Landau Forte Academy
Landau Forte Academy Amington is one of six academies operated by the distinctive Landau Forte Charitable Trust. As a school that values high aspiration – both in its students and in the wider community – continued professional development is strongly encouraged for all staff at LFAA.
We spoke to Assistant Principal Wendy Seward about how a whole-school membership to The National College has assisted the school in its quest for knowledge and excellence.
After arriving at Landau Forte Academy Amington in January 2020, Ms. Seward and the rest of the Senior Leadership Team shared a distinct vision for how staff may improve and flourish.
“As a Senior Team we have set a clear strategic vision for Amington based on a well-researched, high impact whole-Academy approach,” She explained.
“We initially ran CPD entirely in-house but after sampling what the National College had to offer, we decided to invest in the wider range of high-quality resources available through The National College.”
It was at this point that Ms. Seward decided that a whole-school membership to The National College was the most cost and time-effective option.
"It was clear that, throughout lockdown and beyond, this would be the perfect way to bring staff together.
“Under current Covid-19 guidance it is not possible to bring all staff together for substantial training, so we directed staff to complete targeted courses in small groups in their classrooms or at home, and it was perfect.”
A whole-school approach
Once they had signed up to The National College, LFAA wasted no time in setting up every single member of staff onto the system.
“We’ve signed everybody up and created buy-in at all levels across both teaching and support staff.” Said Ms. Seward.
“We made our CPD strategy clear and transparent and involved all staff at all levels – we then bookmarked several of the courses that we wanted staff to complete, including safeguarding courses, prevent training, and others that we targeted to individuals and groups.
“We have also developed our wider skills using the National College, such as basic first aid, because regardless of your role in the school, we are all committed to career-long learning.”
According to Ms Seward, unlimited access to The National College learning hub gave staff the opportunity to explore professional development opportunities outside of the courses required for their role.
When quizzed on how many members of staff had sought independent development, she said:
“We’ve had a wide range, particularly our safeguarding team – they have completed courses on things like online safety, knife crime, British values and mental health, then they have then recommended these courses to other members of staff.
“Some of our admin support staff have completed GDPR training and courses on safer recruitment.
“We have already completed a range of courses in a short period of time since joining – sometimes courses and webinars are completed by just by one person, for example tackling attendance was completed by our attendance officer, but is available for a wider range of staff to complete in the future
“Staff have really taken it up and ran with it, even completed courses in their own time because it’s something they’re interested in and the platform is flexible.”
The disruption presented by the current pandemic means that improvements from the CPD completed by LFAA is only now beginning to trickle down into the classroom. However, Ms. Seward has noticed a marked improvement in remote lessons.
“Staff have looked at webinars on well-structured remote lessons, and also lesson observations – how to complete those remotely.” She explained.
“So most of the teaching courses we have looked at have revolved around the remote aspect. We have actually just put out a survey for parents and pupils about our remote provision - and because of the high quality training staff have received, feedback from all stakeholders is excellent.”
As a result, the Assistant Principal believes that perseverance with CPD with The National College is the best way forward.
“I think the variety of webinars and courses on offer is fantastic. It does cater for the whole school, not just for teaching staff – this is a strength of The National College.” She explained.
“The fact that The National College reacts very quickly to the changing environment, like with the materials on remote learning. It’s fantastic, because that’s what people need in the immediate context.
“I believe it has also proved cost effective: it’s a really good deal for a school, because we get to target courses to staff at the appropriate time!