In September our professional development programme is changing: here is why I’m excited by that change.
I’m really proud of our current CPD model at Kennet: in particular, I like the energy and new ideas our training days bring. Looking outwards as well as in, we stipulate that training should be research informed, but ask our own teachers to be the experts and share their thinking so that strategies are grounded in our specific context. most of all, what I enjoy about our inset days is seeing the strategies at work in classrooms afterwards and being part of the follow-up discussions and debates.
Whilst this is an excellent foundation to build on, our new vision for professional development involves moving from a system which delivers excellent information, to one which allows teachers to shape their own learning. This is an extension of the previous idea that training should be relevant to the school context; we also want it to apply to each individual’s context.
Another reason for the Enquiry Hub model is that it should build rather than drain capacity. What usually happens when training days are planned is that ideas are generated from the school development plan at the beginning of the year, then somebody goes away and selects the information and strategies to be disseminated and designs some training around this. No matter how well this information is curated, such an approach still ends up giving teachers more to think about and balance against their other priorities. Allowing everybody to pick their own enquiry questions means that their development time should be aligned with what they want to achieve in their classrooms as well as being more streamlines and focused.
Further to the above, I believe that enquiry questions from teachers will be better designed to accommodate the variation between departments and subject specialisms. I know from experience of writing several whole-school insets how difficult it is to think of everybody in the room, consider how ideas will be received, and ensure their relevance to all. Delivering literacy training to the whole school is a daunting task, but moreso when you know that a member of the Maths team (who should know better by the way) has designed and distributed to his team a game called “Literacy Buzzword Bingo”!
Possibly the most exciting thing about this project is that in September we will be collecting enquiry questions from over a hundred members of staff and we currently have no idea what these will look like. I am looking forward to reading these and getting involved in debates and questions posed by other teachers rather than by the Senior Leadership Team. Of course all of these ideas will be linked to our School Development Plan, but I am keen to select from the most successful projects and make sure that these ideas form the basis of the equivalent document next year.
Finally, a key driver for this move is the importance of trust. In essence, we are taking our School Development Plan, giving it to staff and asking “how do you think we can achieve these goals?”. The hub model recognises that each individual teacher is an educated professional with something different to bring to the table and that this difference should be celebrated and harnessed if we are to achieve excellence that is sustainable over time. In his book, “The Speed of Trust”, Stephen Covey puts forward this formula: “(S × E)T = R ([Strategy times Execution] multiplied by Trust equals Results)”. As a believer in the above, I’m excited to see what we can achieve collectively in 2018-19.
For more information about Enquiry Hubs at Kennet, get in touch with me (firstname.lastname@example.org).