My current role consists of developing leadership capacity in colleagues with a continuous emphasis placed on mentoring within the classroom across all subjects. I have always demanded high expectations of all of my pupils and have employed the same approach to mentoring and coaching members of staff. I have adopted a culture of ‘open classrooms’ for sharing best practice and try to instil a strong sense of accountability in staff for the impact of their work on pupils’ outcomes. This approach has led to many successful mentoring partnerships both within St Mary’s and in partnering schools. It has had a lasting impact on the ethos, in which all staff are motivated and supported to develop their own skills and subject knowledge, and to support each other.
I work alongside others to build essential knowledge and skills, create engaging and enjoyable experiences for students and facilitate the maintenance of high standards of teaching and learning across the school on a day to day basis. Observations, staff meetings, one-to-one discussions, resourcing and planning with colleagues have all contributed to a greater emphasis on increased pupil engagement, improved participation in lessons and a more consistent whole school approach to the teaching of English, which has raised standards, particularly in reading.
In January 2017, I became a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) and my experience in leading English has helped to secure St Mary’s Teaching School status and enables me to support other schools within this area of expertise, sharing the very best practice across the city. I was recently part of a team, which delivered a phonics intervention programme to 6 different schools within Manchester, supporting them with their phonics provision from Nursery to Year 2. The aim was to provide information on subject knowledge, ideas for manageable planning for different groups of different abilities, information on how to effectively assess children’s phonics, links with reading and writing, practical activities for a consistent phonics sessions and the application of phonics in different areas of the classroom. The impact of the intervention was so positive, that we have been asked to take part in something similar involving a different group of schools.
I have also worked with two schools in North Manchester alongside an Assistant Headteacher and an English lead. On both occasions I was asked to support in the implementation of a new English programme and this support spanned over a period of 6 months. My support was built upon initial discussions and observations regarding data, staffing, teaching and learning and monitoring and assessment and an action plan was then created together. I invited staff in both schools to observe the teaching and learning in St Mary’s, which proved to be particularly beneficial in supporting teachers within the classroom. It also brought about further discussions around the management of children, learning environments and planning and resources, things which were problematic at the beginning. In my role, I was well equipped to support both schools in reassuring them of their initial concerns and felt confident that I could work alongside leaders to stabilise the consistency of teaching and raise standards across the schools. The impact of the support and partnership was very positive and I have since been invited back to one of the schools to take part in a learning walk with the SLT to provide feedback on classroom practice.
Having already had experience of supporting others within their own schools, I can see the significant value in sharing good practise and feel motivated to help bring about positive change in other settings.