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Cluster Group of Schools Achieves Charter Mark

Cluster Group of Schools Achieves Charter Mark
22/06/2006

North Lanarkshire Schools Show Collective Commitment To Their Partners A Cluster Group of schools in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, have achieved Charter Mark - the Government’s UK-wide standard for excellence in public service. The award was made following an assessment by SGS United Kingdom Ltd in June 2005. The Cluster Group, led by St. Margaret’s High School, comprises eight primary schools (six with a nursery component) and one secondary school. “The idea of taking Charter Mark as a group was to demonstrate our collective commitment to our partners: pupils, parents, outside agencies and both teaching and non-teaching staff,” says deputy head teacher, Elizabeth Barbour. “The Cluster of schools is very strong and we have built up a seamless transition for our pupils from 3-18 through many years of working together and sharing ideas. For us, the Cluster approach fitted in well with our model.” Preparing For Assessment In June 2004, the Cluster started working with SGS. The process started with a series of exploratory discussions with assessors from SGS. “We chose SGS because of the support they offered in helping us prepare the Cluster for the Charter Mark assessment,” says Elizabeth Barbour.

“The mechanics of preparing the evidence was made easier because of the strong commitment of ensuring the highest quality standards, through a process of on-going monitoring and review, that already existed across the nine schools. The practicalities of how the Cluster would gather the evidence from nine separate establishments, and how long it would take to conduct the assessment involving the nine schools, from separate geographical locations, needed to be worked out.”

SGS had provided support for the application by schools within North Lanarkshire Council, for Charter Mark, by producing a framework document which provided a structure that helped the schools identify the areas where they were fully compliant, as well as other areas where they needed to improve, and to work towards achieving compliance with the Charter Mark Criteria.

“With this collaborative approach, we were able to centralise information, share ideas and good practice, and cut administrative costs.

We worked with SGS to take forward the document across the nine establishments, by focussing on our common practices in working with our partners. We recognised what was required for each criteria and established a direction that we needed to follow to achieve success. “ Achieving Charter Mark In June 2005, the Cluster Group of Schools achieved Charter Mark status. During the assessment, SGS reviewed documentation and interviewed a cross section of the Cluster’s partners, including pupils, parents, outside agencies and both teaching and non-teaching staff. The Cluster met the required criteria and SGS suggested a few action points to take forward. The assessors are returning shortly to check on progress.

The Charter Mark Report

In their report the assessors made a number of positive observations of good practice, and in particular they highlighted six areas of outstanding achievement:

• Excellent ethos in all areas of the Cluster • Extremely high levels of customer satisfaction • Highly efficient consultative processes that engage customers, partners and staff • Commendable arrangements for the transition between schools • Excellent, committed and highly motivated staff • Strong, influential leadership in all areas of the Cluster

“We are very pleased with the report, and we feel a common pride,” says Elizabeth Barbour.

“In our application for Charter Mark we had such a range of resources across the cluster and we were able to share them. The achievement has generated great interest amongst staff, pupils and parents across the Cluster Group of Schools.”

The Cluster Group of Schools

The Cluster of eight primary schools and one secondary school are all part of North Lan

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