Education without exception doesn’t just happen.
Here’s how School Improvement supports schools in making it happen.

Our Team is made up of central staff and seconded specialists from our different schools. This not only makes sure we have the strongest practitioners advising others but it also develops the seconded staff by allowing them to apply what they know to different contexts, making them even more effective in their home schools. Strong practice exists in every single school, wherever it is on its improvement journey. School Improvement identifies this practice and facilitates collaboration, setting up meetings of leaders responsible for different areas of school life.

No one makes good decisions without first knowing the facts. We start with gaining a detailed picture of each trust school. Everyone benefits from seeing their school through a second pair of eyes. Through our rigorous reviews, we gather a forensic knowledge of assessment, attendance, behaviour, careers, continuing professional development, curriculum, mental health, safeguarding, reading, SEND, workload and wellbeing, personal development and much more.

The School Improvement Team supports schools with short term or long term projects, developing particular aspects alongside senior leaders, sourcing support from other trust schools and, where needed, from schools outside the trust. No matter how effective our practice already is, we can all benefit from a second pair of eyes.

Our experienced headteachers work with less experienced heads, coaching them so they can not merely manage the demands of what can sometimes be a lonely job, but thrive in the role.

The Trust Board are kept informed about everything the School Improvement Team does. They receive detailed reports on each school, providing appropriate challenge so we keep driving for Education Without Exception. Our Parent Advisory Boards also feed into the Trust Board. It’s important to consider the views of all stakeholders and the input of our parents and carers is invaluable in shaping decision-making.

Across the Team, we have a lot of experience of Ofsted, including a practising Ofsted inspector. While we never do things specifically for Ofsted, it’s important for us to make sure we all know what inspectors are looking for so we can give them a true picture of what we’re about when they visit.

Education Without Exception doesn’t just happen. It means everyone working together to make it happen.

How Can We Support You?

The Matrix School Improvement Team is regularly called upon by other trusts to forensically diagnose their improvement needs and provide follow-up support. We have taken a leading role in developing the Department for Education’s Workload Reduction toolkit, from 2015 to the present day, and have been heavily involved in the DfE School Improvement Work. Members of our school improvement team are recognised experts in their fields. Whatever your school improvement needs, we can tailor our support to you. Below are some of the packages which are most frequently requested, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.

Mental Health

Mental health is an urgent priority for all schools but it can be difficult to prioritise where to start or where to go next. Our review will be centred around a thorough audit of existing provision and helping you identify the actions you might take next, all the while being sensitive to context.

Equality and Diversity

Every school is at a different stage of their journey when it comes to addressing equality and diversity and moving to the next stage requires nuanced specialist insight. Several of our team are widely published authors in this field. Whether you are setting out on your journey by tackling different kinds of bullying or refining what you already do by creating a curriculum which is truly celebratory of different characteristics, we can support you with a bespoke package, for the short or long term.

This can include some or all of: a review into the way bullying is reported, tracked and dealt with; a review of the existing curriculum and how it promotes respect and tolerance; support with developing a more diverse curriculum, e.g. making sure it reflects the experiences of minority ethnic and LGBTQ+ people; advising on how to work with parents; delivering staff training on how to broach potentially sensitive topics in lesson; action planning with senior leaders; support with monitoring and evaluating impact of what you are putting in place.

Quality Assurance

An effective approach to quality assurance can drive a school’s improvement and develop all teachers so they are the best they can be. An ineffective approach can do the opposite, driving down standards to a lowest common denominator, creating excessive workload for everybody and hampering student outcomes. In many cases, quality assurance does not pick up issues quickly enough, leading to nasty surprises at the end of the academic year. With our review of quality assurance, we will work with you to identify what’s working and what you could change to get the best out of everyone.

Curriculum Review

Whether you would just value some external validation or you are seeking support with improving an underperforming curriculum area, we will conduct a rigorous review, triangulating information from all sources, including staff voice, pupil work interviews and lesson visits. Depending on the needs of the curriculum area and school we will look closely at one or more of intent, implementation (teaching and learning) and impact. The itinerary will be tailored around you, depending on your needs. We will use some or all of the following as the framework for our review: the latest thinking related to this curriculum area, guides published by subject associations; Ofsted’s framework; Ofsted’s recent research summaries.

Workload & Wellbeing

However much you have already done to address workload and wellbeing, there are always things which can be further streamlined. Having made many notable contributions to the Department for Education’s Teacher Workload Reduction Toolkit, we have the expertise to help you identify where you can make further reductions. We can also support you in making plans for improving workload and wellbeing and putting them into action.


However effective your current SEND provision is, we can help you streamline your provision so your SEND pupils have the best possible experience of school and achieve the best outcomes. Our review will of course address the legal requirements around SEND, making sure you are compliant, but goes well beyond this, helping you create a culture in which SEND is everyone’s responsibility.

Pupil Premium

In this financial climate, more efficient use of resources is paramount. Drawing on the most up-to-date guidance and research, our experienced team can support you to improve your pupil premium strategy and review the impact on the achievement of the most disadvantaged pupils of current strategies and approaches to spending the funding.


Effective safeguarding in schools is a non negotiable: it is the ‘golden thread’ that runs through every effective school. Our team can not only help review and advise on the robustness of your policies and practices but also support you towards embedding a culture of safeguarding within your school.