The government is urging schools and trusts to seek help overcoming Covid disruption, under a scheme offering improvement support from experienced leaders and trusts.
The Department for Education has now opened up its improvement offer to all schools and trusts. Eligibility was previously limited to schools and trusts running schools with a “requires improvement” rating.
The programme offers extra funding for “up to three days’ support and advice from a national leader of education or equivalent” senior leader.
Their role is typically to “help your leadership team identify and implement improvements within the school and support the building of relationships with a MAT, where appropriate”.
It also offers up to £10,000 towards a trust partnership, “where a suitable partner MAT is identified, and subject to the availability of funds”.
But the DfE said in its regular email to school leaders today that the offer had been widened “to any school that would benefit from it due to disruption caused by Covid-19”.
Examples of issues they could help tackle include difficulties delivering remote education, low attendance, significant staff shortages, and “any other factors which would put schools or trusts at risk of disruption” linked to Covid.
The scheme was introduced by former education secretary Damian Hinds, after he ditched the ‘coasting schools’ intervention.
But a government-commissioned evaluation of the 2019-20 support offer found delays in schools accessing NLE support, as well as logistical and administrative problems.
Wider reforms to the NLE programme have also been delayed until September this year, with no bidders for the contract and issues blamed on Covid.