School improvement team

Barnet is well known for the excellent quality of its schools and the diversity of its educational offer.  These are at the heart of Barnet’s continuing success as a desirable place where people want to live, work and study.   We are extremely proud of our excellent educational outcomes and how we ensure children and young people are equipped to meet the needs of employers.   


Barnet has 126 schools serving 57,875 pupils (May 2017).  There are 22 secondary schools, 90 primary schools, 3 all through schools, four nursery schools, five special schools and two pupil referral units.  There is also one sixth-form college and one General Further Education College.


In recent years children’s achievements in Barnet’s schools at all key stages have been among the very best in the country and a high proportion of Barnet’s young people progress on to higher education.  Over 95% of Barnet pupils are at schools which were graded good or better at their last Ofsted inspection. This is due primarily to:

  • the overall quality of schools

  • the support and partnership working that exists between schools and

  • the close partnership between schools and the Local Authority and the effective support, monitoring and challenge given


If you are a school, a Multi Academy Trust or a federation of schools looking for additional support with school improvement please contact us.


We want to make Barnet the most Family Friendly Borough by 2020. Our strategy to achieve this is to focus on developing families’ resilience, which evidence tells us is pivotal to delivering the best outcomes for children and young people.  The role that schools play in the day to day life of children and their families provides a unique opportunity to promote and embed resilience. Resilience based practice sits at the heart of improving outcomes for children and young people; an approach that is based on looking for strengths and opportunities to build on, rather than for issues or problems to treat.  
At the same time our education vision recognises the barriers facing many disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people and includes a clear commitment to accelerating their progress and closing the gap between them and their peers.


Ambition and Aims
Barnet is a growing borough and the quality of education plays a crucial part in making the borough a popular and desirable place to live.
Our strategic vision for education in Barnet is:
Resilient schools – resilient communities: We want Barnet to be the most successful place for high quality education where excellent school standards result in all children achieving their best, being safe and happy and able to progress to become successful adults.


In order to achieve this, our mission is to ensure:

  • Every child attends a good or outstanding school, as judged by Ofsted

  • The attainment and progress of children in Barnet schools is within the top 10% nationally

  • There is accelerating progress of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils in order to close the gap between them and their peers.


To do this we need:

  • Enough school places

  • All schools to be good or outstanding

  • High levels of attainment and progress in all phases

  • A relentless focus on meeting the needs of vulnerable pupils, including those with SEND, children looked after, children in need and children eligible for free school meals.

The Barnet Education Strategy (2017–2020) dictates the overall direction of travel for all Education and Skills Services. The Strategy outlines 5 overall strategic goals:


  • Strategic goal 1 - Access

To ensure there are sufficient high-quality school places to meet the needs of Barnet residents, including local specialist provision when required for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and that school organisation and governance arrangements are financially sustainable.

  • Strategic goal 2 - Inclusion

To ensure the provision of high quality local placements and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged from 3 to 25.

  • Strategic goal 3 – Achievement - School Improvement

To ensure that every school is good or outstanding.

  • Strategic goal 4 – Achievement - Educational outcomes

To improve the educational progress and outcomes for all children and young people across all phases and types of institution from early years to post-16, including progress into Higher Education, Apprenticeships or employment.

  • Strategic goal 5 – Achievement and Inclusion - Closing the gap and building resilience

To close the gap in attainment and progress between the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils and their peers by accelerating their progress and building resilience.


In order to achieve these, a number of key drivers need to be taken into account. The full list is within the Education Strategy but those relevant to School Improvement are:

  • Maintaining a core Learning Network Inspector service to monitor and challenge, and, where necessary, intervene in, maintained schools, whilst keeping in touch with Academies. If necessary, LNI support services will be offered as a traded service to schools.

  • The continuing development of quality traded services in order to support school improvement.

  • Building on the work of School Improvement Partnerships and Teaching Schools.

  • Working with schools on strategies for recruiting and retaining the best teachers and headteachers. This includes supporting governing bodies with the recruitment of new headteachers/principals and supporting headteachers with the recruitment of deputy headteachers/vice principals.

  • Focus on good leadership and governance

  • Active promotion of good behaviour and good safeguarding practices

  • A strong focus on improving attendance, especially in Primary schools

  • Collaboration between the council’s Early Years Standards Team, Cambridge Education, schools and settings to ensure high quality Early Years provision in all of our settings and effective transition.

  • Continued intervention to support young people at risk of being Not in Employment, Education or Training and work with providers to ensure suitable progression pathways including high quality technical and vocational provision.

Context: Number of Good and Outstanding Schools

At the end of October 2017 the number of good and outstanding schools at each phase was:

Nursery - All 4 of the Nursery Schools are rated Good or Outstanding
Primary - 84 of the 87 schools who have had an Ofsted Inspection are rated Good or Outstanding
Secondary/All Through – 24 out of the 25 schools who have had an Ofsted Inspection are rated Good or Outstanding
Special – All 4 of the Special Schools who have had an Ofsted Inspection are rated Good or Outstanding
PRUs – Both Pupil Referral Units are rated Good or Outstanding
Context: Achievement in Barnet Schools 2017

By the time the pupils reach the end of Key Stage 2 their achievement is in the top 10% of the country and by the time they get to the end of Key Stage 4 and 5 achievement is in the top 5% nationally.

Key Strengths

1.    Arising from the achievement data

  • Year 1 Phonics – achievement in top 10% nationally

  • End of KS2 attainment in Reading, GPS and Maths – in top 10% nationally

  • Progress between KS1 and KS2 in all subjects – significantly better than national

  • End of KS4 GCSE achievement – in top 5% nationally

  • End of KS5 A Level achievement – in top 5% nationally


2.    Other particular strengths

  • Percentage of Good and Outstanding schools above National, Inner London and Outer London

  • 96% of pupils attending a Good or Outstanding school

  • Positive and productive relationship with schools, particularly primary

  • Know our schools well. Accurate identification of vulnerable schools.

  • Strong track record of supporting Schools Causing Concern to make the necessary improvements

  • High expectations and aspirations for schools in Barnet

  • Thriving and popular school improvement traded service (BPSI)

  • Successful NQT Induction programme

  • Continued delivery of a governor training programme and associate clerking service

  • Knowledge, skills and successful experience of School Improvement Team – credibility and track record of success

  • Strong communication and teamwork between members of the team

  • Robust procedures for monitoring, challenging and supporting schools (see School Improvement strategy Part B – Monitoring, Challenge and Support including Schools Causing Concern Policy)

  • Processes and structures are dynamic in order to meet the diverse needs of schools.


If you are a school, a Multi Academy Trust or a federation of schools looking for additional support with school improvement please contact us.

For more information contact


Neil Marlow

Assistant Director, School Improvement & Traded Services

020 8359 7725