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BWT People Strategy; High quality and accessible CPD for everyone

Earlier this year, we launched our new three-year People Strategy. The People Strategy was developed with our employee survey and feedback from colleagues in mind and sets out a clear and exciting action plan with achievable outcomes and deliverable projects. It’s underpinned by our ‘ambition for all’ ethos and our dedication to ensuring that equity, diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of everything we do.

In this case study, we are going to explore the work that has been completed so far in the strand of the strategy called ‘High Quality and Accessible CPD for Everyone’. Our people are our most important asset to transform educational performance across our communities while providing opportunities for personal development. Inspiring, developing and retaining our talented team is vital to delivering our Trust mission. It is testament to each and every one of our employees and their commitment that all our schools are designated as ‘Good’ – providing students in our care with their ‘tickets for life’.

What has been done so far?

Over the last few months, we have been reviewing our existing CPD offer and the breadth and depth of what is available to our people is phenomenal. This process has also highlighted areas we need to develop further across our training landscape, including enhancing our emphasis on development of leadership and management skills, creating a coaching culture and ensuring the offer for our professional support staff is enhanced further, made more accessible and customised for our needs.

This year, for example, through the Primary Training Hub, we offered more than 170 different courses and workshops, and our in-house people team have introduced bite-size training sessions delivered locally within our schools on different aspects of managing people. These sessions, centred on a variety of management skills, are more accessible to a broader audience, providing more flexibility for both teachers and professional support staff with demanding work schedules. We have already got underway with our Leadership Academy, representing both professional teaching and professional support staff, and a separate step-into-leadership programme in partnership with Nene Trust.

Crucially, the importance of a feedback loop at all levels and in all our schools is vital and this year we are developing a plan for CPD and associated CPD budget allocation. Working through our teaching and learning leads, the people team and the school improvement team are prioritising organisation -wide and local requirements. As a team we are continuing to tailor our initiatives to directly address our current and future development needs and the emphasis is on providing practical solutions and empowering staff to navigate their own personal development so they can resolve day to day issues independently.

We have made a commitment to ensure all colleagues are able to access a minimum of 5 CPD days per year, whether through training days, mentoring, courses, coaching, online learning and a myriad of other methods including membership of professional bodies, chartered membership and external accreditation. This includes our customised BWT Masters offer and the roll-out of apprenticeships, made available to all colleagues in discussion with their manager. These cover a range of skills from digital skills and leadership to site management, finance, HR, business administration and school business management. We also launched the first iteration of our CPD toolkit which can be accessed by everyone and a new Trust-wide induction programme is also under development.

What’s coming up?

Looking ahead, the team has outlined plans for a wide range of additional initiatives, including transparent and accessible career pathways for all roles and a comprehensive learning needs analysis. The career pathways initiative aims to provide a structured development plan for all colleagues. The learning needs analysis promises to be a substantial project focusing on identifying specific learning requirements for various roles and departments.

We are fostering a coaching culture, enhancing the skills and capability of all colleagues to be able to coach and be coached. You can read more about this drive in another recent case study: We will also be launching a springboard personal development programme to further enhance the confidence and skills of our female employees to access development opportunities at BWT.

Through the Northamptonshire Teaching School Hub, recently re-designated by the DFE for a further 4 years, we will continue to deliver the ‘Golden Thread’ of teacher development, supporting teachers from initial teacher training, the early career programme, to leadership and headship, supported by the National Professional Qualifications. We will also be looking to introduce a new School Centred Initial Teacher Training pathway to attract and recruit high-potential trainees to become highly effective teachers in our family of schools.

There is so much more to be done in this area but we are proud of the progress made so far and look forward to keeping you up to date with the development of this strand and the initiatives within it as the strategy becomes further embedded.

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