The challenge is to always improve, to always get better; to continually grow.
Professional growth within our trust will have two main purposes;
- to build and enhance expertise, and secure continuous growth and improvement
- to enable reflection on strengths and successes, and areas for further growth.
Professional development is a key driver not only of staff development, but also of recruitment, retention, wellbeing, and school improvement. Our ‘Professional Growth’ policy will outline the approach that we will take to help our teachers to become the very best version of themselves; supporting them to make the next steps but also creating a culture that encourages them to stay and grow with us.
Effective, and genuinely continuous, professional growth in our Trust will:
…have a focus on improving student outcomes
…build and enhance knowledge and expertise to bring about changes in practice
…have a narrow yet significant focus
…acknowledge that knowledge and expertise is domain specific
…recognise that novice and experts learn differently
…focus on what works, challenge existing assumptions and will be, therefore, evidence-informed
…involve collaboration with colleagues and peer support
…be sustained over time and include frequent opportunities for learning; experimentation and practice, reflection and evaluation, honest frequent feedback and solutions-focused coaching
As a solutions-focused trust, we will need to ensure our practices focus on solutions, not problems, on finding answers within our colleagues rather than imposing, often superficial, targets. The evidence we use to reflect on our performance and growth will not be solely based on student data or a small number of lesson observations. The Trust, therefore, will have no high stakes observations and rejects the notion that our teaching staff should be held to account for data-driven targets that no one individual can be solely accountable for. There is no performance related pay here. Instead the Trust will committed to developing a professional culture which drives quality assurance from within; an enabling process rather than an imposed top down process.
The Trust wishes to encourage a culture in which all teachers take responsibility for improving their practice through appropriate professional development. Professional growth will be linked to Teachers’ Standards, and/or Trust, subject or phase improvement priorities and to the on-going professional development needs and priorities of individual teachers and, of course, the students they teach. The Teachers’ Standards will form our benchmark for reflection, review and evaluation in order to ensure that our teaching staff identify areas for further growth and continue to maintain the level of competence that qualified them as teachers at the start of their careers.
So long as our teachers continue to meet the Teachers’ Standards and engage in the process of professional growth, pay progression will be automatic and not linked to any mechanism of performance management.
In subsequent posts I will outline the exact processes our teachers will be required to engage in over the course of the professional growth cycle.
Insanity was once described as ‘doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result’.
RIP ‘Performance management’.
Welcome to our world ‘Professional Growth’.