Annual report 2020: Teaching School review

Head of Teaching School: Lindsay Palmer

Continuing Professional Development

The Mead Teaching School delivered 34 different professional development sessions from September 2019 to March 2020. Over 700 delegates attended and on average 73% of delegates rated the training they received as ‘Excellent’. At every single session, 90% of delegates or more agreed that:

  1. Their time on the course was well spent
  2. The benefits of the course out-weighed the short term impact on their workload
  3. The course would improve their personal practice
  4. The course would improve provision in their school overall

These sessions include those provided during Professional Growth Days for The Mead Academy Trust staff, as well as external CPD available to all.   

Highlights of the year included a full day SEND Conference with a keynote from Helen Curran, and an extremely well-attended NQT Development Programme.  Our CPD programme was effected by the lockdown and some key events were postponed until 2020-2021, including our annual Early Years conference.  However, some events continued through Zoom with our staff working extremely hard to amend the facilitation of their sessions to suit a remote environment.

A very large range of CPD opportunities were made available to teaching assistants and teachers during lockdown. Teaching Assistants had more opportunity to undertake training than teachers. As a result, over 350 training certificates have been received from staff across the schools. 

In addition to these training events the Teaching School supported the facilitation of Trust-wide remote CPD during lockdown. This included expert-led training for the new handwriting programme across all schools. 

A password protected ‘Training Hub’ has now been created within the Trust website, which is used to store all remote training courses for staff to access. This continues to be developed as further remote training is undertaken.

Initial Teacher Training

Our Initial Teaching Training programme for primary Graduate Teachers ran successfully for another year. It was a very small cohort this year; we provided one salaried assessment-only place, and two PGCE places. At the end of the programme, the Trust employed one high quality trainee from this cohort to work within the our schools from September 2020.

Recruitment of Graduate Teachers for 2020-21 was highly successful, and we were able to pivot in order to ensure our rigorous selection process was not affected by school closures. We conducted numerous interviews remotely with potential candidates, and secured an extremely strong cohort of 12 Graduate Teachers who began their training in September 2020.


Lindsay Palmer contributed a chapter to a new book, which was published in March 2020, entitled The research-informed teaching revolution: A handbook for the 21st century. Drawing on the wisdom of those at the top of their game, this book intends be a practical handbook for teachers and leaders that can help make the research use revolution a reality. With contributions from leading ‘do-ers’ in the field of knowledge mobilisation, the book provides a wealth of insight which is then further distilled into useable guidance and best practice principles that can be readily implemented at classroom, school and teaching school alliance level. Lindsay’s chapter, Establishing and sustaining a meaningful culture of research’, is a case study of the work of the Trust in relation to its work in research-informed and evidence-based practice in recent years.

Supporting Trust Development

Functioning at a Trust-wide level as it does, the Teaching School in 2019-20 was able to support a range of development initiatives implemented within all of the Trust schools. This included:

  • Migrating the Trust’s Safeguarding, Bullying and Behaviour reporting and management to a new software solution (CPOMs)
  • Developing, implementing and curating the Smiles initiative, an opportunity for all members of our school communities to share their activities during lockdown 
  • Supporting a number of remote recruitment and selection processes for all our schools. Remote interviews were held successfully for a range of roles across the Trust which has resulted in a number of high quality staff being recruited to the Trust team.   
  • Implementation of a new induction process for new staff, to enable them to be fully supported before and during their first few weeks of employment. This includes a ‘virtual tea party’ before they start, an updated reading list for teachers and TAs, allocation of a buddy in advance of their first day, and advance provision of all mandatory training dates
  • Development of a Trust YouTube channel, which has provided the ability to share a huge range of content with our staff, parents, and the wider community