We’re interested in purchasing the Charter Gold package, what do we do?
You can contact Eva Ogden and she will provide you with further details and answer any questions you may have. We are able to arrange a free consultation to discuss the options available and provide a general overview of the Charter and the process.
What are the benefits of becoming a Charter School, College or Setting?
It will help you:
- Build stronger relationships with parents, carers, children and young people
- Reduce parental concerns and complaints
- Identify good practice and how to make positive changes
- Provide recognised effective parent partnership for Ofsted
- Improve well-being and outcomes
Who can be the Charter Champion?
Any member of staff able to influence change at a strategic and practical level can be the Charter Champion, and it often helps to have more than one to enable representation of people with different roles, including parents and/or young people. The Charter Champion will need time and opportunity to undertake discrete elements of work so you should consider how much time will be needed for the role.
Is the Charter Champion solely responsible for the success of the Charter?
The Charter Champion‘s role is to have an overview of the Charter process and elements of work needed to achieve Charter Gold. It is essential that it is seen as a whole organisation project and every member of staff should see the importance of their own contribution. It is a good idea to have the Charter as a standard agenda item for staff and governor (or equivalent) meetings. This should ensure that everyone is informed about and able to contribute to developments along your Charter journey.
What support is offered to Charter Champions along their Charter journey?
The Charter User group meets termly and provides a useful forum for those schools, colleges and settings going through the Charter process and those that have already achieved Charter Gold. It enables the sharing of good practice as well as mutual support so Charter Champions are encouraged to attend. It also provides the Charter Team with the opportunity to gather feedback about how any aspects of the process might be improved.
Do we have to do anything for the Gathering Feedback Day visit?
Your Charter Implementation Team Lead will write and tell you specifically what is needed on the day. Generally, a room will be needed where the Team can meet together to start to compile their information, carry out focus groups with parents and children or young people, de-brief and give verbal feedback at the end of the day. Permissions from parents need to be sought prior to children or young people attending focus groups. It is important to let parents know what will be happening and invite representation.
A system will need to be devised to ensure parents and children or young people selected are representative of the range of children and young people accessing your school, college or setting. It is good practice to give other parents and children or young people opportunities to feed back as well and a simple survey template is available from the Team.
The Implementation Team also like to tour the school, college or setting and usually two or more children or young people conduct the tour, showing the Team aspects they feel are important. The focus groups and tour guides will need to be organised before the day. Timings will be worked out in collaboration with the Charter Implementation Team.
Who shall we choose for the parent and carers, and children and young people sessions?
The aim of the focus group is to gather as much information as possible from parents and carers to optimise the Charter process. A group with a wide variety of experience representing a range of children or young people in terms of age, gender, need and ability would fulfil this need well, for example by including parents of children or young people who are new to the school, college or setting, parents who have had a number of children going through, parents who work, parents of children of different ethnic backgrounds, ages and genders and parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Children or young people:
We normally ask for two children or young people from each year group, taking account of their confidence and ability to contribute in a group situation. Again, the group needs to reflect whole school, college or setting experience so it should include children or young people with special educational needs and disabilities, new children or young people, of different ethnic backgrounds, ages and gender. If the children are younger the Charter Lead may ask to work with smaller groups of children and modify the activity accordingly.
What do we do after we receive the report from the Gathering Feedback Day?
The report will highlight what the school, college or setting is doing well and areas that could be even better. It will inform next steps or action planning. Some areas for development might involve a quick fix because it is often small changes that can make the biggest difference, while others will form the basis of a longer term project. Devising an development plan identifying actions needed, by when and by whom, will give the Charter Champion and the Implementation Team a clear picture of what is needed to complete the process. This might also contribute to the organisation’s improvement plan.
Do we have to address everything on the feedback report?
From our experience many issues raised by parents, carers and children or young people are quick fixes involving little time and money. However, you might choose to identify three areas of work you wish to develop for Gold Accreditation, which may or may not involve longer term projects.
How do we include parents and carers in the process?
Some schools, colleges and settings may wish to set up a Parent’s Forum which meets regularly, chaired by the Charter Champion, to which there is an open invitation. The development plan can form part of the agenda enabling parents to contribute their ideas. The Forum also creates an opportunity for ongoing dialogue about what is working well and what could be improved.
For parents’ and carers’ unable to attend, schools, colleges and settings may have suggestion boxes in reception areas, blogs on the website or posting boxes available at parents’ evenings and informal events such as coffee mornings. These are also opportunities to capture feedback about particular issues more informally through dialogue and quick surveys. It is a good idea to include on newsletters details about the Forum and a ‘You suggested …. So we have done…’ section which shows that parents and carers’ suggestions are taken seriously.
How do we include children and young people in the process?
Schools, colleges and settings often have a School Council or equivalent which can work well with primary age children. Larger organisations like secondary schools and colleges may need to investigate how to ensure the Council represents the voice of the all the young people in their organisation. Ensuring that open dialogue is encouraged generally, and that there are a range of ways feedback is captured, is good practice.
Suggestion boxes, having forums representing different aspects of school, college and setting life, time being allocated in class to discussion and the opportunity to express views to trusted adults have proved invaluable ways of enabling a deeper insight from the child or young person’s perspective.
When do we get consultation visits and what do they involve?
Your Charter Lead will discuss the detail of this with you. The consultation visits are informal meetings to discuss how you are doing in terms of embedding and making sustainable your Best Charter Practice and areas you have decided to develop further. The visits also guide us in deciding with you when you are likely to be ready for a full Gold Accreditation visit. Helping you prepare for Accreditation is the focus for your second consultation visit.
A summary report of the discussion is completed following each consultation and shared with the Charter Champion.
How do we make a portfolio of evidence for the final Gold Accreditation day?
The Implementation Team will support you throughout the Charter Gold Accreditation process. We have examples of portfolios created by other schools and settings but how you choose to present yours can be flexible and unique. Anything relevant to your Charter journey might be included, for example photographs, letters, completed surveys, feedback forms from review meetings, interviews and newsletters. It is important to stress that achieving Charter Gold should be a process involving the whole organisation so the provision of evidence is an opportunity for everyone to illustrate their good practice.
The Team will look for evidence of Best Practice under each of the four Charter principles so this is a good way to organise the portfolio. Use of the Charter Promise interactive tool is advised as a way of demonstrating your journey through the development plan but your portfolio can be creative and also include a range of other evidence that will bring your Charter practice to life. A hard copy is an ideal way to showcase what you are doing with parents, carers, children and young people.
There should be some indication within the portfolio of how the Charter work is sustainable within your school, college or setting, embedded within systems, and what you are doing to include and involve your whole school community. This includes harder to reach parents, carers and children and young people.
Your Portfolio will be needed by the Team about four weeks prior to the Gold Accreditation visit, and you will also be asked to choose three or four examples of your Best Charter Practice.
What happens during the Gold Accreditation process?