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SSAT School Improvement Show 2019

Hear practical insights that focus on sustainable school improvement to help shape and define your school improvement plan

Suitable for secondary school headteachers, senior leaders, governors and MAT school improvement leads.

Following the success of last year's School Improvement Day, this year’s event will be a highly practical day filled with insights into what has been successful for schools across a range of contexts and at different stages of their improvement journey. There will also be practical suggestions shared that you can introduce into your own plan to meet the specific challenges your school faces.

The day brings together school leaders, teachers and students from across the country who will speak on themes including:

The stages of designing and implementing a plan which drives forward whole-school improvement.

How offering action research-led staff development has helped strengthen teachers’ skills and capabilities.

What ‘school improvement’ means to students and what is the tangible in-school impact that they experience.

Why one school believes investing in all levels of leadership is key to school improvement.

View the full day's agenda

We encourage you to bring your school’s improvement plan and self-evaluation form to review and update based on the ideas, initiatives, feedback and suggestions you will hear throughout the day. This is an opportunity to bring together your leadership team for a review and planning day, so we offer group discounted rates – please contact for prices.

Staying strong: practical ideas and tips from the network
Download these practical suggestions from schools within the SSAT network on how to strengthen teaching and learning in your school.

The six key questions

The day will be framed around six key questions about secondary phase school improvement, which have emerged from conversations with SSAT members. Each question is the basis of an expert speaker session or workshop followed by a short activity where you can reflect on what you’ve heard or seen and consider how to apply it to your own context.

What does school improvement mean for our schools?

Where are we on the journey to being a great school? How do we know?

What do effective school SEFs and development plans look like?

How can we involve our students? What role do they have to play in the improvement journey?

How can we make the school improvement plan we’ve committed to paper a reality? How will we know when we’ve arrived?

How do we track our progress towards our objectives? How do we know what is and what isn’t working?

Why attend

Hear from schools from a range of contexts and at different stages of their own school improvement journey.

Discover the successful quick wins and the longer-term, sustainable strategies that have made a difference.

Opportunity to shape and define your SIP and SEF with your school’s leadership team.

Develop a collaborative network for school-to-school support.

What delegates said in 2018:

“Brain slightly exploding with new ideas for SEF”

“We learned loads… we’ll be taking things back to our school…”

“Very worthwhile, lots to use…”

Read the article on last year’s School Improvement Day

Any questions?

Email or call 020 7802 0955.

Session Info

Response to Key Question 1

What does school improvement mean for our schools?

Patrick Ferguson, Marie Adams and Jennifer Sing, Hope Academy

Patrick Ferguson’s leadership has had a transformational effect on Hope Academy, Liverpool. Having taken his previous school to an Ofsted judgement of outstanding in 2009, he arrived at Hope Academy in 2015 at a time when the academy was languishing in special measures and had shown little improvement after more than a year in this category. Patrick, winner of a secondary school headteacher of the year award, is now leading improvement across a group of schools in the North West. Patrick believes that ‘a people centred-approach’ must sit at the heart of any drive for improvement. In this session Patrick will:

  • share personal insights on some of the lessons learnt as a school leader on challenging school improvement journeys
  • demonstrate how in an age of high stakes accountability, focus on our moral purpose enables us to sustain and improve outcomes and life chances for every child
  • suggest key ingredients that create a formula for success within schools, across schools and in different contexts
  • provide guidance on what to do when it doesn’t work and how to develop structures and systems that last
  • consider the place of wellbeing in improving schools.

In keeping with his conviction that it takes a united effort to achieve excellence, Patrick will be joined by his colleagues Marie Adams and Jennifer Sing who alongside him will showcase how they have made successful strategies that have impacted teaching and learning, leadership and curriculum uniquely “hope”.

Response to Key Question 2

Where are we on the journey to being a great school? How do we know?

Mark Wignall, Headteacher, and Simon Adams, Assistant Headteacher, Downlands Community School

This session will cover:

  • what does research tell us about a great school?
  • planning to become a great school – vision, key performance Indicators (KPI) and holding colleagues to account.
  • Investing in leadership at all levels to become a great school – the development and use of the Downlands Leadership Competencies, particularly with middle leaders; and the significant impact of this work on staff capability and outcomes.
  • how to quality assure progress towards becoming a great school.
  • using KPI and governors to regularly hold leadership to account for progress towards the development plan.
  • use of a yearly leadership cycle incorporating whole-school self-evaluation and planning.

