CPD First Half Term Session One

An Extraordinary Half Term, with Exceptional Colleagues

Nicola Widnall – Vice Principal for the White Rose Academies Trust

Beginner Teacher Programme

Our Beginner Teacher Programme, helmed by Lead Mentor Louise Wisson has got off to a cracking start. We have welcomed all Initial Trainee Teachers, Newly Qualified Teachers and Recently Qualified Teachers back from an extended summer with a comprehensive offer of training and informal check ins. Beginner Teacher colleagues from the wider Luminate Education Group have also had the opportunity to access all virtual CPD and it has been just wonderful to start to strengthen those cross-group relationships; something we are determined to build upon as we progress through the academic year.

Our first session in September served as an excellent introduction to our Beginner Teacher Programme. We were delighted to hear one of our RQTs discuss his top tips for surviving the first year of a teaching career and we thank Charlie Glossop for his really, practical, helpful and warm contribution.

This month we saw experts from across the Trust outline their top tips for effective use of the behaviour management policy and how to really forge those all-important relationships with our young people. Thank you to all involved in the panel from across the three academies and to all NQTs who posed questions which sparked such interesting and useful discussion. We have no doubt that this session will have directly impacted our young people and we thank you for attending and engaging so beautifully.

Leadership Development CPD

We have been delighted with the response to our Leadership CPD sessions so far and have enjoyed the important dialogue which has followed each event. We thank Helen Morgan for helping us with such a comprehensive offer during this challenging half term and look forward to exploring themes such as Academy Finances and how to overcome Imposter Syndrome in the run up to Christmas.

We have been thrilled to see so many attendees at the end of such busy days. We have learnt so many lessons already and we hotly anticipate the second half term’s leadership offer which continues to cover a wide range of skills and scenarios and really explores the full scope of WRAT academy leadership and organisational culture.


Aspiring Leaders

Having spent the summer training as a certified ‘True Colors Leadership Facilitator,’ Katie Broadbent returns to take the helm of the Aspiring Leaders CPD Strand. Our Aspiring Leaders series progresses with each session throughout the year and serves to explore different leadership projects to pilot and show impact alongside discovering individual leadership ‘colours’ so that strengths are harnessed and built upon. Now that our 20/21 Aspiring Leaders cohort has been confirmed, we are very much looking forward to our launch session later this month.

Core Curriculum Subject and Staff Development

It has been an exciting start for our suite of new Core Curriculum Subject and Staff Development leads. Jasmine Clarke, Miranda Lala and Mwape Katebe have all jumped straight into their roles with enthusiasm and have made great headway in strengthening cross-Group relationships and mapping our subject specific CPD opportunities.

Jasmine’s English sessions so far have focused on strategies and resources for the teaching of specific examination questions and have been very warmly received indeed. Colleagues from across the Trust have appreciated preliminary sessions to look at strategies used by our in-house examiners so as to drive improvement in particular aspects of the course. Jasmine has also shared a number of Literacy video recordings which outline the importance of reading and strong vocabulary, address specific grammar nemeses and explore effective development of classroom oracy.

Mwape has enjoyed exploring Science topic audits across the WRAT teams and has reached out to the wider Luminate Education Group to forge links which can inform planning for CPD sessions, further enhance our STEM offer and look to develop transition in Science both at Primary and Post-16 level.

Miranda Lala, our new lead for Mathematics has also had an excellent start to the year and has the below to say about her first half term in post:

It is with great pleasure that I am able to take on the role of WRAT Core Curriculum Subject and Staff Development Lead for Maths this academic year. I am currently Curriculum Leader for Maths at Leeds East, and it is this role that has inspired me to seek to develop our maths teams across the White Rose Academies Trust and wider Luminate Group. Our trust is filled with a rich diversity of practitioners at varying stages of their career, and it is my belief that we must celebrate and utilise individual strengths, whilst implementing bespoke programmes of development for all staff.

This academic year will present challenges we have not encountered before in our teaching careers, and the WRAT Maths continued professional development schedule will reflect this. We will focus on a combination of strategies to overcome challenges we are facing in the current climate and some key priorities for each educational institution.

We will be hosting our first WRAT Maths CPD evening on the 18th November. Elliott Wade (Maths Curriculum Leader at LCA) will be leading a session around targeting key topics at grades 4 and 5 to maximise exam success, Jonny Hall (Lead Practitioner at LCA) will be delving into the world of manipulatives and how we can continue to utilise these powerful resources digitally, and I will lead on a session exploring assessment for learning and feedback methods in the current world where we are unable to look closely at students’ books. We look forward to seeing you there!  


Vulnerable Groups and Co-Professional CPD

Stef Precious has returned this September to continue her role as Vulnerable Groups and Co-Professional Lead. In doing so she has developed an even more comprehensive offer of sessions to support our most vulnerable learners in addition to ensuring our wonderful co-professional colleagues have access to a full and varied CPD entitlement.

Sessions so far have shared expertise from our Alternative Provision Lead Lee Garner as he looks to secure an inclusive and high-quality education for all learners and explored the use of phonics to fill gaps in literacy. We look forward to next half term’s menu which will include an introduction to working successfully with external agencies and a delve into restorative practice approaches.

Stef continues with her fervent determination to equip our staff so that they may support the students to help them to make the most of their opportunities, and where needed make different choices that support better outcomes. We are thankful for her relentless passion to improve the life chances of our young people and look forward to hearing how the year progresses in her charge.


Trust TLA Links

Last but by no means least, our new Trust TLA (Teaching, Learning and Assessment) Links Rebecca Ashraf, Michelle Minton and Alex Halpin have embraced their new roles and are working really well together as we look to share an increased menu of professional learning opportunities from both our home-grown experts and the vast amount of CPD which is currently accessible online. Thanks to Michelle Minton for coordinating the inaugural Trust-wide Top TLA Tips communication aimed to share great practice whilst supporting each other through this most challenging of terms.

All three TLA links are enjoying their learning around HPL as they prepare to assist with this Trust-wide adventure and we look forward to their CPD sessions later this term on teacher explanation and a book review of ‘The Writing Revolution’ by Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler.

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The White Rose Academies Trust is a member of Luminate Education Group

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