Leading Education Newsletter

This is a half termly publication which collates information for school leaders from a range of sources. This is intended to be “a one-stop shop” of information, updates and resources that helps save school leaders time searching across a range of information sites.

We gather information from Ofsted, The Department for Education, Education Endowment Fund, and many other sites and collate it all into one place with active links for leaders to directly follow.

The newsletter is published towards the end of each half term and is sent to subscribers by email.

Head Teachers and school leaders tell us that it saves them endless hours of searching for information as they know we will have captured the essential knowledge and updates they require to keep them well informed.

Subscription rates are in the form of a one-off annual payment which covers the whole of the academic year, (6 publications), and are linked to the size of your school, (see below)

Subscriptions in 2022/2023 – Leading Education Newsletter

  • Single school: £80 for smaller schools, below 150 pupils, £160 for 150+ to 450 pupils. £180 for 450+ pupils. Materials can only be circulated to staff and governors in the school. (Headteachers responsible for more than one school and academies in a MAT will need a school group subscription.)

  • School group: £80 per school in MATs and partnerships. Materials can only be circulated to staff and governors of the named schools in the group. Discounts for larger groups; for enquiries, email: alistair@optimumleadershipsolutions.co.uk 

  • Professional: £110 for a staff member in a team. Materials for personal use only. Suitable for a consultant in a company, or an education officer in a team. (Headteachers will need to take out a school subscription.)

  • Individual: £80 for a consultant operating as a sole trader. Materials for personal use only.

  • CEO / MAT leader: Please email: alistair@optimumleadershipsolutions.co.uk for a quote.

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Need help to improve the quality of teaching in your school?

Alistair Shaw and Nicki Bell are former Head Teachers and accredited leadership coaches. Talk to them today to discuss
how OLS can help your teachers maximise their potential.


    As a Head Teacher what will TOTEM do for me?

    TOTEM provides the Head Teacher with an efficient means of reporting on all aspects of the quality of teaching across the school. It saves a huge amount of time, is totally transparent and enables full accountability to be enacted. It enables the Head Teacher to personalise their monitoring to the identified needs of the indvidual teachers which saves time and also ensures that the Head Teacher focuses on the real issues.

    How will it benefit me and my staff?

    Teachers gain a comprehensive profile of their teaching over time, together with grades, comments and developmental feedback. Head Teachers gain clarity, consistency and confidence that the quality of teaching in their school is being accurately evaluated. It enables the Head Teacher to task senior members to take a full part in monitoring knowing that judgements will be made consistently against tightly focused descriptors.

    Is it easy to use?

    Very. It has been constructed with the principle of  “keep it simple”. As former Head Teachers ourselves, we know how little time you have to “learn” how to use a new resource. It comes with a brief user guide and it will save you time and give you and your staff a rich profile of what is working well in your school.

    How up to date is it?

    TOTEM combines the Teacher Standards statements and the current Ofsted Inspection Framework, together with our combined experience of working with Head Teachers across all sectors and in all contexts. As part of the purchase process there is a service level agreement through which you will receive updated versions annually as national changes occur.

    Which sectors can it be used in?

    TOTEM is totally applicable to any context where teaching is taking place – primary schools, secondary schools, special schools, rural schools, urban schools, from small through to large schools. If you have teachers, you need TOTEM.

    Where does TOTEM sit in regards to Ofsted?

    The Education Inspection Framework, 2019, firmly puts the emphasis of the judgement of the quality of education at the centre of the inspection process. Contained within that is the quality of teaching and learning. TOTEM enables you to evaluate classroom provision, teacher accountability, pupils’ work and their voice, outcomes and subject leadership. In other words, it provides you with an incredibly efficient tool with which to gather, process and report on the quality of teaching over time.

    Can it link with my SEF and SIP writing?

    TOTEM is an efficient evidence gathering tool. That evidence can be used to report on the effectiveness within your SEF and will highlight priorities for improving teaching which can be entered into your SIP. All three sit perfectly together.

    Can it be used to monitor the quality of subject leadership?

    Yes, it can as the fifth dimension is totally dedicated to that aspect of being a teacher. It has ten descriptors covering the full range of subject leadership roles and expectations.

    Who gets to see what?

    You set the rules. An individual teacher sees her/his personalised profile as it develops during the year. As Head Teacher, you see everything, of course. If you want your senior staff to use TOTEM as part of their monitoring, they will see everything too. You can generate an anonymised report on the quality of teaching for your governors/trustees that removes the names of teachers.

    What if a teacher leaves / joins my school?

    The departing teacher can take their profile with them as evidence of their current effectiveness. It can sit within their portfolio. The joining teacher can have a profile created as they join the school. Total flexibility whenever required.

    How much is it and how do I get it?

    This depends on the number of full-time equivalent, (FTE), teaching staff are at your school. Not the number of teachers – there is no limit to that. There is a scale of charges depending upon the size of your school – up to 10 FTE it’s £300, between 11 and 20 FTE it’s £400 and for 21 FTE and above, it’s £500. After the first year, the annual service level agreement is applied and this equates to 50% of the purchase cost. You can enquire about ordering TOTEM here.

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