An Advanced Skills Teacher in Derby City has worked with a group of colleagues to plan for a new network of teachers in their second to five years of teaching. While the network meetings have not yet taken place, this process has highlighted the usefulness of including recently qualified teachers in planning professional development for this group. The project leader reported that the most useful members of the planning team were the two most inexperienced teachers.
Within this local authority there is a very structured pathway for NQTs that is well planned and receives good feedback from all of the recently qualified teachers involved. The idea behind establishing a network was to continue this support as these teachers progress through their second to fifth years, giving both a clearer pathway for professional development and a support network. The network meetings will:
- allow teachers in the second year of teaching to continue to attend regular network meetings, thus maintaining a support network currently only available to NQTs
- give the opportunity for teachers to share and discuss current issues that are occurring within classrooms, as well as looking at innovative resources and use of the curriculum.
The network planning group met three times as a large group as well as three times as a smaller, more specific group when necessary. It consisted of:
- a teacher in their NQT year
- a teacher in the second year of teaching
- three mathematics consultants
- a PhD researcher
- a Regional Coordinator.
The initial research during the planning stage demonstrated the vast difference in the professional development that is available to individual teachers. The group has planned six sessions in the next academic year to which teachers in two local authorities in their second to fifth year of teaching will be invited.
Possible content to be modelled in the sessions has been discussed. The leaders will model aspects such as questioning techniques whilst delivering the sessions. The teachers in their first and second year have been able to raise concerns about their experiences so that the planning can build on these. The more experienced members of the group have been able to use experience gained from other similar projects to contribute to making the network as effective as possible.
The recently qualified teachers felt that being involved in a project from the outset has been a useful experience in seeing how CPD works outside the classroom. This will form a useful step in their professional learning journeys. The more experienced members of the group have been able to use experience gained from other similar projects to contribute to making the network as effective as possible.