Peer Support Networks
The Peer Support Network has grown from around 150 schools in 2018 to over 1200 by the end of 2019, across 4 streams: Rural Schools Network, NSLN (National Secondary Leadership Network), MAT Peer Support Network, and Diocesan Peer Support Network. We are now facilitating a number of Diocesan Peer Support Network groups in partnership with Diocese Education Teams across the country, so that school leaders feel both part of something clearly national, but also fully local. The Diocesan Peer Support Network therefore aims to add capacity to local priorities for development.
The model for the Peer Support Network involves between 3 to 5 facilitated 0.5-day sessions throughout the academic year, for groups of around 15-20 schools, alongside networking opportunities for leaders to visit each other, to share their development together. These sessions are based around the Vision Resources produced by the Foundation, but also extend to deeper development work in relation to a range of themes – for example Curriculum Development, Character Education, Teaching & Learning and Wellbeing/Resilience. It can also focus on particular kinds of schools – for example Rural or Small Schools. The Peer Support Network seeks to empower leaders at a variety of levels, including Headteachers, Senior Leaders, Middle Leaders and Governors. It facilitates high quality leadership development for these school leaders, which has lasting benefits beyond the facilitated sessions, and complements the other provision of the Foundation, such as the CofEPQH (https://www.cefel.org.uk/cofepqh/).
Through encouraging school leaders to work together on shared leadership priorities, the Peer Support Network is empowering leaders to engage deeply with the Church’s vision for education. School leaders are exchanging ideas, visiting each other, encouraging each other’s leadership development, and through developing coaching, offering that crucial sense of support and challenge as they evaluate the impact of their work together. Such resource sharing, online collaborations, and leadership exchanges are developing inspirational leaders called, connected and committed to delivering the Church of England’s vision for education.
“The opportunities to approach important leadership issues from the starting point of the Church of England’s vision has helped us develop a creative and often more innovative approach to school improvement, focussed on the leadership development of the whole school community.” School Leader, 2017 Cohort
“The Peer Support Network is growing leadership capacity within our school, and enables us to reflect, refresh and revitalise our leaders to empower change” School Leader, 2017 Cohort
"It has been a real pleasure to work with the group and I have felt strengthened and uplifted by our discussions and mutual support for one another." School Leader, 2018-19 Cohort
Membership of the Foundation’s Peer Support Network is through partnership with participating dioceses. Please contact your diocese to see if there are any networks running in your area.