College Improvement Model

NCLT College Review Process


As part of ensuring quality, standards and consistency at NCLT each college will take part in the college review process annually.  If a college has received an Ofsted inspection before the college review, in the same academic year, the college will be exempt from this process.


The college reviews are led by the Trust Director for Quality and Standards and the Trust Director for Curriculum and Education.  The Trust Directors select appropriate senior leaders from within the Trust to create the ‘review team’, which will vary for each review depending on expertise needed, experience and capacity.  The number of staff on the review team will vary for each college review, depending on college size.  Each college review takes place over a consecutive two-day period.  The Trust Directors carry out one college review each term.  In advance of the college review date the Trust Directors meet with the Principal of the college to determine selected foci of the review, in addition to Ofsted Inspection Framework.

The review

During the two day review the review team carry out a range of activities designed to gather evidence to establish the current position of the college, as directed by the Trust Directors.  These activities are likely to include learning walks, focus groups of staff, students, middle leaders, senior leader interviews, work scrutiny / folder checks, Cedar quality assurance, social time observations.  The Trust Directors hold a meeting at the end of day one with the review team to establish findings and direct lines of enquiry for day two.  At the end of day two a second meeting is held where overall strengths and areas for improvement are determined by the review team collectively.


At the end of day two the Trust Directors meet with the college Principal to give overall strengths and areas for improvement identified.  Following this a report is written by the Trust Directors and a more extensive feedback meeting is scheduled for the Principal, the Trust Directors and the CEO, where more details on findings are provided and the report is shared.

Principal action

Following the feedback meeting the Principal is required to create an action plan to address the areas for improvement highlighted by the college review.  The action plan should be submitted to the CEO for approval, timescales will be agreed in the feedback meeting.

Addressing areas for improvement

It is the Principals responsibility to share the action plan with the college senior team and wider staff and to ensure that all actions are carried out fully to the timescales identified. 

Assessing if improvements have been made

The Principal is responsible for coordinating a specified week in the half term following the college review where the senior team assess progress against the action plan.  The action plan should then be updated with progress and sent to the CEO.

CEO review

The final stage of the college review process is for the CEO with a smaller review team to approve that the areas for improvement identified in the college review have been addressed.  The CEO and selected Trust leaders will spend one day in the college, in the term following the internal SLT progress check week.  The team will carry out a condensed college review, evaluating progress made against areas for improvement identified initially.

Final stage

After the collation of evidence, the CEO will feedback findings of the one-day review to the Principal and Trust Directors, where required next steps will be agreed.

Subject Improvement

As part of the SAR process, each subject will be graded on its outcomes as part of the Quality of Education judgement.

This document outlines the available strategies to middle, senior and Trust leaders.  

Teachers and leaders will utilise key performance indicators such as ALPs, L3VA, high grades and pass rates when determining a subject grade.

  • Grade 1 = Outstanding
  • Grade 2 = Good
  • Grade 3 = Requires improvement
  • Grade 4 = Inadequate

Grade 1 and 2 subjects will require no performance interventions at Trust level.  However, HoS and senior links of ‘grade 2’ subjects should explore the menu of support below to determine if any of the options may have impact to improve subjects from good to outstanding.

Grade 3 subjects will need to have a subject performance plan in place, which must include a selection of the below improvement options.  The HoS and subject senior link will be responsible for the implementation and impact of the subject performance plan.

Grade 3 subject support interventions may include:

  • Instructional coaching
  • Teacher 121s with TfL lead
  • Paired observations
  • Joint Practice Development
  • Mentoring / buddying for staff
  • Subject Trust visit (day spent in one of the colleges where the identified subject has better outcomes, facilitated by the relevant Trust Collaboration Lead)
  • Use of Trust assessments at all assessment points
  • Compulsory internal CPD
  • External CPD
  • Use of Magpie Day
  • Formal marking moderation – reviewed by HoS at each assessment point, can be as part of the SCM process
  • Staff added to ‘watch list’
  • Increased student voice activities
  • 360
  • Increased frequency of senior link support – more frequent meetings

Grade 4 subjects will have in place a Trust subject improvement plan which will be devised collaboratively by the college Principal, subject senior link and Trust Directors.  A Trust subject improvement plan is likely to include a number of the above Grade 3 options, in addition to the Grade 4 interventions below.   The implementation and impact of the Trust subject improvement plan will be reported regularly to the Trust CEO.

Grade 4 performance interventions may include:

  • Trust subject audit – conducted by the most relevant SLT member/s in the Trust that are not based at the college of the Grade 4 subject.  Trust directors will coordinate.  Trust subject audits will include quality and standards checks via learning walks, student voice, HoS interviews, staff interviews, intervention checks.  A findings and recommendations report will be produced and shared with the HoS, senior link and Principal.
  • Trust Director QA of SCMs – Trust Director attends SCM to check quality and standards
  • Trust Director half termly catch up with relevant senior link – extra layer of accountability
  • Trust Director assigned to the subject to provide extra support and accountability
  • Trust Director attends HoS and Senior Link meeting to QA and feedback
  • Compulsory use of Trust assessments at all assessment points and compulsory Trust moderation at all assessment points
  • Informal and formal capabilities

It will be the role of the Trust Directors to ensure subject improvement plans are being implemented consistently across the Trust.

College Deep Dive process 

Each college has the discretion to decide whether deep dives will be at School or subject level. The deep dive schedule will be designed on a risk-based approach at each college, with each School/subject being subject to a deep dive at least biannually. The process will consist of a minimum of a half day deep dive completed by Senior and/or Middle leaders at the college. The School Review should consist of the following.

  • an interview with the Head of School
  • a meeting with teaching staff
  • lesson observations
  • student panels
  • learner focus groups
  • folder scrutiny
  • quality assurance of interventions

Following the review the Head of School is provided with a feedback summary which contains strengths and any areas for improvement. The Principal and senior link for the School are also provided with a copy of the feedback summary. The Head of School will add any relevant areas for improvement into the ’emerging concerns’ section of the School Quality Improvement Plan (QuIP). The senior link will ensure that progress is made during QuIP updates in year.

The aim of this process is to improve standards, prepare staff and students for external inspection and for senior leaders to identify any college wide improvement areas.

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