Framework for Exceptional Education

A framework for school improvement and development.
To develop schools beyond ‘outstanding’ in every sense of the word.
To truly aspire to being world class, doing things differently to do them better.

Schools moving from ‘beginning’ to ‘transforming’ would expect to move from structural, operational decision-making to strategic, principled decision-making. The framework is not a replica of Ofsted, nor should it be, but it must have reliability and validity to ensure schools recognised as ‘world class’ truly are.

The Framework for Exceptional Education (FfEE) is SSAT’s flagship school improvement framework. It is at the heart of many of our programmes and has been co-developed with SSAT member schools. The framework is built on the philosophy that school improvement is an ongoing process that is centred on self-evaluation and celebration of strengths. You can use FfEE to evaluate your practice, identify improvements you want to make and celebrate the great work you are already doing.

SSAT believes that to achieve a world class education system we need world class schools who transform the lives of their pupils, teachers and communities and inspire each other to keep developing.

The framework supports ongoing school development and improvement. It is a developmental framework rather than a deficit model designed to motivate and inspire schools to improve for their students and communities. The concept is that all schools regardless of starting point will continuously need to improve and adapt to the changing needs of their pupils and the external environment.

“This is a tremendous tool to develop the self-reflective culture within your institution.”

Tudor Grange Academy Solihull

There are three strands to the framework:

  • Professional Knowledge of the Classroom
  • Professional Disciplines
  • Strategic Leadership of Learning

Each strand has four stages through which progression occurs:

World-Class Schools B

Schools moving from ‘beginning’ to ‘transforming’ in a particular strand would expect to move from structural, operational decision-making to strategic, principled decision-making.

“This Framework has revolutionised our work as a leadership group in terms of the conversations we have about school improvement across the school. It has become a standing item for reflection on our leadership group minutes and has led us towards a more creative and reflective dialogue with our middle leaders. This in turn is already inspiring colleagues across the school to come up with creative solutions and strategies for improvement.”

We are using the Framework to underpin many of our programmes such as the Leading Edge network where we accredit schools’ engagement with the framework, our Peer Review programme and across our suite of Leadership Programmes.

SSAT Member Schools can download the Framework for Exceptional Education and guidance on how they might use it from the Exchange, our Members Only area of our website. Please get in touch with us by email if you would like to receive this benefit and many more with full membership.

SSAT would also like to thank the following schools for their ongoing work and support in developing the Framework for Exceptional Education: a journey to world class:

Bluecoat Academy Trust, Canons High School, Friern Barnet School, Heathfield Community School, Heckmondwike Grammar School, Loxford School of Science and Technology, Parklands High School, Pate’s Grammar School, President Kennedy School, Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, The Holy Cross School, The Stourport High School & VIth Form Centre, Wade Deacon High School, Wellington School Trafford, Wildern School, Woodrush High School


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