Inside story: School facing a category secures a ‘Good’ Judgement, PBM Training and Consultancy play a crucial role

Headteachers facing the real prospect of their school being placed into a category will understand the challenges involved. Saint John Fisher kindly agreed to share their recent experience of inspection and discuss the support provided by PBM.

PBM’s role: Headteacher Dr Eilis Field sets the scene

“Firstly I should stress I have no business or personal links with PBM whatsoever. Nevertheless as an experienced headteacher, in my third headship, I have worked with PBM over a number of years and I would recommend, without reservation, PBM consultancy as a valuable asset in moving any school forward. Saint John Fisher, where I am currently headteacher, has had to overcome many challenges over the past four years for a variety of reasons. Any headteacher working in a school faced with a real prospect of being placed in a category will understand how hard it is to identify priorities when faced with so many areas that need addressing. PBM had played a crucial role in moving the previous school where I was headteacher from Good to Outstanding and I wondered if they could help Saint John Fisher to address even greater challenges. I am so glad I made that call; the whole team at Saint John Fisher recognise the crucial role PBM have played in securing ‘Good’ judgments in all categories in our recent OFSTED.”

How have PBM supported you and your school?

At a consultancy level: You retain ownership, PBM listen, observe and provide sound, objective advice. If you want to hear platitudes then PBM consultancy is not for you. If you want consultants who understand your data down to the finest detail, say it as it is, objectively pinpointing the barriers that are to be overcome and work with you as you address them, PBM are right for you.”

At a training level: In order for the school to move forward there will invariably be training needs at all levels. PBM will work with you to identify those training needs and provide the highest quality training at equally competitive prices. Schools can simply buy into specific courses to meet their training needs and be sure of high quality training.”

Networking with other schools? Networking with other schools is now recognised as an essential facet of school development. Saint John Fisher was proactive in developing partnerships with other local schools. Some of our issues overlapped, others were specific to the individual schools. PBM were able to provide a package tailored to meet the needs of our cluster of schools. They provided cost effective, excellent quality INSET for those areas we had all identified as needing addressing. For example, all our teachers joined together for their ‘Good to Outstanding Teaching’ training, all our Middle Leaders joined together for Subject Leadership training.  Our schools also worked together on work scrutiny which meant that we would apply that training to real pupils’ work and constructively compare work across our schools under the guidance of an experienced PBM consultant. At the same time, as all our schools were in very different phases of development we each had separate issues we needed to address. We were able to negotiate times for PBM to meet with us individually to address these needs. For example, a PBM consultant led some of the leadership team on a learning walk of the school. All our schools have greatly benefited from this kind of package. The combination of listening to what schools say but at the same time offering an experienced and objective outside view on a school makes a package of support from PBM highly effective in terms of quality and cost.”