Response to Key Question 2

Where are we on the journey to being a great school? How do we know?

Andy Pollard, Executive Headteacher, Standish Community High School

The workshop Andy says, will cover experiences in leadership and decision making when they chose to overhaul the curriculum rather than making marginal adjustments. Charting the school’s three year journey of reforming their curriculum plan, their approach to teaching (and learning) and their reorganisation of assessment will demonstrate how they are leading the school into effective use of learning checklists, harnessing spirals of inquiry and refocussing assessment. The new curriculum is built around threshold concepts; knowledge and application; interleaved schemes of work; quality feedback and a new flightpath structure.

However, in order to become a great school, Andy says they have to first see how the destination has changed (with the new framework and questions over Progress 8’s validity). “We have to lead and manage our schools in the new direction.

In order to answer any questions about ‘how do we know?’ we have to measure effectively our new curriculum plans, our revitalised emphasis on subject pedagogy and how a new approach to assessment helps us.

And then there’s personal development. The workshop will use our story to ask you about yours, especially over courageous leadership, successful implementation and developing a positive culture in difficult times.”

Response to Key Question 3

What do effective school SEFs and development plans look like?

Colin Logan, Senior Education Lead, SSAT and Julia Seggie, Deputy Headteacher and Matthew Renshaw, Assistant Headteacher, Pendle Vale College

In this session, Colin Logan, Senior Education Lead at SSAT, will look at effective self-evaluation practice and how it fits in with school improvement and development planning. Is there duplication that could be avoided and that would save time and effort?

Julia Seggie and Matt Renshaw, deputy and assistant headteachers at Pendle Vale College in Nelson, Lancashire, will then demonstrate how their QA approach to self-evaluation leads directly to improvement planning, remaining flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances while maintaining a forensic focus on quality.

Delegates will then have the opportunity to review their own self-evaluation and development plans in the light of what they have just heard.

Response to Key Question 4

How can we make the school improvement plan we’ve committed to paper a reality? How will we know when we’ve arrived?

Abby Bayford, Assistant Principal, Bristnall Hall Academy

This session will focus on how Bristnall Hall Academy are realising this through people development.

Malcolm Gladwell (2008) in Outliers says is it takes 10,000 hours in any profession to become the equivalent of orchestra class as a musician. If you want to play in the pub on a Saturday night, it will take you about 4000 hours, which is about the equivalent of three years of teaching.

“In teaching, do we want to create teachers who are good enough to play in the pub on a Saturday night, with three years or so of experience? Or do we want to keep developing, to wire in all the skills and stretch the capacities… If so, it takes most teachers an investment of around 10,000 hours to get to that point.” (Gladwell, 2008).

Deep professional learning doesn’t just happen by osmosis and Abby’s session will focus on some of the key ways they have expedited and deepened the process of people development to develop ‘orchestra class’ teachers by:

  • establishing themselves as a Lead Practitioner Learning Centre
  • creating trust-wide people development tube maps
  • planning collaborative people development opportunities
  • offering action research-led people development
  • implementing people development pathways

Response to Key Question 6

How do we track our progress towards our objectives? How do we know what is and what isn’t working?

Leon Walker, Research School Director, Meols Cop High School

Implementation is a key aspect of what schools do to improve, and yet it is a domain of school practice that rarely receives sufficient attention. Too often the who, why, where, when, and how are overlooked, meaning implementation risks becoming an ‘add on’ task expected to be tackled on top of the day-to-day work. As a result, projects initiated with the best of intentions can fade away as schools struggle to manage these competing priorities. Tracking progress requires a systematic planning tool that allows schools to understand the active ingredients behind their intervention. This session will explore how a logic model approach to planning can help us track progress and allow us to decide if an intervention is working or not.

Speaker Info
Simon Adams
Simon Adams
Assistant Headteacher, Downlands Community School


Simon is an Assistant Head at Downlands and former AST. Simon’s responsibility is for teaching and learning across the school, and as part of his successful NPQH work has devoted time to developing highly effective leadership across the school.

