Allerton Grange embracing NPQs
Allerton Grange is a large secondary school in north Leeds and a member of Red Kite Alliance. They have been at the forefront of accessing the benefits from Red Kite Teaching School Hub, in particular, access to reformed NPQs.
NPQs are a key part of the professional development offer for all colleagues at the school:
At Allerton Grange we have 18 staff who, in the past 12 months, have either completed their NPQ, are in the process of completing their NPQ or have been accepted for the next cohort of applications. We have colleagues engaged in the leadership and the specialist NPQs. We have 4 non-teaching pastoral leaders engaging with the Behaviour and Culture NPQ. As you can see from our CPD framework the NPQs play a significant part in our professional development offer. There are three main reasons for engaging so fully with the NPQ programme:
- Recruitment and retention – providing quality professional growth opportunities for our staff is a key element of our strategy to recruit and retain the very best staff.
- Value for money – all schools are feeling the financial pressures and the fact that this suite of qualifications are currently fully funded by the DfE was a key factor in our decision.
- Quality of the offer – The NPQ programme is steeped in rigorous educational research. I know, as a facilitator, the quality of the training that is provided for candidates as pre-reading materials and also in seminar assessments. Finally, there is a clear curriculum to the offer – each NPQ has been carefully sequenced to ensure that candidates grow their knowledge and skills in a planned sequential way. Assessment opportunities throughout the course and built into each unit of study mean that candidates practice the application of their new knowledge in a variety of different contexts.
For Allerton Grange – this decision was really a no brainer. It has been a win-win for the school.
Mike Roper, Headteacher
Maths Curriculum Leader
I had been interested in gaining leadership experience, both in practical and research-based formats and I had been considering doing a masters in the near future. When the NPQ course was announced, I hoped it may give me an insight into the range of aspects involved in senior leadership and further development I was seeking. When I found out that there may also be funding for it, I applied.
I have enjoyed the course, especially the format where the workload is distributed across quite a long period of time meaning it can be planned into and around a full working schedule. I have also enjoyed the online format and independent study format, allowing me to develop individually but also providing networking opportunities and the chance to share ideas in person and in the online seminars.
TLR holder in English department
I decided to complete an NPQSL as I was keen to continue developing and needed a new challenge. I also wanted to broaden and deepen my understanding of the role of SLT and to have a chance to think systematically about what my strengths and weaknesses as a leader are and then to address them.
I have found that the course has indeed helped to broaden and deepen my understanding of the SLT role. As someone who has been at the same school for a number of years it has been very useful to read case studies about other schools, to speak to colleagues at other schools and to actually visit other schools in order to challenge my own thinking about the best practice: it’s given me a chance to think outside the box.
It has also been empowering to have access to the latest legislation and research to ensure than my thinking is up to date.
Science Curriculum Leader
The NPQSL is a nationally recognised and prestigious course that helps to develop both my understanding of Senior Leadership and the various facets of this team as well as providing me with training rooted in the latest evidence and research. From my studies, I have covered almost every role of SLT within my school but also how these roles interact with each other as well as other stakeholders, including parents, students, staff and governors. It has been so beneficial to work with similar staff in other settings and understanding how roles and policies can be tailored to suit all types of educational establishment. I look forward to completing my school visit and in-school project to further develop my skills as a leader.
Non-teaching Pastoral Lead for Y8
Why did you apply for the qualification in the first place?
I applied for the qualification as I wanted to expand my knowledge and be in a position to help and develop an effective culture within a school. Non-teaching staff play a vital role within schools, and it is just as important they understand the key foundations of a positive environment and that while teaching staff are what people immediately think off in a school, there are lots of non-teaching staff in the background who work daily with parents, students, SLT and many other stakeholders. I also wanted to complete the qualification as part of my own personal development and that eventually in my career I can move onto a more senior position that develops policies, not just implements them.
What have gained from completing the qualification?
A deeper understanding of what culture is and what it means to a school and all who are involved in it. I have benefited from and feel I have learnt the most from the module ' enabling behavioural conditions and how schools set out their policies to enable a positive environment for all. I have gained a repertoire of skills and strategies through attending seminars and sharing best practice with other professionals in similar and different roles that can help me in my own role when dealing with and implementing new behavioural policies.
Reading programme lead and teacher of English
Why I applied for the NPQ course
I aspire to take part in the NPQ in Leading Literacy to develop the knowledge and expertise to implement effective strategies to support children in developing their reading and writing. As a teacher of English, this is something that I am immensely passionate about. I have also recently taken on the role of DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Lead which involves designing and implementing a whole school reading curriculum to instil a love for reading across our school community.
By taking part in this NPQ, it will provide me with the skills needed to better understand how children read and implement literacy improvement strategies based on this knowledge. It will also allow me to support other colleagues in developing pupils’ reading – something that can be shared within my department and across other subject areas, too.
My current role as a teacher of English, as well as an A level teacher of English Language, means that I can draw on my understanding of language and develop this further by taking part in the programme. My aspirations include taking on additional responsibilities in literacy by developing pupils’ language and vocabulary, while drawing upon the experience and expertise from fellow educators to develop my own practice.
Positives from completing the course so far:
My first seminar is today (at 4pm) but I have already had access to the materials on Bright Space. Following a year of being an ECT Mentor, I am familiar with resources shared through Teach First, as well as the use of Bright Space, and know that they are really high quality - so the resources and structure of the learning platform are the positives for me so far.
History Curriculum Leader
The qualification has allowed me to see how schools operate and the legal framework that shapes our everyday decisions. The Governance and Accountability module has provided a lens, which gives a clear overview of how we as a professional community are accountable, as well as the decision-making processes. Not only has this given me a valuable opportunity to consider whole school matters as a member of SLT but, it has enhanced my understanding of some of the demands of SLT, which has placed my middle leadership role in context: I now have a greater appreciation of why sometimes hard decisions are made.
Every module has taught me substantive knowledge about whole school matters such as SEND, curriculum, professional development, which are not only helping me to develop skills for the next steps in my career, but have helped me create meaningful department meetings, which in turn strengths my entire team. This value of this course has cascaded down to the ECT's in my department.
Geography Curriculum Leader
I have been a middle leader for some time, and I had completed the NPQML a few years ago. I was interested in what the next stage of my career could look like, and I thought the NPQSL would be a good opportunity to see what is expected from a senior leader role. I liked that there were other colleagues at my school who also signed up, so we could collaborate and discuss the reading materials together, and that it was fully supported by the whole-school CPD vision. The reading throughout has presented lots of thought-provoking ideas. I particularly enjoyed Module 7- additional special educational needs, as it made me more aware of the expectations from a senior leader perspective. In my current role, I am always thinking about the responses teacher are expected to follow regarding SEN initiatives, however this module made me look at the objectives and responsibilities from an SLT position and how, and why, they have come about. I enjoyed having a new perspective on an important whole-school matter. Another positive aspect of the NPQSL was the opportunity to visit a school, and a host a NPQSL colleague at my school. Again, seeing a different school and meeting with senior leaders provided me the opportunity to learn more about the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ systems are put in place and the procedures used to monitor them, so they have impact at a wider scale. Talking with other leaders and visiting another school in the role as a senior leader, has increased my confidence, as well as knowledge, about the role of a senior leader. I have enjoyed the opportunity in the seminars to discuss whole-school issues and learn from other educational professionals. I feel my skills as a leader have improved as a result of the NPQSL course.
- Initial Teacher Training (ITT)
- Early Career Framework (ECF)
- Appropriate Body (AB)
- National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)
- Continuing Professional Development (CPD)