Guest feature by Tony Calcutt, Executive Principal, Link Academy Trust
Working in partnership with All Saints Teaching School Alliance (ASTSA) has enabled The Link Academy Trust to maintain its commitment to providing high quality training and professional development for our staff. Since September, we have been working with their Maths SLE to develop and deliver a Maths CPD programme that would have an immediate and also sustainable impact on Maths teaching across the Trust.
Following discussions with our Academy Heads we developed a programme with ASTSA that involved the SLE working with our Maths leaders to provide them with up to date subject knowledge and equip them with the coaching skills to support colleagues.
The SLE then worked with our group of Maths subject leaders over a series of sessions that enabled them to observe specialist teachers, with coaching alongside, observe and analyse lessons and work in pairs to develop their incremental coaching skills.
Over the year, their subject knowledge and understanding of the Maths mastery curriculum improved, they were more able to identify next steps for development and their confidence as Maths leaders improved, enabling them to work with the staff in their schools to coach and support colleagues, helping them to improve their own practice.
This CPD programme was regularly evaluated to check that it was meeting the desired outcomes and that it was having an impact both on our Maths leaders and also on the rest of the staff in school and regular communication with the teaching school meant we could flex the CPD to meet our needs.
Nicky Racey, a KS2 teacher at Hennock Primary said “The work with the SLE has really helped me develop a much more rounded and deeper understanding of teaching for mastery. Having the opportunity to observe lessons taught using the Shanghai style has begun to challenge aspects of our teaching culture”
“It has felt very supportive to have the SLE’s experience to oversee our leadership meetings, keep us on track and focused. Often she has set the next steps which has felt reassuring – we could easily have got diverted along the way! In terms of identifying next steps for others I feel equipped to do this.”
Alan Butt stated “This has increased my confidence as a Maths leader in my school and within academy. The regularity of input has reinforced and refined my understanding”
Maths leaders agreed that the chance to work with the Senior Management Team and alongside other Maths leaders, share ideas and develop their coaching skills felt very supportive and greatly boosted their confidence. This was a very high quality and effective professional development programme that has had an impact on Maths pedagogy throughout the MAT.
The structure of the training has helped to improve skills, knowledge and understanding of Maths mastery and effective Maths teaching. The incremental coaching sessions have boosted their confidence and the SLE’s inspirational delivery has motivated and empowered them. They have all now gone on to deliver training and coach the staff in their schools, helping to embed this approach across the Trust. It influenced personal practice rather than just providing generic advice, challenging the Maths leaders and giving them plenty to think about.
It is a model which we aim to repeat with other subjects as it had an immediate impact, is sustainable and has the potential to have a long lasting impact on teaching and learning.