Parmiter’s School in Garston is a high-achieving, partially selective secondary, with students coming in from a range of areas from the south of Hertfordshire.

With a forward-thinking mindsight when it comes to teaching and staff development, the consensus was clear that The National College’s comprehensive School Membership package was a perfect tool to offer all staff an award-winning video update service, with frequent webinars and courses from industry experts.

Assistant Head Teacher Adam Baker spoke to us at length about the fantastic experience Parmiter’s have had with The National College so far.

Tell us about your school

“I’m the Assistant Head Teacher at Parmiter’s for Teaching & Learning and Staff Development, so my role is to really combine the two, so that I can support the staff with their learning.

“We’re very traditional with our outlook on things like manners, discipline and behaviour. So, you could say, even though we’re not, we’re very grammar-esque with the way that we operate.

“However, within teaching & learning and staff development, we are very forward-thinking."

Why did you choose The National College?

"We’ve had a few members of staff, including myself, who’ve actually done courses with you over the years and everyone who’s come away from it has found it really useful. "You can tell by the course reviews themselves!

"The reason we decided to upgrade this year was that we were looking at our CPD for staff and development, and what we were finding was that online courses were costing more and more money.

"Nowhere was offering a package like yourselves, where you could enrol the whole school and get such a wide range of courses that are constantly updated."

How much of a benefit have The National College’s resources been to Parmiter's?

"We’ve actually replaced our twilight INSET with The National College, and we’re asking staff to do approximately five hours, which would equate to a whole INSET day.

"It’s far more manageable than keeping staff back after school for two hours."

How beneficial has the 100% remote learning platform been during the recent restrictions?

"Now Covid is here, it makes perfect sense, because staff can do their training at any time that they want."

We’ve partnered with industry and education experts to deliver our webinars. How important is this to you?

"You tend to pick the best presenters too! For example, you’ve got Amjad Ali who is quite prolific on social media, so you use people that others can relate to."

If you could draw one positive from The National College’s resources, what would it be?

"It’s the flexibility, it’s the fact that you’ve got the ratings on your site, which I think is really unique.

"Before you start a course, you can actually read whether it’s going to be worth your time, because teachers’ time is so valuable, especially at the moment."

How has this flexibility helped your staff?

"With your courses, staff can do it as and when they want, and that’s why we’ve allocated that additional time, because we don’t think we should take away from our staff.

"What I’ve really enjoyed is that you can start a course, leave it and then come back to it at a later date."

What has been your staff’s reaction to the platform?

"It’s been so, so popular with staff already!

"We now have a policy whereby, before staff request an INSET with another provider, we ask them 'Have you looked on The National College?'

"It’s also got rid of the hassle for staff of having to leave their classes.

"If you ask any teacher, it’s harder to be out of school than in it, because you have to arrange your cover."

Finally, how has the platform helped you to cut costs during this difficult time?

"You normally look at around £250-£300 for an external course and then you’ve got the travel expenses along with additional cover on top of that also.

"For three or four staff going out on one full day course, is the same price as The National College for a whole centre – so it’s a no brainer really!"


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