Is your trust ready for the next academic year?

By Tom Kershaw | 29th June 2022 | 3 min read

There is no question that the government is on a mission to raise teaching standards.

Schools Minister Robin Walker said: “Great teachers can transform young people’s lives, and I want this country to recruit and retain the most talented, committed teachers who support students to thrive and achieve their potential.”

A wonderful statement to make, but in reality, this is quite a mountain to climb.

There’s huge competition for new candidates, and it can be hard for multi-academy trusts (MATs) to identify where current standards might be slipping and where they need to bolster performance.

When priority setting for the new academic year, schools and MATs will be thinking more holistically about how to identify and develop the next generation of transformational teachers.

Where are the holes in performance? What areas of professional development are needed and do the skills we have across the talent pool meet the new qualification requirements set out by the Government?

Raising teaching standards

Managing a workforce of teachers has just got a lot more complicated.

In September last year, the induction period for early career teachers (ECTs) doubled.

Likewise, a reformed suite of national professional qualifications (NPQs) has been developed and introduced for teachers wanting to extend their expertise in specialist areas or move into leadership roles.

This is to provide every teacher and school leader access to 'a golden thread of high-quality, evidence-based training and professional development at every stage of their career', as stated in the Schools White Paper.

Is your trust ready?

To map current teacher qualifications and formulate a programme of professional development, it would be beneficial for trusts to treat their workforce as one corporate body. All key employee information can be kept and updated centrally, with the associated skill matrices and career stages.

This will aid the cultivation of an active pipeline of well-trained candidates who can then move into leadership with ease.

Integrated school HR systems support this process - reducing admin and increasing accountability on staff to keep their records up to date.

Staff gain access to an employee portal that enables them to view and track their professional progress and HR teams can fine-tune policies, procedures and other supporting documents, communicating them with ease.

By comprehensively tracking activities across all schools in the trust, using up-to-date staff data, targeted objectives that meet both individual and organisational goals can be developed.

Making the most of existing data

For the first time in three years, external assessments have taken place and performance will be compared against actual grades in the coming months.

Regardless of the best intentions to be fair and rigorous, internal assessments can be prone to human error. With new external data on its way, poor performance across schools or departments could be exposed.

The availability of new external data is a great opportunity to look back over historical trends and set priorities for improvement. It could be the wake-up call that some schools need, and I think trust leaders will be delighted to see the return of this data after a period without it.

There’s no need to wait until then before decision-make commences though. Trusts could look to their mock exam results to get a step ahead and identify weak performing areas.

It is possible to create a central and integrated school data system that runs across all schools within a trust, regardless of the different MIS systems in place. This presents a great opportunity for trusts to get ahead.

The availability of trust-wide data tracks trends and drills down at a school or year group level, which can really help trust leaders to understand the story behind their data to put an indicative plan together.

When the external results do come in, these can be quickly and easily added into the system, and the plans for the new academic year solidified.


Consolidated data collection and good HR management are critical when setting priorities for the next academic year.

Leaders need access to up-to-date, real-time, easily digestible data to make the best decisions for their staff, students and for the trust – allowing improvements, efficiency and growth to be attained.

Robin Walker is right in what he says, great teachers can transform young people’s lives – trust leaders should place emphasis on making sure teachers are best placed to be able to achieve this.