Scholarship funding is available for these courses until at least March 2020. This means that any schools in category 5 and 6 areas – where children make the least progress and have poorest access to high-quality schools – are eligible for fully funded NPQ places at any level. It also means that all staff in a multi-academy trust which has at least one school in a category 5 or 6 area would be eligible for a fully funded place, across the trust.
The programmes will capture the innovative spirit of the free school movement and will challenge leaders to deliver thoughtful, well-structured, change management programmes for schools and wider trusts. The courses will be delivered by experienced free school leaders who have successfully navigated the obstacles of opening and running their schools.
This experience will be key to creating a bespoke programme, one which encompasses the unique challenges that face free school leaders, such as marketing a school before it has opened, working with developers and civil servants to acquire a site and growing a school and teaching body as pupil numbers increase.
Within each programme, the core NPQ framework complements this bespoke provision. In addition to the compulsory NPQH placement, the leadership programmes will provide the opportunity to undertake short placements, of up to 2 days, where participants can shadow successful senior leadership teams.
Luke Tryl, Director New Schools Network, said:
“Strong leadership is at the absolute heart of any school’s success. Participants on the programmes will have the opportunity to learn from established free school leaders who can share their own experience, as well as network with peers in the same situation.
“We want to make sure that innovation is once more a driving force in the free school movement, and that leaders are given all the tools they need to deliver the distinctive vision of their school. This is a real opportunity to learn from the best of the best, and leadership skills to be taken to the next level.”
Mufti Hamid Patel CBE, Chief Executive of Star Academies, said:
“Through my own Trust, I have seen the impact free school leaders have in the communities they serve. I am a strong believer in the power of outstanding education to transform lives and free schools have done just that for thousands of children across the country.
“But running a free school is challenging. Taking an initial vision to provide outstanding education through barriers like finding a site, marketing a school that isn’t open yet and recruiting an entirely new staff body is a learning curve for even the most experienced teachers and school leaders.
“That’s why Star Institute is partnering with New Schools Network, to share our experiences and play an active role in the self-improving school system, ensuring the ongoing success of free schools way beyond opening. These programmes will be led by experienced leaders who have exemplary track records in driving school improvement and we look forward to welcoming many cohorts to the programmes, who I hope in turn will one day share their unique experiences with others”.