The Framework for Exceptional Education – support and recognition for high-performing schools

The Framework for Exceptional Education (FfEE) is a self-review and planning framework designed by SSAT with the support of a pilot group of Leading Edge schools. It is available to all SSAT member schools and supports you in taking a fresh look at your current practice – offering a principled approach to school improvement that takes you beyond statutory inspection frameworks.


What does it mean for Leading Edge schools?

We have put FfEE at the heart of the Leading Edge programme. Through it, Leading Edge schools can collaborate with colleagues across the network and receive accreditation for ‘transforming in’ practice in one or more strands of the framework. Leading Edge schools can engage with FfEE at two levels:

    • Participating in

Once a school completes their self-review and sends it to the Leading Edge team, they will be recognised as ‘participating in’ FfEE. We will then use your self-review to identify useful connections for you within the network and to explore how we can help you to achieve your goals.

    • Transforming in

Accreditation as ‘transforming’ in a strand of FfEE is open exclusively to Leading Edge schools. Once you submit an application, we will pair you with a partner school so that you can share practice and undertake a peer review. The full process for accreditation can be found here. There is no additional charge for accreditation.


How can I get involved?

You can get started with FfEE at any time – simply download the framework and start the self-review process with your team. You can find more ideas for using FfEE below.

To apply for ‘transforming’ you will need to submit your application during one of the accreditation windows. You can find the forms for applying in each strand of FfEE here or get in touch with us by email.

The next accreditation windows are:

8 May-26 May 2017
27 November-15 December 2017


What are the benefits of the framework?/What schools are saying about the Framework?

The accreditation allowed us to work closely with another Leading Edge school to explain and measure our performance against not only a comprehensive framework but also the questioning and work with another school. The process of visits, discussions with Headteachers and the Leading Edge assessor allowed us to promote and consolidate all of the work that we are doing here regarding Professional Learning.

The sharing of ideas, not only from our accreditation but also the discussions with our partner school regarding areas that we would like to work with them in improving our own focus area has meant that a closer working relationship after the accreditation process has ended still remains with more visits and workshops planned.
Vyners School

This is a tremendous tool to develop the self-reflective culture within your institution. Initially I asked my SLT to look at the domains and discuss how we would evidence aspects and at what category we would suggest we are performing at. This offered a different lead-in conversation with governors which has subsequently see them pick certain areas to come and see in the Academy. The framework has indeed sparked off heightened discourse which has now transcended to the curriculum leads. The truth, it gives us a non-judgemental viewpoint and demonstrated that we have key areas to develop. The variety of opinions has furthermore enhanced educational conversation which cannot be a bad thing in any environment. Curriculum leads have chosen one key area they champion and a member of their department offers a 15-minute forum in how they champion it and on the other side of the coin choose an area which they feel needs developing and actively seeks good practice in the Academy.
Tudor Grange Academy, Solihull


Ideas for using the framework in your school or MAT

Participants have been using FfEE in a range of ways to support conversations in their school. Here are a few of the ideas we have seen so far:

  • Ask members of your leadership team/your middle leaders to complete the self-review process for the whole school individually. How far are your judgements similar or different? Why?
  • Ask middle leaders to complete the self-review process with their department. Use their feedback to support CPD planning and whole-school self-evaluation.
  • Use the framework across your MAT to explore strengths and areas for development across the different schools. Use this to plan cross-MAT learning opportunities.
  • Use FfEE with your governors – engage them in the self-review process and structure visits that enable them to review and feed back on practice in a particular strand.
  • Build FfEE into your action planning and school development plan.
  • Use feedback from your peer review and your Leading Edge visit to evidence the quality of your practice in a particular area.

Framework for exceptional education for leading edge schools – FAQs find out more about leading edge
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