Studying for success

LAAT is celebrating the professional qualifications recently awarded to members of staff. Their outstanding achievements reflect the Trust’s commitment to empower all its dedicated employees to reach their full potential through continuous learning and development.

National Professional Qualification for Headship

Tracey Grove, Head of School at Canon Peter Hall CofE Primary School in Immingham, has received the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) – a national qualification designed to develop the leadership skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to be an effective and high-performing headteacher or head of school.

Having already gained her NPQSL (Senior Leadership), Tracey was encouraged by Canon Peter Hall’s Executive Head, Sandra Fawn, to undertake the NPQH course and become Head of School. As part of the course Tracey had to lead two school change projects: one at her own school and another at a school within a different context.  She says that due to Covid restrictions in place at the time, arranging the latter posed a challenge for some of the other students on the course. “However, fortunately for me,” Tracey explains, “LAAT was able to organise a placement for me at another member school which met the course criteria.”

Tracey’s change project at Canon Peter Hall considered the impact of Covid on attainment and looked at ways to close the gap left by the pandemic. The project set by the placement school’s leadership team entailed an in-depth review of the TA staffing structure to ensure it met pupils’ needs and provided value for money. Through both projects Tracey had to demonstrate her competence in key content areas, including strategy and improvement, teaching and curriculum excellence, working in partnership and managing resources and risks.

Tracey says that passing her NPQH has made the hours of study, research and assessments worthwhile and she pays tribute to the support she received from her school-based coach, Sandra Fawn. She comments: “Gaining this qualification has given me more confidence and further developed the senior leadership knowledge and skills I need to do the very best for our children.”

Michael Pasqualino, Head of School at Edenham CofE Primary School, has also recently been awarded the NPQH.  After receiving his NPQML (Middle Leadership), Michael realised he wanted to take his practice to the next level and so decided to apply for the NPQH. At the time of applying Michael says there were not as many routes for funding professional qualifications. He comments: “Being part of LAAT was a real advantage as my course was fully funded under the Trust’s CPD programme.”

Like Tracey, Michael had to undertake two main assignments as part of his course and demonstrate that they met NPQH standards. “The project at my own school looked at how developments in our curriculum would support reading and writing,” he explains. The project he conducted at another LAAT member school was based around setting up outdoor education to support learning.  Michael continues: “I needed to evidence the impact of the project I had chosen for Edenham, while in the second school I had to put a clear plan in place and present it to the governing body so they could move forward with it.”

Michael is grateful for the support he received from colleagues while studying for his NPQH which he says allowed him the time and space to focus on developing his own skills and be more effective in his role as Head of School. He also  believes that being able to study case studies from different industries, not just within education, has given him a broader perspective. Summing up, Michael says:  “I feel very fortunate that LAAT makes it possible for staff members like myself to pursue a range of CPD opportunities.”

School Business Management

LAAT also encourages the professional career development of its non-teaching staff. As an example, Rachel Bishop, one of the Trust’s Business and Operations Partners, has recently gained a Distinction in School Business Management (SBM). Keen to progress from her role in finance and admin, Rachel approached the Trust about doing the SBM course through its apprenticeship programme. She comments: “LAAT’s team has been very supportive, allowing me to take time from my main job to study and complete assignments.”

The SBM course covers a range of school-specific units, including management support services, HR, finance and procurement. Although much of Rachel’s course content moved online when Covid hit in 2020, she still had to complete a major project at a LAAT member school for her final assessment. She chose to help Ruskington Chestnut Street CofE Primary Academy navigate the planning, funding and implementation of new outdoor play and sports facilities. Working closely with the Executive Headteacher and Head of School, Rachel played a pivotal role in bringing the new playground plans to fruition within the school’s allocated budget and timescale. She says it was an ideal project to showcase a broad spectrum of business and operational skills, from conducting risk assessments and overseeing the tendering process through to liaising with contractors on site – not to mention having to manage construction delays caused by the pandemic. Ambitious to take her career even further, and with LAAT’s continued support, Rachel is now looking to start her AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) training.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Laura Lowe, HR Business Partner at LAAT, has recently achieved one of the highest professional accreditations in HR thanks to the support of the Trust’s career development programme. Laura recently attained Chartered membership of the CIPD, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, demonstrating her in-depth knowledge of strategic HR and people management practices.

Since joining LAAT in 2016, Laura’s career has gone from strength to strength. After obtaining Associate Membership of the CIPD in 2018 she embarked on a rigorous programme of experience assessment in order to gain her Chartered Membership. The process included interviews, assessments, and written submissions that were appraised by senior CIPD members.

Her expertise is a significant benefit to LAAT and its member schools for whom she provides professional support and advice on a wide range of HR issues, from recruitment, training and employment legislation to succession planning, payroll and pensions. “Achieving CIPD status was very tough,” concludes Laura, “but well worth all the time and effort and having LAAT’s support and encouragement throughout was invaluable.”