NTS has focused on teaching and learning as a means of raising standards for more than two decades. As a result, good is the minimum expected standard and there is much outstanding practice in evidence. Staff are eager to improve from “good” to “outstanding” or from “outstanding” to “even more outstanding”! It is not surprising therefore that effecting these improvements can only be about fine tuning.

The creation of the Professional Development Department was an attempt to tackle the issue in a different but systematic way.

Staff in the department all have specific responsibilities, (NQTs, students, departmental, individual staff support, coaching training) but the heart of their task is to ensure that the quality of teaching and learning gets ever better. By implication this requires all staff to be actively involved in their professional development.

In the past the department has taken the lead on:

  • streaming live lessons and web chats to teacher training institutes
  • moving out of ‘the comfort zone’
  • “tweaking ” aspects of practice
  • coaching triangles
  • videoing lessons to help reflection
  • the ‘complete teacher’, the ‘complete tutor’ and the ‘complete learner’
  • exploring the learning of the least and most able
  • pursuing MA courses through the Universities of Cumbria, Newcastle and Buckingham
  • offering a range of “opt-in” INSET sessions on Thursday evenings
  • holding whole school INSET on teaching Outstanding Lessons
  • writing of the Cumbrian Good to Outstanding Programme
  • hosting development opportunities for colleagues in other schools as part of our ‘outreach’
  • one to one professional support
  • action research in teaching and learning interventions