Training, Professional Development and our Teaching School Alliance and Network
The Cam Academy Trust is utterly committed to the importance of Staff Training and Professional Development. It is absolutely central to all that we seek to do. The core of our vision is to ensure ‘Excellence for All’: the very best possible education with the highest possible levels of achievement for all of the pupils in all of our schools. Without doubt, the key to this is capable and committed staff working together effectively to provide great education. It is thus up to us to ensure that all of our staff are able to continue to develop their teaching and wider skills in order to enable this.
Much of this philosophy intertwines with our work as a Teaching School, Teaching School Alliance and Teaching School Network. Every school that joins The Cam Academy Trust is automatically a member of our Teaching School Alliance, CATSA (Cambridge Area Teaching Schools Alliance). Two of our schools, Comberton Village College and Cambourne Village College, are designated Teaching Schools within that Alliance. However, every single one of our schools is automatically a member of our Teaching School Alliance and has full access to all aspects of it. We encourage every school to engage fully in this, make the most of it and contribute where sensibly possible.
We work with a wider network of Teaching School Alliances in order to be able to more and be more effective. This is really important as it is one way in which we seek to ensure that we in no way become insular in our approach as a Trust. Right from the outset, we have worked as part of CTSN (Cambridge Teaching Schools Network). In addition to CATSA, this includes the Teaching Schools Alliances of CATTSA (Cambridge All-through Teaching School Alliance) that includes the designated Teaching Schools of Swavesey Village College and Histon and Impington Junior School and the Saffron Alliance that includes the designated Teaching School of Saffron Walden County High School. In addition, we work with further local Teaching School Alliances in key areas of operation, rather than seeking to work separately or, worst of all, in unhelpful competition.
Key areas of Teaching School Alliance and Network operation
School to School support: school improvement work, primary and secondary phase, carried out by SLEs (Specialist Leaders of Education) in a range of areas from quality of teaching, behaviour management and curriculum design to leadership coaching and school operations. Colleagues with appropriate experience and skills can apply for SLE accreditation by application to CTSN (specifically via Swavesey Village College who oversee this area of operation). This will provide potential career development opportunities through outreach work, opportunities to engage with a wider range of schools and the development of interpersonal skills required through the working with different audiences. CTSN brokers SLEs for school improvement work or they may be deployed by the Trust to support colleagues in its own schools.
Leadership and Continuing Professional Development: The network provides leadership and teaching and learning CPD through a series of programmes and bespoke work. Schools belonging to The CAM Trust can access some of these courses and programmes at friends and family costs. Typically this is no cost. Many of the available courses are part of the CPD offer for the Trust which covers leadership development (Developing Middle Leaders and Developing Senior Leaders), teaching and learning (Developing Cover Supervisors, Developing Effective Teaching and Developing Outstanding Teaching). These programmes are available as cross phase or phase specific. The Trust views these as a core offer and entitlement to all of our teaching staff and fundamental to being a member of the Trust. Paul Lawrence, the Trust’s Director of Education, liaises with secondary headteachers to ensure this entitlement is taken up as does Chris Jukes, our Primary Executive Leader, with our primary headteachers.
CTSN offer a range of other CPD opportunities:
In addition. Comberton Village College, on behalf of the Trust and the Teaching School Alliance, runs TSST (developing specialist subject knowledge for non-specialists) programmes for secondary Mathematics, Physics and Spanish. These free programmes support the development of subject and pedagogic knowledge for non-specialist teachers of these subjects. There are also science specific courses, conferences and bespoke support available for all phases through our joint running of the Cambridge and Peterborough Science Learning Partnership. Jo Plumb, an SLE at Cambourne Village College, is working with this organisation as her current SLE remit.
The Trust also operates a Maths Hub at Cambourne Village College, led by Cordelia Myers and offering free courses and support for maths teaching across all phases.
There may also be opportunities for the professional development of colleagues through engagement with development delivery of some of these programmes. Both the Trust and CTSN would be open to suggestions of areas of need for CPD that are not currently covered by the offer.
Research and Development: There is support available from CTSN and the Trust for colleagues wishing to develop research into practice. Rachel Hawkes, the Trust Director of International Education and Research, leads Trust research activity and there is an annual Trust research conference to facilitate sharing of research practice and findings. CTSN are engaged in National research projects and are linked to the CamSTar research community based at the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University. CTSN also publish a research blog:
Teacher training: The CTSN SCITT operates teacher training for primary (based at Histon and Impington Junior School) and secondary phases (based at Comberton Village College). There are a range of programmes, salaried and non-salaried, full-time and flexible. Trust schools can become involved through the offer of placements either salaried, the trainee is a member of staff for a year, with a starting timetable load of 20% which will then increase or non-salaried where they are not employed by the school. Engagement with the SCITT will provide professional development opportunity for those colleagues taking on mentoring or professional tutor roles. It also offers a potential route for recruitment and “growing your own” teachers. We also work in partnership with the Cambridge Partnership, a further locally based SCITT that gives an alternative approach to teacher training appropriate to some candidates. Martin Lee, Head of RE at Comberton Village College, is the Trust’s Director of Teacher Education and takes a strategic lead of the CTSN SCITT.