They may have amassed thousands of CPD minutes through The National College so far, but John Colet School are already setting their sights on ways to further embed a culture of flexible professional development opportunities.

As in the case of many education settings, the past year has brought into focus just how beneficial the opportunity to complete remote CPD can be.

Louise Abslom, Assistant Headteacher at John Colet School, says The National College really opened the school’s eyes to what can be achieved when staff have that flexibility within their professional development programme.

A flexible CPD option

Better still, our School Membership didn’t just offer the opportunity to learn purely to teaching staff, as Mrs Abslom explained.

She said: “I think the pandemic probably brought something to us that we needed in education, and definitely within our setting: that flexibility for CPD.

“Something that The National College offered was that flexibility, and not just for teaching staff as well.”

Cost-effective development

John Colet Schools was also pleased that it had the capability to not only deliver high-quality CPD, but also to significantly reduce costs at the same time.

“We really liked the offer that it gave to our support staff – particularly our learning support assistants, our safeguarding team and school matron. They’ve all done courses from the platform, as and when it fitted,” Mrs Abslom explained.

“It’s made us think, ‘was it value for money going out and spending £300 on a course, plus travel and cover’?

“We always knew it wasn’t great value for money – unless it was something that would come back and revolutionise learning, and quite often it wasn’t.”

Empowering the wider staff roll

Learning Support Assistants at John Colet School have thrived thanks to The National College, and the word is spreading among staff across the whole school.

Mrs Abslom revealed: “A most recent example was that I sent one of your courses across to our learning support department and said that I felt it would be really useful – because it’s an area which we want to develop as a school, in terms of getting our learning support assistants working more proactively with the teachers.

“I’ve also had staff come back and say that they’ve done courses on mental health and that we need to get them out to the rest of the staff.”

Embedding The National College

Attention now shifts to plans for September – and how an already successful CPD programme can be enhanced further.

The opportunity for staff to tailor their own learning is a powerful tool, which Mrs Abslom wants to make full use of.

“Looking at our outline for September, in terms of whole-school CPD, we have four or five sessions in the evenings,” she declared.

“At least two of them I would like to dedicate to staff being able to tailor their own CPD using The National College platform.

“It’s the range of courses that are on offer – not just for teaching staff! There’s a whole breadth from curriculum, right through to safeguarding, mental health and a lot on there about the Covid impact and catch-up learning.”


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