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Vicky Crane

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Vicky Crane is an experienced school improvement consultant.

Areas of school improvement experience:

  • Supporting schools in their journey of improvement;

  • Leadership development, leadership conversations & training;

  • Improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils;

  • Developing teaching and learning;

  • Seeking to remove barriers to academic progress;

  • Growth mindsets & metacognition.


  • 25 years of expertise and knowledge of schools & education;

  • Leadership posts in schools and a large local authority;

  • Substantial experience in designing and delivering training;

  • Experience of headteacher performance management;

  • Over 10 years of school improvement experience;

  • Training, co-ordination, support and quality assurance of Advanced Skills Teachers and Specialist Leaders of Education, National College trainer for SLEs.

  • Leading networks across a city & quality assuring networks.

  • Chair of Governor experience for a large primary school.

Over the last twenty five years, I have undertaken diverse roles including a range of leadership and local authority advisory roles. Each job has deepened and broadened my knowledge of education and school improvement.  For several years I have worked as an independent consultant and trainer; a job I love. One of my strengths is the breadth of understanding I bring to the role.  This enables me to support colleagues in different roles, from emerging leaders to established headteachers, and to provide advice relevant to colleagues from EYFS to Year 6 and beyond. The headteachers I work with appreciate being able to tap into this broad and rich experience in the conversations we have and in the work I undertake for their school.

My greatest skill is the ability to untangle complex problems and find answers and insights that enable improvements to be made.  This can be applied to people and teams, processes, routines, systems, strategy, leadership, teaching, learning.  I work to unravel mysteries, investigate situations, work out cause and effect.  I enjoy finding relevant patterns, making connections, noticing configurations, and identifying reoccurring obstacles.  What can be made better?   I believe every problem has a solution.  This might be through leveraging research, using knowledge of best practice, tapping into experience, thinking about how others solve problems and generating innovative ideas.  I’m inspired by the idea of a brighter future and enjoy working out how change can be achieved.  Brining ideas to life is exciting and working with colleagues to transform ideas into tangible actions is satisfying.   Schools that are future driven, desire change, and want to really grapple with problems - are the schools I love to work with.

As a consultant, I spend a great deal of my time studying and researching key educational issues to a level and depth that enables me to support schools effectively on the issues they face.  The schools I work with trust my advice because they know it is based on a solid foundation.  Helping schools leverage research and turn theory into practice enables them to create lasting improvements. The courses I design are built on a firm and board base of research and good practice.

I have also had the privilege of observing hundreds of lessons and have worked alongside some excellent senior and middle leaders in assessing practice.  Every classroom I visit deepens my appreciation for the complexities of learning and helps me to join the dots between educational research, strategic leadership and classroom practice. The leaders I work with appreciate being able to engage in professional dialogue with someone who has seen practice across a wide range of schools.  They know I can help them not only assess where they are now, but importantly that I am a partner who can help bring about tangible improvements.

I also engage in my own research.  For example, I've been conducting in-depth book reviews during the summer holidays for the past few years as a part of my research into the effects of teaching and curriculum changes on learning. This has required gathering every book from every subject from multiple schools and reviewing the entire academic year of the pupils from September to July and considering how this links to curriculum documentation, class blogs and other sources of school information. A school kindly loans me space - the number of books frequently fills a hall! Being able to commit time to really exploring the work produced, taking time to unpick the pupils' journey pupils and being able to make comparisons across schools provides invaluable insights, e.g. standards across schools, typical issues and difficulties, the types of activities pupils are asked to complete, different ways pupils document their learning, understanding how the changes schools have made is altering pupils' learning.   The schools I work with know that I really seek to understand the issues and know the work I undertake with them is well informed.

I have experienced education from the view point of different stakeholders including being a Chair of Governors for a large primary school in Leeds. It was a challenging and rewarding role which provided me with a different perspective on school improvement and a deeper appreciation for the day-to-day and strategic challenges headteachers and schools as a whole face. It also enabled me to experience Ofsted inspection from a different position.  As the school moved from requires improvement to good and the capacity of the governing body increased, a new parent governor was able to take over the role.

Type of work undertaken:

A large percentage of my work is at a leadership level, e.g.

