The quality of teaching, pupil happiness and behaviour have all improved in federated schools, making them an ideal place for graduates looking for teaching jobs.
School federations in which schools come together to share leadership, resources and facilities have engendered a wide range of improvements, a study by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) has revealed.
Improvements were witnessed in broader, more enriching curricula, improved care, support and guidance for pupils, higher standards of teaching and happier, more well-behaved students.
Federated schools have been created in several ways with all finding improvements, the school inspector said.
Successful schools have teamed up with weaker schools, smaller schools in danger of closure have banded together and schools attempting to bridge the division between primary and secondary levels have joined forces.
Miriam Rosen, chief inspector at Ofsted said: "School federations clearly play an important role in our education sector, with effective leadership being the single most critical feature in helping generate and sustain improvement."
Ofsted visited 61 schools in 29 federations and found that pupils in federated schools were happier because of the increased opportunities available to them and the extended friendship groups the annexed schools afforded.
The sharing of expertise and experience across the schools was also found to improve the management of the federations along with the quality of teaching.
Disabled students and those with special needs also received a higher standard of education.
Behaviour in children at previously struggling schools where discipline issues were endemic had improved too, the study showed.
Although there had been initial concerns expressed by both parents and teachers, particularly regarding the dilution of standards at high-achieving schools, the report found these were unrealised.
Ofsted claimed that the increased professional development and staff retention, as well as the ability to attract top leaders to federations had all contributed to the raising of standards.
In September the Department for Education launched the new Teaching Schools programme with 100 successful schools beginning a new role as mentors for schools deemed to be failing.
Posted by Theo Foulds