11/10/2023 0 Comments
“I genuinely love working with our Associate Colleges because [THEY] all want to build a really strong partnership with us, that genuinely ensures the programmes we develop and deliver together are of maximum benefit for teachers and leaders.”
Jenny Sutton is the National Institute of Teaching's founding Regional Principal for the South and West and was previously a Head of School Partnerships at Teach First leading on their relationships with Teaching School Hubs as Delivery Partners for the Early Career Framework (ECF) and Reformed National Professional Qualifications (NPQs), having previously spent seven years as Teach First's South West Regional Director, founding their work in this region.
Prior to this role, Jenny spent ten years as a Teacher of English and Drama, Head of Faculty and Assistant Head in two large secondary schools in Islington and Hackney.
Jenny is an 09 cohort member of Future Leaders and Teach First Ambassador.
1. How do you anticipate the work of the Associate Colleges/Teaching School Hubs in working with the National Institute of Teaching will benefit their schools?
The National Institute of Teaching offers genuinely schools-led programmes. We are led by the School Led Development Trust, an organisation set up by four leading School Multi Academy Trusts: the Harris Federation, Star Academies, Oasis Community Learning and Outwood Grange Academies Trust. They are responsible for 188 primary, secondary and Post-16 schools and colleges and educate 100,000+ children in communities ranging from Southampton to Middlesbrough and from Blackpool to Battersea.
This provides a very rich national network for the National Institute of Teaching to tap into when it comes to the delivery and design of our programmes. For example, our suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) all provide national Masterclasses led by the best experts from that national network. This provides new insights for schools in Associate Colleges to tap into, alongside the regionally-run aspects of the programme, which are grounded in local context e.g. termly in-person conferences. We also host Virtual School Visits for our NPQ programme members in schools in our founding MATs, which similarly provide a window into areas of good practice nationally.
The focus of these is driven by our research and feedback from our programme members about their needs. For example, for the NPQ in Leading Teacher Development, if schools were struggling in getting early teachers to buy into practice-based learning, the National Institute of Teaching could share a virtual visit of a school that has successfully embedded this into their school and look at some of the key factors and principles underpinning successful implementation. It is vital for us that all our delivery is facilitated by those working in schools and leading this work day in, day out.
We also have a rich network of national experts outside of our four founding Trusts; providing speakers that more isolated schools and communities might not necessarily be able to hear from or might have to travel to London to hear from. For example, programme members on our ECF programme are able to attend a series of Masterclasses with experts, such as Tom Bennett leading sessions on behaviour. We provide these national webinars free of charge for colleagues who are on a National Institute of Teaching programme.
Thirdly, we have a strong research arm to our work and are continually being commissioned to deliver research in key areas of development for the educational sector. For example, we are working in partnership on a piece of research in how artificial intelligence (AI) could be used in education and we are interested in how AI could be used in professional development to increase efficiency and teacher well-being, recognising the potential challenges of achieving a good work-life balance in education.
We are also keen to look at research in areas of particular interest for our Associate Colleges. For example, we are currently working on a piece of research with SWIFT about how the Early Career Framework (ECF) is running in small schools, particularly small primary schools. We also include the experience and feedback from our Associate Colleges when considering future policy developments.
Finally, we are working towards becoming a university that is dedicated to the professional development of teachers and leaders and this will hopefully provide exciting opportunities for our Associate Colleges.
2. What do you believe is the greatest challenge for the National Institute of Teaching?
I think the greatest challenge for the National Institute of Teaching is the pace of the work - going from the design, to implementation to delivery stage in a short space of time in a relatively small organisation across several programmes.
In year one, we are delivering initial teacher training for 500+ trainees and delivering the ECF to thousands of programme members and delivering the full suite of NPQs, so there's lots of piloting and learning in a short space of time. We have also recently been successful in our bid to be accredited to deliver the new NPQ in Leading Primary Maths.
3. What do you hope to achieve personally from working with Associate Colleges?
I genuinely love working with our Associate Colleges because all our Associate Colleges want to build a really strong partnership with us, that genuinely ensures the programmes we develop and deliver together are of maximum benefit for teachers and leaders.
So, if colleagues from SWIFT schools take part in these programmes, they have to feel like it was a good use of their time...that is fundamental - we both understand that time is precious for teachers and school leaders, so are both motivated by impact and efficiency.
We thank Jenny for her insights into the work of the National Institute of Teaching and SWIFT is pleased to be supporting their work as two of the Associate Colleges.
Interview by Jude Owens, PA to the Executive Team and Governance