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BWT's Collaborative Masters in Education Programme with the University of Leicester

“Be prepared to start an exciting journey!”

In a pioneering new partnership, Brooke Weston Trust has joined forces with the University of Leicester to offer its teachers a transformative Masters in Education programme.

Rooted in the Trust’s value of “Ambition For All”, this collaboration aims to equip educators with advanced knowledge and skills, creating a community of lifelong learners that are dedicated to enhancing teaching practices and supporting diverse student needs.

Programme overview

BWT covers 50% of the programme fees, making it a great opportunity for our teaching professionals to invest in their professional development.

Andy Burns, Director of Education at BWT explains: "Staff development has always been a priority for us. Whilst we have a host of options for leadership training, we found that there weren’t many opportunities to become a fantastic practitioner and develop a fine understanding of education and teaching, especially for our teachers with two to five years of experience.”

Partnership formation

From this, the idea of a partnership between Brooke Weston Trust and the University of Leicester was born and Dr Rachel Lawrence-Byron, Director of Professional Development at BWT began forming links with the University of Leicester, to create the partnership programme.

Rachel explains: “It has been fantastic to work with the University of Leicester. The team have found creative ways to make it possible to build the partnership quickly. The programme is high quality and it’s great to be working alongside the Course Leader, Dr Fay Baldry, who has lots of experience of the M Ed programme. The expertise that she has shared with the teachers on the programme has been invaluable.”

Working hand-in-hand with the University has proved to be a successful strategy. “It has been really effective to have Fay’s expert knowledge of the masters programme, alongside my input from the Trust perspective. It has helped us to contextualise the learning so that it relates directly to what teachers are doing in their day-to-day practice in school” she continues.

Dr. Fay Baldry elaborates: “I’m thrilled that we are working in partnership with Brooke Weston Trust to offer masters qualifications for their staff. In the current climate of rapid changes in technology and post-covid implications for schools, it is so important for the teaching profession to continually develop our understanding of pupils and their learning.”


Motivations for pursuing a Masters in Education

Naomi Entiriwaa, a Year 3 Class teacher and PSHE lead at Compass Primary Academy, began her educational journey with a clear goal: "I wanted to be able to bring more researched evidence into my teaching. I also wanted to improve my knowledge and be able to fully support an ever-changing, diverse cohort."

Similarly, Katherine Borley, an English teacher at Thomas Clarkson Academy, found herself drawn to the programme despite initial reservations: "I always said to myself that I would never go back to university, yet here we are! I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and progress along this career path. Having a Masters degree provides me with a solid foundation to excel in my subject and helps me take significant steps forward in my career progression."

Enhanced learning experience

The partnership between the two organisations has redefined the learning experience for the participants. Naomi has enjoyed the learning set-up, with small group seminars at BWT's teaching school: "Being in a small group has allowed us to have close, intense and enriching discussions. Having the wisdom and experience of Dr Baldry and Dr Lawrence-Byron in our small group is extremely valuable" she explained.

Katherine emphasising the unique atmosphere at BWT's training facility: "The environment is relaxed and creates a brilliant atmosphere for engaging in effective discussions - which I believe would be harder to achieve in a large classroom setting at university."

Networking and professional development

Networking opportunities have been a significant aspect of the programme, enabling participants to connect with leaders across BWT's primary and secondary schools. Naomi said, "It has been a superb experience. We have been able to discuss our experiences in our schools and talked about how different strategies have applied in different settings. It's interesting to see that the BWT values are evident in all its schools."

Katherine appreciated the networking, saying: "Insights about the primary schools in the trust has been eye-opening, listening to their practices and understanding the differences between how secondary and primary schools function has been really interesting."

Dr Lawrence-Byron echoed this sentiment: “It has been great to see so much collaboration happening between colleagues on the programme. We have both primary and secondary teachers on the course which has provided lots of opportunities to learn from one other.”

Insights and skills gained

Participants have gained invaluable insights and skills from Dr Rachel’s training. Naomi explained, "Dr Rachel has been great at giving us direct advice and supporting us with our research projects. She has made difficult topics in the research paradigm easier to understand. We relate things to the world as well as our teaching experiences."

Katherine highlighted a key skill gained under Dr. Lawrence-Byron's leadership: "I have become better at exercising self-discipline, taking a step back and evaluating more thoroughly. The sociological aspects of the course have helped me to make more conscious decisions."

Dr Lawrence-Byron has enjoyed delivering the course, thanks to the passion and engagement shown by her students: “It’s inspiring to see teachers giving up their Saturdays to learn more about research and develop their expertise as teachers. When the teachers talk about their projects, their passion for high-quality teaching and doing the best for their students shines through.”

Dr. Baldry highlights the benefit of integrating research and professional practice: “The teachers have explored their school context, integrating their professional expertise with research perspectives to develop their own understanding that can be applied to enrich student experience.”

Balancing work and study

Maintaining a balance between the demands of the programme and professional responsibilities has been crucial for the participants. Naomi emphasised the importance of being organised, saying, "I ensure that my planning and teaching are in the right place so that the children get the best education. I then spend one day each week researching, working and reading - to keep up with the demands of the Masters."

Katherine found ‘referencing’ a challenge at times, but she emphasised the benefits of good planning: "Adjusting to the referencing was probably the biggest challenge for me. One thing I am good at is time management, though – so when I leave school, I don’t take work home with me. This means that I have been able to dedicate time to studying."

Appling the learnings

Both Naomi and Katherine have enjoyed applying their learning to their professional roles. Naomi plans to share her research results and stay updated on new research: "I will be able to apply what I've learnt in a variety of ways. This can be through sharing my research results in staff meetings or sharing my knowledge with colleagues I work closely with."

Katherine's case study on literacy has improved her awareness of techniques and practices.


The Masters in Education programme offered through the partnership between BWT and the University of Leicester has proven to be transformative for educators like Naomi and Katherine.

The program has enhanced their teaching and educational contributions by creating a supportive environment for learning, networking and professional growth.


Interested in Joining the Next Cohort?

Joining the next cohort of MEd students within BWT offers a great chance for career advancement. As Naomi advises, "Be prepared to start an exciting journey. It can be demanding, however, I feel it has changed my outlook on teaching."

For more information about this programme, please email Dr Lawrence-Byron:


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