Pupil Premium Review


A Challenging
Leadership Partner


RADY Coaching Package


Performance Management


A Review of Attendance


Collaborative Review
of Leadership


Collaborative Subject / Phase Review


Support and Challenge


  • Following our successful use of Challenging Education for HTPM we approached them for external professional guidance for our recruitment process to replace our Headteacher who had retired. We meet with Simon Blackburn to discuss how he could help us recruit a suitable new Head. We found him to be very easy to work with. He found out the qualities we were looking for, he offered various selection exercises which would allow us to test the candidates. He wanted to understand what we wanted and then tried to offer us the best ways of achieving them. He was present for the whole of the two day process. He gave calm, clear guidance to the governors. He helped us to be confident that we were getting the correct information from the activities we were observing. He enabled us to score the activities in an objective and logical manner. Governors were encouraged to offer opinions, observations and ask questions in the post activity discussions. He did not try and dominate or take control of the process but his steady and calm presence allowed me, as Chair, to manage the two days successfully. Recruitment of a new Headteacher is probably the most important thing that a governing body does. With Simon's help our recruitment of a new Head was enjoyable, rigorous  and above all successful.

    Headteacher recruitment, January 2017

    Ian WiseIan WiseChair of Governors, The Weston Road Academy
  • Thank you for sending the draft so quickly.  Thank you for your time with us. It was really valuable and appreciated by everyone.  It was a pleasure working with you and Louise.

    Collaborative Review of Leadership, Feb '17

    Moira Foster-BrownMoira Foster-BrownHeadteacher, Birchfield Community School
  • Good morning Louise, It was good to work with you on Wednesday. Thank you for the positive way in which you conducted the review, we really appreciated the conversations and guidance you gave.

    Pupil Premium Review, June '17

    Kalsom KhanKalsom KhanHeadteacher, Park Hill Primary School
  • Thank you and Trevor as well for the way in which the day ran yesterday (and the interactions preceding it). Staff were challenged yet felt this to be supportive; quite a difficult balance to strike.

    Collaborative review of leadership, 31st January 2017

    Simon AscroftSimon AscroftHeadteacher, Biddulph High School
  • Hi Trevor, Thank you for the draft report we have shared it with the Chair of Governors today and feel that it  is an accurate and productive report which supports our self evaluation.   We found the collaborative review very useful, providing a snap shot of school today and identifying our next steps. The day was very thorough, challenging yet immensely constructive.

    Collaborative Review of Leadership, June '17

    Rachael McKinneyRachael McKinneyCo-headteacher, St Saviour's Birmingham
  • We have found the principles under-lying the project to be sound and our involvement has led to better PP interventions, best practice relationships with a number of schools, has prompted the overhaul of our entire data and reporting system and has got us carefully considering the future of setting within our school, and the project has seen a couple of middle leaders really step up as potential senior leaders within the school.  Louise Mallett has been brilliant as a coach.

    RADY coaching, January - July '17

    Neil JonesNeil JonesDeputy Headteacher, Turves Green Girls School
  • Hello Louise - thank you for your support both before and during your visit. It really did make me think about not only our practice, but how to look at things in a differently.

    Incisive document & data review, December '16

    Nadeem BhattiNadeem BhattiHeadteacher, Shaw Hill Primary School
  • Just a quick message to say thank you for last night. A really useful session for Governors and senior leaders and you presented what is a challenging paper in a very light hearted and informative way. Our governors are certainly better informed of the Raise and Inspection Dashboard and said how useful it was last night.

    Bespoke governor training, 24th January 2017

    Stephen DrewStephen DrewDeputy Headteacher, Springcroft Primary
  • We are an early voluntary converter academy. We converted to maintain control over our own destiny. We worried that we were becoming too insular and lacked a source of external expertise, but we wanted to set the agenda and ensure that the help we got made us better at achieving our aims. We wanted to improve the effectiveness of our Headteacher performance management. Louise Mallett from Challenging Education became our external adviser. She carried out an independent assessment of our school data, therefore she had background information and came prepared. However, she did not come pre-determined ideas, instead she spoke to the governor panel so that she could understand the issues we felt should direct the PM process. We found her very approachable and she guided and supported us in formulating a much more useful and effective HTPM. She made sure that our ideas became better focussed and produced a HTPM document that accurately recorded the decisions that we made. All her work was completed in a timely and professional manner.

    HTPM, January 2017

    Ian WiseIan WiseChair of Governors, The Weston Road Academy
  • Your days training certainly helped a lot . The HMI thought both the SEF & Development plan were very good.

