Training and staff development
One of the academy’s most successful areas in recent years has been the continuing professional development of all members of the school community. This will continue to be an area that Burlington Danes Academy is fully committed to refining. We believe that a key means of improving standards of teaching and learning is through developing the skills and knowledge of all our staff, helping to enable both them and their students to live life to its fullest potential. This is the key driver in the academy’s mission to prepare students to be the ones that make the world a better place. The information below provides a summary of how we go about this:
Newly Qualified Teachers
The school has a strong and well-established programme for inducting NQTs, including an orientation process at the end of the summer term and additional inset day in September. Strong departmental support, regular coaching meetings and training sessions, a team of experienced mentors, a full programme of observations and feedback are all key features of our commitment to supporting trainee teachers. Wherever possible, NQTs are employed at the academy from July, allowing NQTs a period of induction into their department and academy life.
BDA has had a long and successful partnership with Teach First and, to this day, continues to develop it. In recent years we have worked closely to support these trainees to go on to become outstanding teachers. These participants have joined the academy in almost every department from music and MFL to English, maths and humanities. Many of these participants have gone on to leadership roles within the academy.
Ark Teacher Training (ATT/SCITT)
As part of the Ark network, BDA benefits from welcoming many trainees through the network’s bespoke training programme. Ofsted has recently described it as “exceptionally tailored coaching and training… of the very highest standard”. Over the last few years trainees have joined the academy in maths, English, MFL and humanities. The training programme is centred on Paul Bambrick Santoyo’s Get Better Faster model. This ensures that each week all trainees meet for two hours to co-plan lessons and craft action steps with one of the academy’s team of excellent subject mentors or coaches. Weekly CPD on Monday afternoons is a key lever in driving the success of these members of staff. Find out more about the ATT programme here.
In September 2017, BDA embarked on a partnership with Now Teach; an organisation committed to bringing leaders from the public and private sector into the classroom to share their wealth of experience with the next generation. Our first trainee joined us in September 2017 in the maths department, and since then we have welcomed three more; one of whom went on to win Now Teach trainee of the year in 2019. We look forward to continuing this partnership long into the future.
Weekly CPD programme
Each Monday evening, a 30-45 minute training session is available for all first year trainees and new-to-network members of staff. These sessions cover a range of topics designed to support and develop all members of staff as effective practitioners. Running alongside this programme is the training led by Heads of Departments to ensure that all teachers at BDA are subject and curriculum experts.
Observation and feedback
The school strongly believes that this is key area in enabling staff to improve on their own practice. Observations take place in many different forms at BDA: by Subject Leaders, NQT Mentors, Senior Leaders, peers, visitors to the school and colleagues in the wider Ark network. We also have a system of learning walks monitored by HoDs/HoFs that provides us with an overview of learning and teaching practice in the school. Peer observations are a part of the NQT/New Staff induction programme and are encouraged throughout the year for all members of staff.
BDA has a full and varied programme of Inset days and twilight evenings over the course of the academic year. Recent twilight sessions have focussed on issues such as clear classroom routines, working memory and cognitive load. At BDA it is our firm belief that all teachers, no matter their role, have a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer and share with our staff. As such, these sessions are led by a wide range of teachers from all departments.
Having been a member of the Ark network for over 10 years, BDA continues to benefit from the wealth of training, knowledge and experience at our fingertips. At termly hub-days, departments from across the network come together to discuss topics as varied assessment, pedagogy, subject knowledge and developments in the curriculum.
The school has an outstanding record in encouraging and enabling staff to attend training outside of the institution itself, believing that this helps us to constantly improve our own practice. Within the limitations created by cover requirements and funding, the school believes that external courses and meetings help to continually bring in fresh ideas to the school.
Further degrees and qualifications
If you would like to visit BDA or are interested in training here, or a career in teaching, please email John Rawkins.