The SSAT 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 SSAT 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’ 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 to Leading Edge schools at no additional charge. 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 on the Exchange. 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 from the Exchange and start the self-review process with your team. You can find more ideas for using FfEE below.

To apply for accreditation ‘transforming’ in particular strands of the framework you need to submit your application during one of the application windows. You can find the forms for applying in each strand of FfEE on the Leading Edge section of the Exchange, or get in touch with us by email.

The next accreditation windows are:

March 2018

November 2018


What SSAT Leading Edge schools are saying about the SSAT Framework for Exceptional Education?

The framework is really good to set a standard. We have used it as a framework to strive towards. It has been useful to start discussions with staff at all levels and initiate change where appropriate or be recognised for the things that we do well. The application is a good self-reflection, peer review visits have been really rewarding and the final moderation visit also provides good feedback.
Vyners School

The process was an excellent way of evaluating our provision in the Systems area. We were confident at the outcome but the process has meant that we have developed further since achieving the systems strand.
Sir Christopher Hatton Academy


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 feedback 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