The headteachers of five David Ross Education Trust schools in Northamptonshire were invited to spend time in New York for a research trip last week.
The purpose of their trip was to spend time in charter schools - the equivalent of academies in the UK - speaking to and shadowing principals and teachers, attending lectures and talking to students about their experiences.
In addition to the days in the schools, the principals also spent evenings with their US counterparts to make as much use of their time together as possible.
The principals of Northampton's Malcolm Arnold Academy, Briar Hill Primary School and Kings Heath Primary attended, as did those from The Abbey and Falconer's Hill schools in Daventry. Four others from outside Northamptonshire were also selected for the trip.
Jane Cooksley, principal at Briar Hill Primary School said: “Our successful research trip to New York last week gave me and eight of my fellow principals the opportunity to learn from some of the best state schools in the world about how they have achieved outstanding education improvements often against some of the most challenging backdrops.
"We learnt a huge amount by spending time in back-to-back meetings with principals, teachers and students to understand how these schools have led outstanding improvements in teaching, learning and improved behaviours too.
"It was a hugely rewarding experience and the nine of us who attended will now be rolling out the tools and techniques we identified last week in New York to benefit our 12, 000 students across our 33 schools.”
The principals sought to understand how the New York charter schools have improved the quality of their curriculum, teaching, learning and improved behaviour and the tools and techniques they have used to achieve their impressive performance.
The aim is to apply what they have learned across the David Ross Education Trust's 33 schools and 12,000 students as part of its school improvement programme.
The majority of the trip was grant-funded by the David Ross Foundation, the trust's sponsor's charitable foundation.
As a result, the David Ross Education Trust’s school improvement budget only needed to fund the balance (c. £10k) which it considers cost-effective as it will benefit 33 of its schools in future.
One of the trust's staff members did contact the Chron to claim the trip was all-expenses-paid, however, this was confirmed by a spokesperson not to be the case, and that the same travel and expenses policy applied for this trip as it does in the UK.
The member of staff also claimed that other teachers at the school had not been told about their head's trip to America.