made them vulnerable; this included those with special educational needs and/or disabilities. In addition, pupils’ enjoyment of school and confidence was increased as a result of improvements to aspects of their personal development and well-being.

The main reason some schools federated was to improve the quality of education in the community by establishing much stronger links between schools in different phases. The priority in these cases was to improve the continuity and progress made by pupils in their learning. Academic transition procedures in these federations were a particularly strong feature, which resulted in less disruption to the progress made by pupils.

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