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. The Senior Leadership Team 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 reach their full potential. This is the key driver in the academy’s mission to prepare students for a university and/or career of their choice. The following provides a brief summary of how we go about this:
- Initial Teacher Training – BDA has a strong partnership with the Institute of Education and Goldsmiths, helping to develop cohorts of student teachers throughout the year, a number of whom go on to develop successful careers at the academy. Our commitment to ITT extends to prospective teachers from the local community, and some ex-pupils who visit the school to observe lessons before undertaking their own courses. Many of these ex-pupils take on learning support roles at the academy before taking the next step on their teaching career path. As an academy, we also feel that the experience of working with trainees helps our staff reflect and improve on their own practice in the classroom. In addition, the school often has members of staff undertaking the SCITT route into teaching (see below), in MFL, science, English and humanities recently.
- 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.
- TeachFirst – BDA has had a long and successful partnership with TeachFirst and, to this day, continues to develop it. Five new participants joined the school in 2015, five in 2016 and four in 2017. We look forward to welcoming many more in the years to come. 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 the Leverage Leadership 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 Thursday afternoons is a key lever in driving the success of these members of staff. Find out more about the ATT programme here.
- Now Teach – As of September 2017, BDA has 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 we look forward to welcoming another to the English faculty in 2018.
- Weekly CPD programme – Each Monday evening, a 45-60 minute training session is available for all first year trainees. Sessions are open to all staff although directed to trainees and new members of staff. These sessions cover a range of topics designed to support and develop all members of staff as effective practitioners. A calendar of events is released at the beginning of every term.
- 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.
- INSET – 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.
- Hub-days- 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.
- External training – 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 – The school has an excellent record of funding/partially funding applications for further courses including the NPQML, NPQSL, NPQH, Future Leaders and the Teaching Leaders programmes.
Laura Stone is the Vice Principal responsible for teaching and learning.
John Rawkins is the Induction Coordinator for trainees and NQTs at the academy.