What is the Independent Schools Portal?
The Independent Schools Portal evolved out of a desire for closer collaboration at an operational level between northern English and Welsh Prep schools. Improving collaboration and helping schools to network remains our key mission, and we now support over 1200 schools worldwide (including 300 from the maintained sector). In addition to this, we are also beginning to actively support schools by providing services, either free of charge, or at a heavily discounted price.
How can you offer high-quality CPD and networking meetings for free?
Because of the unique way that we are funded. After the initial grant from the schools to develop the portal, we have consistently worked with high-quality commercial partners who promote their brand whilst at the same time helping us to provide support with the everyday challenges schools face. In the case of CPD and Networking events, this means that we can deliver high-quality meetings at no-cost to either the delegates or host school, and we are able to bring in fantastic speakers and specialists. At no cost.
Case study: Deputy and Assistant Heads network meeting, Grammar School at Leeds, 23rd November 2017. Before the event.
Session 1: Wellbeing
During our initial discussions with the school, and other Deputy Headteachers from the region, we identified that staff wellbeing and maintaining a wellbeing culture in schools was a topic of great interest. As a result, we decided to invite Ruth Farenga, a highly-regarded specialist in this field to lead the first session.
Session 2: Education Hub
After a short break with refreshments, we launched into the second session of the day, the Education Hub. During this session, the Deputy Heads got the chance the speak directly with 12 innovative companies in the education space, as well as benefit from a 'career clinic' with the fantastic education recruitment specialist, Monika Fryzicka. This session provided a superb opportunity for colleagues to collect lots of takeaway ideas with which to take back to colleagues in school.
Session 3: Deputy and Assistant Heads' Discussion
During this session, the Deputy and Assistant Heads discussed areas of common interest and concern, and shared ideas and experiences. The ISP took the minutes, to be shared across the whole network, including with Deputy and Assistant Heads who were not able to attend on this occasion.
Session 4: Taking learning outside of the classroom
During the final session, outdoor learning specialist, Mike Hargreaves, led an extended activity to inspire and offer practical advice in equal measure.
The final wrap
After the final session, we carried out all of the feedback and collated the data. We also surveyed colleagues during the day and found out what they would like to see in subsequent meetings (future requested sessions include 'having difficult conversations' and 'conflict resolution'). The next Yorkshire and Humber Deputy Heads meeting will take place on the 21st March 2018, also at GSaL, and from there it will rotate around the region to schools who wish to host. All of the coordination and organisation will be undertaken by the Portal, again at no cost.
I would like my school to become involved!
We currently organise meetings for Governors, Bursars, Heads, Deputy and Assistant Heads and Subject Leads. We have announced spring meetings in the North West and North East, and we will shortly be announcing meetings in the East and West Midlands, Kent and Berkshire. If you are interested in attending - or hosting - an event in your area, just drop me an email.
We currently organise breakfast, morning, afternoon and all day meetings - we are completely flexible and tailor them to your individual requirements.
If you already run regular network meetings, for example, district association Headteacher meetings - we are able to pay for all of your catering costs and provide a significant budget for high-quality specialist speakers. Again, just get in touch and we'll talk you through the opportunities.
A few thank yous...
We'd like to thank the following companies who kindly supported this Yorkshire and Humber Deputy and Assistant Heads' network event at GSaL, making it possible for whole meeting - including the high-quality CPD - to be provided free of charge: