How we serve our schools
Service is one of our core values and in accepting the mantle of leadership we recognise that our mission is to serve. In practical terms, we serve our schools in the following ways:
We are focussed on doing things for the greater good and as a Catholic Trust it is vitally important that the distinctive ethos of each school is strong and integral to all aspects of that school’s life. We serve this aspect of the mission through a genuine and collaborative commitment to prayer and spiritual development, and on a more practical level by sharing resources and best practice. We also work collaboratively with the Diocese and several our leaders work on a part-time basis for the Diocesan Education Service to support Catholic schools both within and beyond Xavier.
We support the professional development of every member of staff through mentoring, coaching, role-specific training and Trust-wide INSET. Having Teach South East SCITT and Xavier Teaching School Hub within our wider organisation offers great opportunities, not only for accessing professional qualifications but also for those looking to develop their own careers in this field.
We have subject leaders for each curriculum that are school based but work with the central team to continually review, develop, and share curriculum resources. Where schools ask for it, we create a Xavier Curriculum for certain subjects which schools are free to use or adapt if they wish.
Learning & Teaching
An evidence-based approach to continually improving learning and teaching in all our schools is key to our ongoing success. The Director of Research & Development coordinates the work of learning and teaching leads and subject specialists across the trust to share and promote best practice, from not only our own schools but from a range of centres of excellence across the region.
Our school improvement team includes specialist in Early Years, Primary and Secondary Education, SEN, safeguarding and leadership. Members of the team work with each of our schools on a regular and systematic basis on agreed improvement plans and are available to support with high priority tailored improvement projects with individual schools, including preparation for Ofsted.
We offer a range of services to our Local Governing Committees to ensure that they can provide effective strategic leadership, secure accountability and remain compliant with company and charity law. Our governor training, clerking service and work programmes are all designed to ensure effective, focussed governance whilst reducing workload. We also provide a full suite of statutory policies that are updated regularly and in line with the latest regulations, as well as exemplar material for school specific policy.
Schools have the option of retaining their own Business Managers or moving to a centralised service. Regardless of which option, all schools are supported by our central finance team through a range of financial and commercial services that secure value for money, effective financial management and secure financial probity and compliance with ESFA regulations.
We commission an estates strategic master plan for each of our schools which lays out how we intend of develop the site over the coming years. As a large trust, we receive a significant capital grant direct to the Trust each year which both funds ongoing project work in line with the master plans and pays for any outstanding condition work that has been identified by our surveys. Our team manage all aspects of capital projects and condition work, they support premises managers and caretakers with facilities management and help schools to ensure they are compliant with Health & Safety regulations.
Each of our schools benefit from the expertise and efficiency of our highly capable IT team. Whilst much of the support is provided remotely, technicians pay regular visits to each site and are committed to out to schools immediately when problems arise. Central it procurement ensures value for money and high quality and our shared security network gives schools peace of mind when it comes to cyber security. We are in the process of developing our Trust-wide digital strategy aimed at supporting schools to harness the many advantages offered by educational software.
Our HR team are on hand to support and advise schools with regards any issues relating to employment and staffing. HR policies are written, reviewed, and shared from the centre and training is on offer for those in schools whose responsibility it is to administer them. and retention. The Trust places a high priority on recruitment and retention, and we work collaboratively across the organisation to create opportunities for career progression for individuals and manage succession for schools. We are committed to reducing workload and workforce reform and we work creatively with schools to realise these aims.
Our inclusion team draw on a wide set of skills and experience to ensure that every child in the trust is afforded the best possible opportunity to succeed. Within this team, we have a number of SEND specialists who work with schools to support children with complex needs and their families. This work often includes liaising with the Local Authority to secure the appropriate provision and we are in the process of establishing our first Trust centre for specialist provision for children within our schools. Our SEND work is complemented by our own excellent Educational Psychologist who works with children, their families and schools, as is the work of our Well-being Lead who coordinates a Trust-wide approach to promoting and securing well-being for all members of our community. We are also blessed to have a highly experienced Safeguarding Lead who audits each school on a regular basis, supports Heads and DSLs with issues that arise and provides training for a range of stakeholders.
One of the things colleagues enjoy particularly about being part of the Xavier family is the opportunity to work collaboratively with like-minded people who share the same values and who are doing the same job. We hold regular network meetings for a whole range of staff, leaders and governors. These networks were originally set up with a view to sharing best practice and providing collegiate support. However, in the best traditions of social enterprise, they have in many cases become so much more. The strength and warmth of relationships across these groups is what makes the Xavier family so very special and, for us, such a pleasure to serve.