School Improvement

ODST prides itself on providing valued guidance and support for school inspection and school improvement. We work directly with schools, governing bodies and government, improving education outcomes through evaluation, training and high quality professional development.

The school improvement service for the Trust provides:
  • School inspection and review – ODST offers planned opportunities for schools through  external quality assurance and the review of all aspects of a school’s work;
  • School improvement programmes – the Trust supports school improvement in a wide range of both trust and other academy schools through our diocesan mission. Our programmes improve underperforming schools, but also help good schools to become outstanding;
  • School leadership and management - ODST's experience in leadership and management includes the design and delivery of leadership courses and training materials for school leaders as well as governing bodies across the diocese;
  • Support for subject or aspect teaching - We work with individual schools and our local hubs to support subject teaching in all areas, and have particular expertise in the curriculum development, subject focused development and aspects such as SMSC and British Values.

“Members of staff were enthused by the ideas that they could try in their classrooms. It was interesting to be reminded about the different ways that children learn best.”

~ Headteacher Feedback on ODST Training

Early Years

Children who experience high quality early years provision are well placed to achieve better outcomes in school and beyond, and develop better social, emotional and academic abilities necessary for life-long learning. Schools in ODST benefit from high quality advice and guidance from Early Years professionals and inspectors; improving leaders’ understanding of the key features of outstanding practice and providing high quality CPD for practitioners and leaders.

Our work in early Years development covers:
  • strengthening leadership for learning – focusing on the key role of leaders in building capacity and ensuring high quality learning development and provision;
  • strong practitioners – focusing on the needs and highlighting /developing practitioners who support and extend children’s learning and development;
  • facilitating partnerships for learning and development – focusing on working in partnership to support children’s learning and development.

“All of the support gave (me) an excellent foundation and provides me with lots to work on monitoring EYFS. The video clips and what to look for and questions to ask were very useful – thank you.”

~ ODST Governor


The Trust’s aim is that all children should succeed.  Children in our primary schools thrive in an atmosphere of high expectations where staff and governors aim for all groups to make good progress in all they learn. The prime role of all our primary school leaders is to lead teaching, learning and achievement and the trust’s work in our primary schools is organised around this key priority through:
  • appointing, coaching and retaining high-quality practitioners with raised expectations of our staff supported by effective CPD;
  • high-quality leadership at all levels of self-sustaining learning communities;
  • raising expectations of what can be achieved so that the curriculum does not create barriers to achievement for pupils.

“On behalf of all who attended and benefitted from the Leadership course today, thank you! It was enjoyable, informative, useful and inspiring. Thanks again to all those who made it possible from ODST & Oxford Brookes University”

~ ODST Vice-Principal on leadership coaching


Our secondary school contacts consistently explore the road for improvement. They are highly engaged in their own improvement and confident in their identification of school improvement priorities, including making use of school-to-school networks. The Trust, working in partnership with its colleagues in the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education recognise that sourcing improvement is a particular challenge. The Trust works to help schools to become confident about evaluating value for money in the school improvement measures taken. ODST also supports schools to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies to effect change, and to find out what has worked for other schools, reflecting a wider trend of increasing emphasis on peer-to-peer support in general.

Guidance & Pupil Support

Pupil and School Support provides guidance to our schools in promoting inclusion and raising achievement with a particular focus on children and young people with learning difficulties and from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is achieved through a skilled team of external consultants and through opportunities to focus on these areas through CPD.

Financial Management

ODST is responsible for a growing family of schools and their finances, and we have three members of staff working alongside those schools towards our common aim of achieving excellent financial management and accountability in support of teaching and learning. These are some of the things we do for our schools in pursuance of that aim.
  • We provide two customised and integrated software packages – Orovia BPS for budget planning, and PS Financials for financial administration and management.
  • Our schools benefit from access to on-line banking through Lloyds Corporate Online.
  • We support our school finance staff with:
    • on-site visits from an experienced and highly qualified member of ODST staff;
    • telephone and email enquiry services;
    • regular meetings at which information and best practice solutions are shared and problems aired.
  • We support schools with procurement issues and plan to expand this service considerably over the next year to help all the schools in the ODST family to obtain best value for money.

Human Resources

Our vision for HR in ODST is to provide an excellent and customer-focussed service that enables our academies to deliver the highest possible educational standards and supports the wider mission of ODST.

Day-to-day HR within ODST schools was historically outsourced to local authority providers, as part of a buy-back service, but is now provided in-house.  Our central team provide an advisory service to all member schools in addition to the strategic support provided at a central level to the Trust.

Our HR team will advise schools within the Trust on a wide range of issues such as recruitment, appraisal, staff terms and conditions, welfare, disciplinary, sickness and maternity leave and performance management.

Our HR advisers are happy to help; they are approachable and will offer friendly and professional advice.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our HR adviser who will be happy to help.

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