Background to the NAHT Aspire Pilot Project

This is a National initiative supported through funding from the DfE to support schools to achieve a Good inspection outcome at a point in the 3 year partnership. The project is being externally evaluated by the University of Derby and on-going outcomes are being reported to the NAHT and the DfE.

With the approval of the DfE, schools in the pilot have been actively involved since 2013. Based on the success and evidence of improvement of the Pilot, since September 2014 the NAHT Aspire Partnership Programme has been offered more widely and currently there are more than 100 schools engaged in the Programme.

Details about the NAHT Aspire Programme

Work in the school began with The Collaborative Quality Analysis [ CQA ], designed to reach a set of jointly agreed grounded judgements about where the school is in terms of 5 key questions that drives the activities.  These are:

  • How well is the school set for leading and managing change?
  • How well does the school promote and foster environments that support learning and motivation?
  • How well does the school use assessment, data, and feedback to promote learning?
  • How good are opportunities for learning and developing learners?
  • How well does the school use its internal and external resources to meet the spectrum of need for all learners?

The outcomes of this process result in a summary of key priorities to be supported through the partnership work via the Implementation Plan on a term by term basis.

Main focus on 4 key areas the first academic year: Leadership, Assessment for Learning, Pedagogy and Curriculum and Precision Pedagogy


  • Developing middle leaders in their roles as strand leads, Achievement Team Leaders and as Core Subject Leaders
  • Planning work with governors to develop their roles in holding the school to account
  • Ensuring that there is robust follow up and follow through on in-school Development Days
  • Through four Network Days  each term – providing the opportunity for school leaders and teachers to meet with colleagues in the other schools to engage in new learning, plan and review and knowledge sharing and action planning.

Assessment for Learning

  • Establishment  of school based Achievement Teams focused on robust and accurate data sets and enabling teachers to share pedagogical practices and solution plan together to adapt classroom practices to achieve better outcomes for learners
  • Reinforcement of accountability both within classes and across classes and the provision to the Headteacher of the detailed commitments that class teachers have made to adapt their practice and report on impact.
  • Subject Leaders and Year 6 class teachers have been introduced to the Accelerating Progress  programme for pupils who are underachieving in either maths, reading or writing. Teaching strategies to promote accelerated progress based on foundational and conceptual learning have been provided to teachers and the monitoring of the impact of these strategies in the classroom [ rather than the creation of additional invention groups] is scheduled to be discussed at Achievement Team meetings on a regular and frequent  basis.

Pedagogy and Curriculum

  • Establishment of the quality of teaching across the school
  • Introduction of the Quality Framework for Learning and Teaching as a tool to support teachers to develop their practice through intentional coaching sessions, lesson visits and follow up learning conversations. We have demonstrated a structured way to use this process to support teachers whose practice requires improvement. The use of this as a tool for appraisal has also been discussed.
  • Linking the goals that have been set by using the Quality Framework  into Achievement Team meetings to support discussions around learning and teaching practices
  • Planning for Curriculum 2014 with focus on the introduction of Core Learning Skills to support childrens’ learning to learn skills through development of their personal and social competencies.

Precision Pedagogy   

  • Subject Leaders and Year 6 class teachers have been introduced to the Accelerating Progress programme for pupils who are underachieving in either maths, reading or writing.
  • Creation of Accelerating Progress Learning Sequences related to Foundation Learning Skills for each pupil identified as at risk of underachievement.
  • Their progress data collected to monitor impact and reviewed each term.


The impact of working with the NAHT Aspire team has been very impressive.  Their systems and educational thinking has provided all staff: the leadership team, teachers, governors and children with some very interesting ideas in how to improve the everyday practice at Carbeile.  Aspire is a recognised ‘School Improvement’ programme where all work is done collaboratively, linking very well to our Learning Powers and overall ethos.  Their advisors give an independent view of the school, our strengths and areas for development (which they then offer strategies in how to develop).  The work with Aspire is reviewed at the end of each year.