    Remote review of SEF & SIP followed by in-house leadership training,  September '16

    Phil AdamsPhil AdamsHeadteacher, The Corbet School
  • The training was brilliant. It really made you reflect and think in depth about why, what and how you monitor and challenges you to go and have different discussions about it with relevant people in your school. I shared some ideas with governors and middle leaders. Very motivating and enthusiastic trainers.

    Monitoring for Impact training, June '17

    Liz DavisLiz DavisAssociate Headteacher
  • At Grange Primary School, we have consulted with Louise and Simon to raise the progress, attainment and enrichment provided for pupil premium pupils. We have found their advice invaluable and have changed our whole ethos towards our disadvantaged children as a result. We would highly recommend Louise and Simon Blackburn from Challenging Education.”

    Pupil Premium review, Spring term 2017

    Charlie SummersCharlie SummersHeadteacher, Grange Primary School
  • I just want to thank both you and Simon for the day. It was exactly what we asked for – challenge whilst also supportive and providing coaching where appropriate. I really appreciate the extra information and have already started putting some of it to good use to move us forward even more!

    Collaborative Review of Leadership, Oct 16

    Jonathan WilliamsJonathan WilliamsHeadteacher, Moorgate Primary Academy
  • Hi David, Thankyou for the very prompt return of our report. The review was extremely useful and we now feel focussed as to what we have to do next. We are all very appreciative of the supportive approach you have taken and the time you spent talking to us.

    Collaborative Review of Leadership, June '17

    Gill SimmGill SimmHeadteacher, Bellfield Infants, Birmingham
  • Trevor worked closely with us supporting us on our journey to good and he provided the right balance of challenge and support. He was always approachable and provided practical timely advice that helped to ensure that we remained focused on the important issues. Trevor is someone you can trust to be honest and supportive in a professional and positive way.
    Dr. Michael ManderDr. Michael ManderEdge Hill Junior School
  • I have worked with Trevor over a number of years and in a variety of educational settings.  As a School Improvement Partner, Trevor is able to provide a sound understanding of data and analysis, teaching and learning and provides a clarity of focus that has had a significant impact on raising standards at our school. Trevor’s support and challenge ensured that we were well prepared for monitoring visits from HMI.
    Julie GreenJulie GreenExecutive Headteacher, Eton Park Junior School and Horninglow Primary School
  • We have been fortunate to work with both Mr Simon Blackburn as a Commissioning Manager for School Improvement who led our core group meetings and accountability beyond and with Mr Trevor Sutcliffe, a Commissioning Manager for School Improvement, in the capacity of an LA official on a TRIAD review we were involved in. Core group meetings were challenging and supportive in a way which enabled robust self-evaluation and reflection on school improvement. They both provided the right approach which was professional and collegiate and very importantly for us, they ensured effective relationships which were built on mutual respect and trust. They coached us into how to provide accurate accountability information in an effective way and enabled consideration of next steps and expectations. They both had high levels of integrity, were astute, appropriately tenacious, inquiring and respectful and we thank them in their support in ensuring our journey back to good and beyond.

    Charlene GethinCharlene GethinExecutive Headteacher, The Forest Federation
  • Simon Blackburn worked with Senior and Middle Leaders to provide an excellent level of challenge and support during our review of teaching and learning across the Academy. The coaching and collaborative work reassured staff during the process of transformation. We quickly recognised the added value of an external critical friend and we are keen to work with Simon and his team as we grow the multi-academy trust.
    Caroline BadyalCaroline BadyalPrincipal/Chief Executive, Q3 Academy, Birmingham
  • I have worked with Trevor since I became headteacher of Glascote Academy. His approach is very professional and he has challenged, supported and encouraged our leadership team to develop in all aspects of school improvement, but specifically in our use of data to raise expectations of pupil performance. As a result, the proportion of our children making expected and more than expected progress is now significantly above the national averages in reading, writing and mathematics. We are excited about our next Ofsted inspection as we are now pushing for an outstanding judgement and we consider Trevor to be part of the team that taken us to this level.
    Maria HamblinMaria HamblinHeadteacher, Glascote Academy, Tamworth
  • As a school, with the support of Louise Mallett, we have moved quickly from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’. Throughout the experience we have felt supported, yet challenged. Professional conversations have led to Senior Management feeling confident in their ability to analyse data, scrutinize work and ask those difficult questions when holding staff to account! Working with Louise has ensured time is spent on reflection, giving opportunity to identify strengths as well as weaknesses. We look forward to working with the team as they begin their new venture, and would certainly recommend them to others.
    Helen LewisHelen LewisHeadteacher, Springcroft Primary School