We thought it might be interesting for our readers to read about the impact that National Professional Qualifications are having in one of our Cumbrian Schools. We have had another strong round of applications for our cohort starting in February.
The Impact of NPQs at Cartmel Priory CE School
By Sarah Beestone,
We currently have nine members of staff involved in the NPQ programmes being offered by One Cumbria. We are a small school with 23 members of teaching staff, both full time and part time and including our SLT. For us it would be impossible to offer these programmes when they are no longer fully funded so it has been part of our strategy to actively encourage our staff to embark on this journey. We currently have representation on all of the NPQs relevant to secondary apart from the NPQH and two members of our support staff, non-teaching Heads of Year, involved in NPQLBC. At face value it has offered free, high quality professional development which has impacted the school purely because of our size. Promotional opportunities within our setting are difficult. We do not necessarily have the “layers of leadership” prevalent in a much larger school and so there remains a delicate balance between retaining good staff and offering them opportunity. We work hard to remain outward facing. A lot of our staff are sole teachers of their subject and so we actively strive to work collaboratively and to actively network with other schools, with other secondaries as part of the South Lakes Federation and primaries, within the Cartmel Peninsula family of schools. It is vital that the size of our school does not impact on our ability to remain at the forefront of educational development and to be proactive in cascading our learning within our local networks. The impact of the NPQ programme on our school is starting to be far reaching. It has strengthened the professional networking opportunities for the staff working within the programmes. Staff have previously articulated a sense of “unimportance” in a room full of staff from much larger secondary schools. This appears to be dissipating due to the opportunities afforded by the ability to connect online with other professionals. There is a notable change in professional confidence and autonomy. It has refocussed work around the importance of teaching and learning and is leading to much more innovative practice within school. We have a growing culture of professional reflection, enquiry and learning within school which is starting to influence the approach and working practices of all. We are developing a shared understanding and language around the science of learning. It is driving whole school CPD and school improvement within a consistent and clearly focussed approach and our ultimate aim is to develop completely evidence based practice within our setting, where we continue to encourage a culture of professional curiosity amongst our staff to impact the educational experiences of our students.