School Improvement

The Leaf Trust School Improvement Strategy

As a family of schools, we subscribe to excellence together.

If you’re going to do something, I believe you should do it well. You should sweat over it and make sure it is strong and accurate and beautiful and you should be proud of it.

                Ron Berger – An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftmanship in Students 

Our Guiding Principles form the pillars of The Leaf Trust, informing and shaping our ambition, behaviours and decisions. In expanding each pillar, our School Improvement Strategy becomes clear from intent through to action, provision and behaviours. This brings clarity to how we will nurture and grow all of our children and team. Within the Leaf family, we will successfully navigate the future, no matter the challenge.


Our Guiding Principles

The Concept – Securing School Improvement


To ensure that all schools gain the support and challenge they need and that resources are intelligently allocated our schools are categorised into three types of school: Breakthrough, Build-up and Reset schools. Jim Collins refers to the building of a great company as a metaphorical “flywheel.” Truly great organisations gradually build up momentum until a “breakthrough” moment where overwhelming success clicks into place. This element is defined by an organisation’s commitment to a slow and steady build. In building our school improvement model we have considered the need for schools to build-up and breakthrough.

An Annual Cycle

‘Improve, not Prove’– based on Sir David Carter ‘The Strategic Improvement Cycle’ taken from ‘Leading Academy Trusts’ by Sir David Carter and Laura McInerney

Inspired by the ‘Strategic Improvement Cycle’ by Sir David Carter, our School Improvement Strategy is based on a growth cycle driven by the vision, mission and values of The Leaf Trust. All schools give and all schools receive support and development through strong, planned collaboration.

Each cycle begins with a school diagnosis of need, a shared conversation – the prioritisation of work and planning then follows. Capacity comes from within our Trust family wherever possible and focused on development, not simply monitoring, over three cycles annually.

The School Improvement Cycle is carefully planned across the year, to ensure that schools gain the best possible impact from the support and have timely space to implement school improvement steadily between visits, as the flywheel approach demands. This gives opportunity for refinement, the embedding of excellence and regular impact celebration and recognition.