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Investing in training reaps rewards

28th September 2020

This week sees the first Trust wide CPD Mondays and Network Wednesdays of the academic year. These events occur half termly and see a wide range of training opportunities for staff. This Monday, opportunities range from senior and middle leadership development, teaching reading effectively and supporting children’s mental health during covid, to name but a few opportunities.

In addition to this we facilitate a range of network events where colleagues from different schools, but often in similar roles, can come together and share best practice, resources and discuss how to address similar challenges collaboratively. We are pleased to respond to Headteacher’s requests to move these network events to Wednesdays this year, so as to not clash with our training opportunities.

A new network that particularly excites us across both Trusts is the secondary Learning & Teaching collaboration. Led by our Secondary Education Director, Graham Tuck, Learning and Teaching lead in the four secondary schools. These colleagues are all at Assistant or Deputy Headteacher level and represent the powerhouse of teaching improvements across both Trusts. This year, apart from sharing successful remote learning developments, these colleagues will be focusing on how to raise learning standards in the classroom, effective staff development strategies and expectations and the role of specialist teachers and lead practitioners. Our strategic school improvement drive is focused on three areas here:

  • Effective peer review
  • Developing a Trust-wide learning policy
  • Building a lead practitioner teaching team to support curriculum developments in EBacc and primary core and foundation subjects

Kathryn Krynicki, our Primary Education Director is coordinating this work from a Primary perspective alongside our headteachers and our primary lead practitioners, Rachel Hughlock and Hannah Cover. Our new primary deputy/assistant headteacher network runs at Guildford Grove, and our ‘Good to Great’ teaching development programmes at Stoughton (KS1) and Boxgrove (KS2) will further support our drive to improve classroom practice across the Trust this year. We are excited about what we can achieve together.

A further aspect of our collaborative work takes place this week with our headteachers' half-termly HR briefing. This is an opportunity for headteachers and school business managers to ask for advice regarding HR concerns and to discuss strategy with a Babcock HR manager. This has proved useful to colleagues in the past and we are pleased to continue offering this service to Athena schools this year.

One thing is certain, that as a Trust we believe in collaboration, training and focusing all our efforts on improving classroom practice. If we are not focused on improving classroom experience for the children, we are focused on the wrong thing. We will continue to support headteachers, teachers and associate staff on making a difference to children. After all, that is why we are here.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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