  • supporting headteachers with performance management;

  • professional dialogue and coaching for senior leaders;

  • supporting strategic planning process;

  • delivering training for DHTs, assistant headteachers, phase leaders and subject leaders; 

  • supporting leaders on issues such as closing the gap for disadvantaged pupils;

  • delivering training and supporting projects on themes such as metacognition and growth mindsets;

  • curriculum development;

  • supporting schools in developing an approach for pedagogy;

  • making plans to support an increase in teacher effectiveness;

  • analysing and supporting schools increase the impact of their SDP.

One of my passions is to enable all pupils to thrive academically.  Over the past few years I have devoted a time to researching, analysing, unpicking and studying progress in reading and writing, particularly form the view point of pupils who struggle to master these skills.  There is a great deal of research that teachers and leaders can tap into and I have been working with English leaders to design courses and publish materials that will help schools to close gaps.  If you have an English leader who is keen to work on addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils and struggling learners, please do get in touch about ways in which we can work together.  Or, if you are interested in developing the expertise of teachers in improving reading comprehension outcomes, why not enroll colleagues onto my online course.

I also undertake work for groups of schools. If you are a school that is part of a MAT, my work can supplement existing support, or I can be contracted to work for the MAT supporting a range of schools.  I have extensive experience of training colleagues to lead networks at both primary and secondary level.  I have delivered training to new SLE's on behalf of the National College and co-ordinated ASTs in my role at a large local authority.  I understand the challenges of school improvement for leaders who work at executive headteacher level and for primary directors of education.  

MATs : If you need to add school improvement partner capacity to your MAT but don't need someone full time - get in touch to discuss you needs and how I might be able to support the central team.

Working freelance allows schools to tap into expertise and support that is flexible, from single days to establishing a long term relationship.  School leaders often comment on the generosity of my support.  I seek true partnership.  I am dedicated to education development and supporting colleagues in this challenging and rewarding profession.

Please get in touch to discuss how I can be of assistance.

Connect with me via LinkedIn 

@vicky_crane (twitter)

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Vicky Crane

Qualifications and training:

  • Train the trainer : Facilitation training for SLEs, accredited to provide SLE induction training, National College for School Leadership

  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors, CIEA

  • NCSL Leading Pathways, National College for School Leadership

  • NCSL Leading from the Middle, National College for School Leadership

  • D32 & D33 Assessor Awards, Bradford College

  • BA (Hons) Degree in Education and Technology with Qualified Teacher Status (Class I), Leeds University

  • Currently undertaking the Institute of Leadership and Management Level 7 Executive Coaching and Mentoring with the West of England University.

Keeping up to date is important:

I spend a significant percentage of my time reading research and accessing key texts on education and leadership subjects.  One of my top 5 Clifton Strengths is 'learner' and this is one of the reasons I love the my job. As well as the vast amount of professional reading I undertake, and my own action research, I also regularly attend workshops, seminars and training delivered by others.  I am currently enrolled in the Institute of Leadership and Management Level 7 Executive Coaching and Mentoring course with the University of the West of England.

  • Curriculum workshops, Ofsted

  • Knowledge and the curriculum, Various speakers

  • Ofsted Inspection training (2 days),

  • Ofsted quality of teaching training (1 day),

  • SEF training (1 day)

  • Update on Ofsted inspections (various), Leeds LA and external providers

  • Moving from 'requires improvement' to 'good', Ofsted

  • Various governor training sessions (as C of G), various speakers

  • Developing coaching skills, Sue Cross

  • Early Years update training, assessments in Early Years, Early Years team

  • Holding courageous conversations, moving teaching from good to outstanding, changes to teachers pay and conditions, restorative practice, coaching and mentoring, subject leadership., Leeds LA and external providers

  • Independent thinking, Roy Leighton

  • Educating Ruby, Guy Claxton

  • SATs update training, Standards and Testing Agency

  • Research evidence in education, John Tomsett

  • Other nations' systems, Tim Oates

  • How does the brain solve reading, Dr Kathy Rastle

  • Research evidence for busy teachers, Alex Quigley

  • Creative writing, Glynis Charlton

  • Creative writing, Claire Fisher

  • ResearchED, various sessions and days

  • Educational research, feedback and variety of topics, Dylan Wiliam

  • A wide variety of lecturers from renowned educational researchers.

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