Our recent blogs have looked at how better training can help schools retain and train staff, especially early career teachers. More recently, we looked at ways that schools can work together to improve the quality of mentors. 

But what other economies of scale that relate to training and development can groups of schools benefit from? We’ve found at least 5 – could your school or trust benefit from any of these?  

1.Lesson banks 

As well as the obvious example of Oak National which was a project involving the Reach Academy Trust, other trusts are developing video lesson banks. These can of course be used when children are unable to attend school – but they’re also being used by teachers to see best practice. 

2.Expert teachers working across many schools

It’s more and more common for trusts to hire ‘expert teachers’ to work across trusts – one recent example being well-known educational consultant David Didau joining Ormiston Academies Trust or Christine Counsel's spell at the David Ross Education TrustThese teachers are often given the title ‘specialist leader of education (SLE)’ and can spend time to analyse the latest researchmodel classroom teaching and support mentors. There is some excellent advice for those in this role from the Teacher Development Trust.

3. Common training and development

Simply bringing schools together for CPD can multiply the opportunities and the development impact - engaging your teachers, sharing internal learning, creating new networks and much more!  For example the Learning for Life Partnership in Cheshire has only 5 schools but offers a wide range of joint CPD sessions, including an annual whole-trust session that brings all staff together and allows them to network and create links based on their phase, subject specialism or teaching interestsThere is also an ongoing programme of workshops in areas such as special educational needs where schools and teachers with greater experience and training can share their knowledge with others.

4.Research projects

Involving teachers in research ‘inspires personal growth and development in individuals and groups’ according to experts at the University of Alberta. Schools with more resources can employ their own ‘researcher in residence’ (here’s an example from Eton College or work with organisations such as The Research Schools Network which summarises and shares best practice, reducing the time for individual schools and teachers to do this.

5. Expert external coaching and mentoring

For smaller trusts, pooling CPD budgets might mean engaging experts for more time than one school could afford – allowing an expert to work with individuals as well as delivering whole school training for example. 

ONVU Learning’s solutions can help here...

  • Ongoing video-based coaching and self-reflection can deliver a real impact and also respond well to issues that arise over time – as you can see in our case studies working with external coaches at schools including The Hereford Academy and Aston University Engineering Academy. This can also support the mentoring that is being introduced as part of the Early Career Framework.
  • Classroom video can be captured and used to create a ‘video lesson bank'. This can be used to support student distance learning but is also an excellent tool for CPD – for example subject teachers can use clips to discuss how to deliver new concepts and scaffold knowledge over time.   
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The School of the Future Guide is aimed at helping school leaders and teachers make informed choices when designing the learning environments of the future using existing and upcoming technologies, as they seek to prepare children for the rest of the 21st century – the result is a more efficient and competitive school.

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