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BESA in conversation with...The Key Support

British Educational Suppliers Association talks to CEO Fergal Roche about how The Key Support provides the answers to school leaders' questions

Posted by Lucinda Reid | May 21, 2018 | Technology

How do The Key’s information and services help school leaders?

Whether it’s in preparing for inspections, managing administration, complying with regulations or ensuring a high quality of teaching throughout the school, school leaders often have a number of critical questions they need answers to. The Key provides the answers.

From online articles and guides, to management tools and resources, The Key’s practical and timely support frees up capacity for busy school leaders to focus on education outcomes in their schools.

How do you cater to the specific needs of academy leaders? 

Academies represent a large proportion of our member base, and we’ve achieved this by ensuring that our services and tools support both the leaders of individual academies and those working across a multi-academy trust (MAT). 

For example, MAT leaders can access our Compliance Tracker dashboard to get visibility over compliance across all their schools. They can use this for tracking and reporting to central team members, trustees and schools. The tool also provides MAT leaders with an area to easily store and manage all policies across the trust.

We also have articles and resources specifically for leaders in academies and MATs, to keep them on top of the latest insights and operational guidance. These include information and support on everything from financial sustainability and providing central services, to improving performance and MAT governance.  

School leaders do not have much time to provide continuing professional development (CPD). How does The Key adapt to their needs?

In addition to saving school leaders time in their day-to-day tasks, we have a dedicated training offer, CPD Toolkit. Designed with time-poor headteachers in mind, CPD Toolkit removes the hassle and expense of sending staff to external courses by fully equipping leaders to upskill staff in-house, when it’s convenient and at a fraction of the cost.

To save time and money, the toolkit provides comprehensive, ready-to-deliver training courses on a wide range of topics, including differentiation, securing the best outcomes for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities, and fostering a positive ‘growth mindset’ in pupils. The toolkit provides everything that both the trainer and participants need at each step. Leaders can also easily customise the materials to suit their school setting, massively enhancing the learning outcomes for staff and cutting the need for additional costly and time-consuming courses.

What are the main challenges currently facing school leaders?

Over the last few months we’ve seen school leaders consume our GDPR resources in their tens of thousands, as time-pressed staff have grappled to get their heads around the new regulation. Beyond the end-May deadline, we’re expecting schools to remain engaged with data protection and we’ll continue to produce resources to help them keep their processes and procedures rooted in protecting the privacy of pupils, staff and others.

More broadly, managing workload remains a key priority, and challenge, for schools. We’re producing new resources to help leaders streamline activity and cut out unnecessary tasks, which are often the biggest cause of workload strain. To do this we’re drawing on real-life changes implemented by leaders from the 10,000 schools in our network, to ensure that the workload-cutting strategies we recommend are truly practical and achievable, with no negative impact on pupil outcomes.

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