Time is of the essence for school staff and being able to fit in professional development which is flexible and doesn’t take time out of the school day isn’t easy.

That’s what Ditton Park Academy Senior Assistant Principal, Lisa Healy-Norgate was looking for prior to choosing a School Membership with us.

Since then, she’s been able to offer all staff the opportunity to personalise their own learning experience and pursue individual interests, as well as keeping up to date with statutory updates from the Department for Education.

Having access to a central CPD hub

Lisa explained that there was a cultural approach to CPD within education which she was keen to challenge, with The National College paving the way for the possibility to undertake training remotely.

She said: “Trying to find a way of addressing the misconception that CPD means attending an external course – that was quite a traditional way of approaching it.

“I came into the school around three years ago, with CPD one of my remits. I wanted to question that narrative, so that staff saw that it’s an ongoing thing. I was trying to find somewhere which had everything in one place, and The National College did have a lot of centralised resources.

“I like the idea of the hot topic section, so that there’s current thinking and keeping people abreast, because I think it can be quite hard for a teacher to keep on top of the DfE and the other educational thinking.

“That was one of the big draws, and also the fact that The National College isn’t admin heavy. I’m able to get an overview of who’s engaging and who isn’t.”

Taking ownership of learning

The attitude of staff was highly praised by Lisa, who says, through our state-of-the-art learning hub, she’s able to distribute relevant courses and webinars accordingly.

“We’ve had staff coming back to us and saying which course or webinar that they’ve viewed, and that’s what we want,” she stated.

“I’ll check the website a couple of times a week to see what’s coming up that might be of interest, and I tend to signpost that to people. Staff can watch it in their own time and, the fact that they’ve got the flexibility now, means that they’re more likely to engage with the resources.

“Certainly while we were working from home, that (learning hub) was very helpful, because I was able to send things through to people and say that it might be something of interest.”

High-quality training

Speaking in broader terms, the breadth of content has ensured that the academy are always on top of current topics in the education sector – something that has been invaluable in the current climate.

She revealed: “It’s got a great range and subject specialism. For example, your deep dives series at the moment has been really helpful for staff to see the three I’s related to particular subjects.

“As well as that though, it’s got current topics, leadership, wellbeing and the statutory content in there too – so it does cover most people in a school situation.”


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