Character Trust professional development

School Improvement Strategy

Our School Improvement Strategy aims to enable each school to develop and sustain their capacity for improvement so they can deliver the Trust’s vision.

Our vision is to support and encourage the students within our Trust to develop good character; to be confident and kind; to have integrity; to respect difference and to make a positive contribution to the community around them.

Our approach to school improvement is led by the development of character education within our schools; strong and clear leadership that sets high expectations; and a spirit of collaboration that provides the support and challenge to help all members of the school community strive to achieve. We recognise that every school will be at a different stage on their improvement journey.

We also recognise schools can be impacted by significant barriers along the way and our school improvement approach will remain evidence-informed, proactive and proportionate to a school’s improvement needs over time.  This approach allows the Trust to build and strengthen our capacity to support more schools as we expand.

Our team

Our Executive Team includes our CEO, the Headteachers of our Schools, our Finance Director and HR Director. We have a strong track record of leading school improvement, developing leaders and embedding character education.

Our four stage improvement model

We have developed an established four-stage improvement model based on the DfEs model:


  • There may be limited leadership capacity to provide the significant improvement to the quality of education required.
  • There may be no clear vision or values for the school community
  • Expectations of students and staff may be too low
  • Staff may be demonstrating poor character vin their interactions with children, colleagues and parents
  • There may be a lack of clarity about staff roles and responsibilities
  • Safeguarding may not be effective
  • Governance may be poor
  • Financial management may be poor and inaccurate
  • The curriculum may not be well planned and the quality of education may be poor
  • There may be limited opportunities for students to develop their character through clubs, activities and trips


  • School Improvement Lead (SIL) allocated by the trust; this may be the CEO or an experienced Headteacher
  • School Improvement review/due diligence completed by CEO/SIL/FD to understand the position of key aspects including attendance, curriculum, safeguarding, finance, HR, governance
  • A focus on urgent priorities
  • High visibility and communication with staff, students and parents
  • Clarity about vision, values and commitment of the Trust
  • Two week action plans set for school leaders and reviewed by SIL and CEO


  • There is leadership capacity in place to secure improvement (Trust and existing leaders) and we are working on getting the right leaders in the right posts
  • There is a focussed school improvement plan in place which identifies the Trust support and collaboration activities required
  • Safeguarding procedures and activities are compliant
  • Governance is moved forward with Trust support
  • The school is calmer on a day-to-day basis
  • Attendance is improving, as is staff attendance
  • Middle leaders know their priorities
  • Curriculum development is moving forward
  • Executive coaching for leaders


  • The SIL is at the school daily
  • SIL and CEO continue to set and review short term action plans for leaders
  • Trust curriculum plans are shared and adopted where required
  • A restorative approach to managing and improving poor behaviour, and setting high expectations is introduced, starting with training for all staff
  • Character education is introduced (caught, taught and sought)
  • Middle leaders have coaching and mentoring
  • Weekly student welfare/safeguarding meetings held and chaired by experienced DSL from Trust if required
  • Weekly support sessions delivered for staff on pedagogy and practice, and on building character
  • Two week action planning for leaders continues
  • Executive coaching for leaders


  • Leadership development continues and is now having an impact
  • The school improvement plan is leading to change
  • Short term action planning by leaders is starting to become more autonomous
  • The school is showing signs of being a school of character
  • The curriculum is clear and mapped for students and staff
  • Teaching and learning is improving with signs that all staff are working to embed expectations, adaptive teaching and challenge
  • The school is increasingly contributing to collaboration in the Trust
  • Outcomes for students are stronger
  • Students are showing good character on a consistent basis around the school
  • Governance is effective and having an impact
  • Finances at the school are being managed effectively
  • The school is preparing for has received the ACE School of Character Kitemark
  • Students are developing confidence in the classroom and beyond


  • Support continues but can now be tailored to specific areas
  • Three monthly reviews of teaching and learning
  • Leadership action planning moves to termly with continued support from SIL and HT
  • Annual review of safeguarding
  • Leaders attend Trust Strategic Leadership Group meetings
  • Leaders contribute to Trust Leadership Development courses
  • Executive coaching for leaders


  • Creative solutions and areas of excellence at the school are shared widely across the Trust and beyond
  • Both academic and character development outcomes for students are excellent
  • Leaders have high levels of confidence in their roles and the impact they have
  • There is a focus on the development of talent and leadership at all levels
  • Middle leaders drive improvement across the school
  • Students value school highly; they are confident about their learning and about the positive impact they can have to the community around them

Character Education Trust – Improving together

We recognise that we are on a continuous journey of school development to ensure our students have the opportunities they deserve. Each school in our Trust will always have the following support to ensure leaders never feel they are working alone, and to ensure that we work together to share the load:

Weekly visits from the CEO/EHT, with support at any time. The EHT works with Headteachers to provide support and challenge, to help implement agreed strategic initiatives and to review the quality of provision.

The CEO/EHT will attend LT meetings once every month to help understand how they can best support leaders.

The Headteacher of each school is part of our Strategic Leadership Group which meets bi-weekly. These meetings are focussed on the quality of education, and the meetings also provides an opportunity for us to share our successes and challenges and work together for the best solutions.

School leaders have access to Executive Coaching which is confidential and focussed on supporting them and their leadership impact.

Aspiring leader and middle leaders can access our Trust Leadership Development programme and we encourage colleagues to study from the suite of NPQs.

Our central Trust team is small but effective and takes a lead on finance and HR. We provide expertise, and experience to support our in-school colleagues.

Access to the Association of Character Education resources, training and conferences is available to all staff.

A Character Education

We support character education development throughout our schools and our experienced school leaders can help you explore how character education can have a positive impact in your schools.

We are proud that Wrotham School has been awarded the Character Education Quality Mark and Aylesford School was one of first schools in the country to achieve the Character Education Quality Mark Plus.

ACE School of Character Quality Mark Plus