Carnegie Education
A teaching talking to a group of primary school pupils

Sometimes it is difficult to see or hear alternatives to what we already do, or to what is heavily promoted through policy.  Last week I spent an hour digging into the archived materials from the National Strategies – the school CPD infrastructure built up under the labour government in England in the 2000s. Many current teachers and even school leaders were not working in the sector when this machinery of the state was developed, aren’t aware of it as a treasure trove of resources. Some have been sold the line that it was all a colossal waste of time.

This week my twitter feed is awash with comments on the new mentoring and instructional coaching within the Early Career Framework and the sales pitches for the new NPQs; both of which have emerged from the DfE as their new solutions to teacher recruitment, development and retention.  I predict that in twenty years that the ECF and NPQs will be occupy archival spaces and that older teachers will either remember them fondly or recall them with a degree or horror.

The National Strategies and the ECF / NPQs represent two quite different approaches to teacher development as contributors to school improvement, each in part an ideologically based response to similar dilemma and each creating different narratives, roles, infrastructures and activity.

So, what are the alternative narratives in professional development? What can we learn from practice and research which can offer insights into building learning cultures of professional development?

If you are interested in these questions you are invited to join a CollectivED hub event on December 1st from 6.30-8.30pm. We are hosting a chain reaction conversation through which alternative narratives of professional learning will be explored. The event is free and online.

Our guest speakers bring expertise from a range of roles and contexts and the conversation will shine a light on the work they do, the learning cultures they are creating and the impact of that work.  The first hour of the evening allows them to share their work and expertise.  The second hour is a participatory dialogue which allows our participants to dig a little deeper into the things that they found most interesting. Our contributors and discussion themes for the evening are as follows:

  • Pinky Jain is the new Head of Teacher Education at Leeds Beckett University. In her work in ITTE she has been considering cultural change in teacher education which supports collaboration and not competition. These principles feel essential, but currently undervalued and I look forward to hearing more about Pinky’s thinking.
  • James Mannion is Bespoke Programmes Leader at the Centre for Educational Leadership, UCL Institute of Education. During our conversation he will share practices of using implementation science as an ethical, relational approach to school leadership. This is a new area of work for me, and I am keen to learn more.
  • Paula Ayliffe is the Co-headteacher of a two-form entry primary school in Cambridge, UK. She has developed approaches to engaging colleagues in professional inquiry based on democratic principles of engagement to support the whole school development plan. I am fascinated by this because I think the struggle to do this is well is real, and I know that Paula can provide some authentic evidence from her practice.
  • Chris Moyse is head of staff development for a 7 school 3-19 multi academy trust and managing director of an education and leadership consultancy. His practice leads him to understand coaching as a multi-faceted support tool rather than a one size fits all directive approach. I am keen to hear more about this and feel that Chris will offer some timely reminders given the introduction of current surge in instructional coaching in schools in England.
  • Olivia White is the Early Years Pedagogical Coordinator at the American International School Bucharest. She leads work on instructional coaching in the school and her contribution will define instructional coaching as a powerful relationship-based process, aimed to empower teachers to have voice and ownership over their own professional learning.  It will be fascinating to hear more about coaching from an international context.
  • Trista Hollweck is pracademic and educational network leader and facilitator based in Canada. She will focus on the importance of building a school and system culture of accompaniment to foster collaborative professionalism. I love that term ‘accompaniment’ and look forward to hearing more about its conceptualisation and practical implications.

If you would like to join us for this event, please use the booking form below.  We look forward to an evening of dynamic conversation and learning developing alternative narratives in professional development in education.

Booking form CollectivED Hub Events 2021-2022 Booking Form


Professor Rachel Lofthouse

Professor / Carnegie School Of Education

Rachel Lofthouse is Professor of Teacher Education in the Carnegie School of Education. She has a specific research interest in professional learning, exploring how teachers learn and how they can be supported to put that learning into practice.

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By Professor Rachel Lofthouse
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