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Roles and responsibilities in the primary system

The Primary Board

Is at the centre of the primary system in East Sussex and acts as the county-wide body that provides the overall strategic leadership to the work of all primary schools and early year providers. It brings together the work of Education Improvement Partnerships (EIPs) and their alliances, Early Years Hubs, Dioceses, Multi-Academy Trusts and the local authority. The Board sets the overall vision and priorities for improvement for the primary and early years system based on the views and intelligence gathered from schools and early years providers through their EIPs. The Primary Board has two sub-groups reporting directly to it: the EIP Network and the East Sussex Learning Collaborative Network.

Education Improvement Partnerships (EIPs)

Are the area-based structures East Sussex has developed to co-ordinate the work of alliances of local schools and early years hubs. EIPs draw on the information and intelligence from alliances, EY Hubs, the local authority and primary advisers, to know the priorities and needs of their schools and EY providers. Through the EIP Chair, they report to the Primary Board to help identify county-wide priorities and are accountable to the Primary Board for the planning, implementation and impact of the EIP’s work.

The EIP Chair plays a critical leadership role in supporting the functioning of the Primary and Early Years system. They represent all EIP schools and early years providers on the Primary Board and are accountable to the Primary Board for the EIP’s work and impact.

The Chair has responsibility for the quality and frequency of communication, ensuring all schools feel included and have appropriate access to the EIP’s support and resources.  Each EIP Chair receives funding equivalent to half a day a week to carry out the role.

The EIP Network provides a forum in which EIP Chairs support each other and learn from each other’s work in individual EIPs. It ensures there is a coherence and consistency across EIPs where needed, but also enables EIP Chairs freedom to develop their own solutions that best fit their local context. The EIP Network approves and monitors the action plans of individual EIPs and reports to the Primary Board on the progress and impact of EIP activity.

Alliances are smaller locality groups of schools within an EIP where much of the day-to-day collaboration and partnership working takes place.  Schools within alliances work collaboratively to understand the strengths and support needs of each school in their local context. They also know where schools have the capacity and expertise to support others and can identify potential and talent.

Alliance Chairs/Leads know their schools well and as members of the EIP’s executive bring intelligence and feedback from their group of schools to EIP discussions and decision making.  They make a full contribution to the EIP’s executive meetings, action planning, ongoing monitoring and evaluation of CPD and school to school support. They provide communication that links the EIP’s executive with all EIP schools and forms a channel of communication between schools and the Primary Board. They may act as Vice Chair and deputise for the Chair at the Primary Board/ EIP Network meetings. Alliance Chairs/Leads receive funding of 6 days a year to support them in their role.

Early Years Hubs

Bring together the diverse mix of early education providers which includes private, voluntary and independent settings (PVIs) schools, pre-schools, childminders, and Children’s Centres. The Hubs work in locality areas within EIPs and work in partnership with key partners and the local authority to achieve high quality early years provision and transition. The hubs provide EYFS practitioners with the opportunity to support each other by sharing good practice and disseminating information. Each hub is hosted by a lead school that chairs the meetings, oversees the administration of the group and is accountable to the EIP’s executive for the financial spend and impact of the hubs’ activities.

Learning Collaborative Partner Schools

There are four Learning Collaborative Partner schools, one in each EIP, that co-ordinate and broker school-to-school support and CPD to meet the identified needs of schools. The Lead from the Collaborative Partner School is a member of the EIP’s executive and receives funding from the Primary Board to support their work. With the EIP executive they organise and quality assure provision, and review its impact. They co-ordinate and facilitate support from schools with capacity and expertise to offer others, drawing on their knowledge of where this lies within the EIP, East Sussex Learning Collaborative Network or beyond. Schools have been recommended for this role following a process of consultation, self-assessment and peer review by members of the Primary Board, EIPs and the local authority.

East Sussex Learning Collaborative Network (ESLCN)

Aims to maximise resources and expertise to provide a comprehensive CPD and school to school support offer across the county.  It builds on the work of the East Sussex Teaching School Network (ESTSN) co-ordinating and managing the accreditation and deployment of SLEs and co-ordinating the blended offer from Learning Collaborative Schools, Teaching School Hubs, local authority and wider partnerships. The network website sets out this offer and provides a portal for all East Sussex primary schools to access development and support. The Network is chaired by a former East Sussex Primary Headteacher who is also a member of the Primary Board.

The local authority

Continues to fulfill its role as champion for children and young people by holding the system to account for the outcomes, progress and destinations of all pupils, especially those at risk of under-performance. It provides overarching data to enable the Primary Board and EIPs to make evidence-based judgements about where performance is strong, identify and act on weaknesses and build capacity for improvement.  It also retains important statutory responsibilities in relation to school improvement and early years in the following areas:

  • Holding powers of intervention for schools causing concern in line with government guidance.
  • Supporting governing boards with the appointment of headteachers.
  • Supporting the provision of Religious Education
  • Moderating National Curriculum assessment.
  • Safeguarding.
  • Securing and funding sufficient childcare whilst providing advice and guidance to families and to providers

Local authority representatives work alongside EIP Chairs, Alliance leads and EY Hubs to support local partnership working and ensure its impact. The local authority’s intention is to further this partnership working to strengthen EIP structures and engage EIPs in the ambitions of Excellence for All.