Why did we collaborate?
A body of research funded by the DFE and carried out by the Eastern Leadership Centre in 2009 recognised similar challenges that, as small schools, we face:
- The multiple roles played by the headteacher, often including a large teaching commitment
- Difficulties in recruiting heads and other staff
- Limited capacity to respond to some national initiatives
- Increased vulnerability caused by falling roles
- Fewer opportunities for delegation and professional development within a small staff.
There are many advantages for the pupils at a small school including: better child:adult ratios, an ability to better focus on the 'whole child' and to promote independence. Both schools also recognised challenges that pupils faced in small schools incuding:
- Fewer opportunities for collaboration with peers
- Fewer opportunities for competitive sport
- Lack of 'scales of economy' when looking for future areas to develop/ inspire children
Through collaboration, we are able to:
- Provide broader and richer experiences for pupils
- Widen opportunities for collaborative staff development at school level
- Enable more effective staff succession planning
- Generate value for money savings
The document quotes a headteacher saying, "(It's) not just about sustaining what you've got, it's about moving the schools on." That is the overarching reason why we believe that a formal collaboration between the schools is best for the children.