Abby Bayford
Abby Bayford
Assistant Principal, Bristnall Hall Academy


Abby is Assistant Principal with responsibility for people development, teaching and learning and assessment and is also currently leading on people development across academies in the Academies Transformation Trust. She is the cohort lead for Bristnall Hall Academy's Lead Practitioner Learning Centre; a Senior Leader of Education and former SENCo who has led on:

  • Sandwell transition projects, driving the Transition Plus Pathways group with Dr Kevin Rowland MBE, which helped to transform KS2-3 transition in Sandwell.
  • Collaboration with Black Country Teaching Schools, leading, as a SLE, on a DfE funded KS3 SSIF project.
  • Led on Bristnall Hall Academy's successful accreditation for transforming practice in Climate for Learning and Variety of Teaching Approaches in the SSAT Framework for Exceptional Education.
  • Led on Bristnall Hall Academy being successfully accredited the Excellence Mark for Training and Development

Colin Logan
Colin Logan
Senior Education Lead, SSAT


Colin has worked at five large comprehensive schools as a languages teacher, head of department and faculty, deputy head and finally headteacher. He was also a senior adviser in the National Strategies in the data and evaluation team, and trained as an Ofsted inspector. He joined SSAT in 2011 and is currently a senior education lead with responsibility for data, accountability and inspection.

Angelina Idun
Angelina Idun
Director of School Improvement, SSAT


Previously Acting Principal at Ark Evelyn Grace Academy, Angelina joined SSAT as Director of School Improvement in 2017. Her school leadership career has been largely focused on south London schools in diverse, vibrant yet challenging communities. Angelina is driven by an unwavering belief in the difference a high-quality learning experience can and must make to the life chances of young people.

Andy Pollard
Andy Pollard
Executive Headteacher, Standish Community High School


Andy is within his thirty-first year of teaching in schools in the North West.

Starting off as a maths teacher, Andy has enjoyed a career which involved:

  • Deputy Headteacher at South Wirral High School. During his time at Wirral, Andy for seven years worked on curriculum, teaching and learning.
  • Head of Haydock High School, St Helens for four years.
  • Head of Standish Community High School, Wigan for three years.
  • Executive Headteacher of Mosaic MAT for a year (which includes Standish).

Andy also has a background in curriculum development, teaching and learning and more latterly on leadership development in senior leaders. As an Everton fan, Andy has also learnt that many of life’s richest lessons are learnt in defeat.

Julia Seggie
Julia Seggie
Deputy Headteacher, Pendle Vale College
Matt Renshaw
Matt Renshaw
Assistant Headteacher, Pendle Vale College


Julia is Deputy Headteacher with responsibility for learning, teaching and school improvement. Matt is Assistant Headteacher with a focus on curriculum and character. They have both been leaders at Pendle Vale College in Nelson, Lancashire for a number of years and have seen the school through a number of Ofsted inspections, which praised their Quality Assurance processes and noted leaders “discernible thirst and desire for continued improvement”.

Leon Walker
Leon Walker
Research School Director, Meols Cop High School


Leon Walker is Deputy Headteacher at Meols Cop High School in Southport. After graduating in Biochemistry with Management from Imperial College he took his PGCE at Manchester University and embarked on his teaching career as NQT in Science in 2001. He developed a keen interest in assessment and an evidence-based approach to school improvement. He moved to Meols Cop in Easter 2014 where he is currently leading the Research School and facilitating the national trial into assessment and marking in English, FLASH Marking. Meols Cop was recently designated as a research school in September 2017.

Mark Wignall
Mark Wignall
Headteacher, Downlands Community School


Mark is in his third year of headship having previously been Deputy Headteacher at Downlands, an Outstanding (2017) mixed comprehensive school of 1200 students in Hassocks, West Sussex – just north of Brighton.

Students consistently achieve outstanding outcomes and Mark is totally committed to a very broad vision of education. He is very proud of incredible creative arts provision including new facilities and teaching staff in dance and music, a high performing and inclusive PE department, extensive opportunities for student leadership and vast numbers of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for students.

Downlands current Development Plan is entitled ‘A Great School… yet?’ and he and everyone at the school are working together to achieve this goal.


SSAT School Improvement Show 2019

26 June 2019
08.45 - 15.30


SSAT Member

First delegate: £285 + VAT
Second delegate: £195 + VAT


First delegate: £325 + VAT
Second delegate: £235 + VAT

Discounts for three or more delegates are available; please contact for pricing.


St Peter's RC High School
142 Kirkmanshulme Lane
M12 4WB