Purpose and Definition

The Anthony Gell Cluster of Schools (COGS) is a group of schools working in a formal collaborative partnership to serve the Derbyshire Dales area of Derbyshire.

These schools are:

Anthony Gell School

Bonsall CE Primary School

Brassington Primary School

Carsington and Hopton CE School*

Kirk Ireton CE Primary School*

Crich Carr CE Primary School

Cromford CE Primary School

Middleton Community Primary School

Turnditch CE Primary School***

Wirksworth CE Infant School**

Wirksworth Infant School**

Wirksworth Junior School

*The Village Federation

**Wirksworth Federation of Infant Schools

***Academy as Part of the Derby Diocese Mat

This partnership exists to improve educational outcomes for the young people of the area. Its formation builds on a history of successful, informal collaborative working between the schools concerned.

This agreement transfers no powers away from the governing body of any of the schools concerned, nor will it alter any individual school’s ethos.

This collaboration agreement is made in the first instance for one year, commencing on 27th May 2016. The agreement will be reviewed by the Strategic Board at the start of each academic year.


The partnership’s overarching aim is:

“To improve educational outcomes for the students of all of the schools concerned”

The partnership aims to achieve this aim by:

  • Using close collaboration between the schools to provide a wider range of educational opportunities to students.
  • Improving transition arrangements between schools by closer joint working and recognition of the inclusive 4-18 provision across the cluster
  • Improving outcomes for disadvantaged students, for example those eligible for the pupil premium and those with special educational needs, by early identification and cross phase support and by sharing SENCO and Family Support expertise
  • Improving the support and training opportunities available to staff at all levels, and to governors by networking and joint training.
  • Taking advantages of economies of scale that may be available to such a group of schools. 

Governance and Management

The schools agree to set up a Strategic Board.

The Strategic Board will consist of the Head teacher and one nominated governor from each school, ensuring an appropriate range of skills are represented by governors.

The Strategic Board will, annually, elect one of its members as Chair and will meet at least twice a year.

At the first meeting a protocol for working arrangements will be agreed. This protocol will be reviewed annually. This protocol will include matters such as confidentiality and communication.

The functions of the Strategic Board are:

  • To set overall aims and targets for the group and to monitor progress against them.
  • To secure an appropriate development plan and to monitor progress against it.
  • To support meetings of the Headteachers’ Group and working groups.
  • To make recommendations for action to the governing bodies of the individual schools.

Powers of the Strategic Board

The Strategic Board has no legal powers; any decision requiring approval at governor level would need to be taken back for approval to the boards of governors of the individual schools.

Any approach from another school wishing to join the partnership will be discussed at the next meeting of the Strategic Board.

Shared Staff

It is not possible for the group of schools to employ staff directly.

It is possible to make an agreement to share a member of staff employed by one school with the others in the group in return for reimbursement of costs (this is the arrangement that already operates successfully to maintain SSCo provision).

Administrative Support

A Clerk to the Strategic Board was appointed, following a recruitment process in December 2016 and subject to the approach in the paragraph above, to provide joint administrative support for the group of schools. This is on the basis of additional hours for an employee already employed by Wirksworth Federation of Infant Schools.

The Clerk to the Strategic Board:

  • Ensures that dates for all meetings and joint events are circulated
  • Sends out invitations to meetings and joint events
  • Compiles and sends out agendas for meetings
  • Ensures that minutes are produced distributed and filed for all meetings.

Headteacher Group

The Headteacher Group will consist of the head teacher of each of the schools concerned, and will meet six times per year. One of these meetings will include governors and be the second Strategic Board meeting.

The Headteacher Group will be responsible for the day to day leadership of the partnership. The Headteacher Group will be chaired by Headteachers in rotation.

Working Groups

Working Groups will be set up in response to a particular issue, or to meet the requirements of specific objectives detailed in the development plan.

Each working group will be chaired by one of the Head teachers and may have a membership of Headteachers or Headteachers and Governors as appropriate. Meetings will take place in line with the agreed calendar.

Appendix 1

Examples of Practical Applications of Collaboration for discussion. Ideas can be added at future meetings. It would be useful to conduct an audit of strengths in the Cluster – a version of the Local Offer.

  • Designated Subject Leaders for the Cluster with some funded time to collate and disseminate information across cluster (e.g. recent exemplification material)
  • Some shared lessons on a weekly basis for a set duration e.g. able Y6 maths or struggling Y2 writers
  • Collaborative History week based at Cromford
  • Cluster parliament made up of two pupils from each school
  • Shared diary dates
  • Mutual support for Admin officers (as well as teaching staff) and possibly emergency cover
  • New headteacher mentoring
  • Shared supply bank of part time teachers
  • Cluster policies
  • Shared discussion and agreement regarding procurement of services