Tracey Bowman has been Head Teacher of Birchwood Junior School in Lincoln for ten years. However, in recent years, her role has changed significantly, as – as Executive Headteacher - she has overseen a deepening partnership between Birchwood and its two other local schools, the Lancaster School (an infant school) and Woodlands Infant and Nursery School. The three schools have worked in loose partnership for some years, bound by a desire to work together in the best interests of the community they serve. However, in recent years, Tracey, as Executive Head has worked with governors, staff and the community to bring about a more formal and deeper approach to partnership – driven by a need to achieve school improvement and to better serve all children, many of who are eligible for pupil premium funding.
This journey of more formal collaboration began three years ago when the Head Teacher of the Lancaster School retired. Tracey had overseen a period of sustained success at Birchwood, and Lancaster required an experienced and able leader to help to overcome the challenges it was facing and to drive improvement – so it was a natural step to ask Tracey to take on the Executive Head role. “The schools had worked in partnership” says Tracey “however, it was clear that so much more could be done to share school improvement expertise and to work in a co-ordinated way to serve the children and the local community. Lancaster needed support, and it felt natural and right that we should work together and that Birchwood should support Lancaster to take improvement forward.”
Since Tracey has taken on the role of Executive Head, according to Ofsted, “the speed of school improvement at Lancaster has increased” and the school’s outcomes in terms of performance have improved significantly. So how did Tracey and her team bring this about?
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