Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Staff Continuing Professional Development
At Thomas’s Kensington there is a strong commitment to focused CPD, which challenges and focuses teacher improvement. Teachers are deeply involved in their own professional development and this informs their teaching and our pupils’ learning.

Master of Arts in Educational Practice
A bespoke Master’s degree was established across all the Thomas’s Schools by Miss Ebner in September 2014, under the auspices of the University of Roehampton. It is offered to all staff, with particular encouragement given to early career teachers. As a result of the MA, action research projects have been undertaken by our teachers who are motivated and encouraged to innovate and look at different methods of improving their pupils’ learning. Projects have included examining Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset, specifically in relation to mathematics, developing a creative curriculum in an outstanding school and the impact of homework in Year 5.

MA staff are encouraged to give feedback about their projects in staff meetings and to share their knowledge and expertise with staff, parents and across the Thomas’s schools.

A Conference for parents developed from our staff MA programme: “Engaging parents in the discussion of learning”, was led by academics from Roehampton and Brighton Universities, outlining the research that our staff have been involved in and exploring current trends in the field of education. The first cohort of MA students graduated in July 2016. 

During the academic year 2016/2017 the school also established a partnership with the University of Buckingham with an option of undertaking an MA through them and for our teacher assistants to take the QTS only route into teaching. Two members of staff are also undertaking Doctoral research through Buckingham University. The headmistress is currently undertaking international research into university-school partnership work.

Thomas’s Kensington has been deemed an independent teaching school for our partnership work with both the University of Buckingham and the University of Roehampton. We have also received the Gold Quality Mark for Professional Development from the Institute of Education.

Leading Practitioners
The Thomas’s Leading Practitioner (LP) programme was designed to support and recognise the many high quality teachers in our schools, who have much to offer in terms of experience and expertise. We believe we are the first independent group of schools in the country to fully utilise the old advanced skills teachers’ qualification (AST). Our first cohort of LPs graduated in the Lent term 2016.

Participants are be selected through a rigorous 3-stage gateway application process:

  • Headteacher recommendation
  • Written application to Babcock 4S articulating suitability and appetite for postgraduate study and professional benefits of engaging in the programme
  • Acceptance by Roehampton University

Scholar in Residence
School improvement and ITT is best driven through academically underpinned teacher CPD that bridges the gap between theory and classroom practice.  There is a need to find a way for theory and practice to act reciprocally. We have introduced a Scholar in Residence to work within Thomas’s Kensington, from time to time. Our first Scholar was seconded from the University of Roehampton and our next Scholar, a Teaching Fellow from UCL in Museums and Galleries Education will be working with staff on a creativity project in 2018.

The Scholar in Residence (SiR) supports the MA and LP teachers and add a layer of rigour, challenge and academic expertise to our practice.

Primary Strategic Management Board for Partnerships
The Headmistress is a member of the PSMB at Roehampton University which influences national policy on university partnerships and initial teacher training (ITT). Its purpose is “to draw on the expertise of partner primary schools to manage and oversee the Primary ITT partnership between partner schools and the University of Roehampton’s School of Education.”

Professional Development Quality Mark (Gold)
In September 2015, Thomas’s Kensington achieved the Gold Professional Development Quality Mark Gold Award.

This recognises that professional learning is a strength within our school. Professional Development practice is embedded in all four key aspects of the Professional Development Quality Mark framework:

  • Leadership of Professional development
  • High Quality Professional Development
  • Evaluating the Impact of Professional Development
  • Collaboration and Partnerships supporting Professional Development

The Verifier’s report stated that at Thomas’s Kensington:

“All staff recognise their responsibility for their own professional learning and are given the freedom to take risks and innovate which directly benefits the students’ attainment and confidence”.

Our aim is to be a beacon of excellence to others, to be outward looking, givers and not takers within the world of education and to remain outstanding.

CPD - Working at Thomas's

Teachers’ Comment
“Before I arrived at Thomas’s I had thought about undertaking an MA in Education and when the opportunity arose to undertake a part-time supplemented course, it would have been foolish to not sign up. Since starting the MA with Thomas’s and Roehampton two years ago I’ve been encouraged to try a whole range of new teaching techniques, pedagogies, assessment strategies and approaches to teaching and learning. Due to the bespoke nature of the course and the relatively small number of participants I have been able to work on essays and projects that particularly interest me as a teacher, and as such, have been able to really use what I have learnt in my everyday practice.

Most recently I have been undertaking a research project for my dissertation which has been intertwined with the schools current drive to develop and facilitate a more creative curriculum. I have spent the last couple of terms, working alongside the staff to develop a more creative curriculum, as well as researching teachers’ perspectives on creativity. The feedback from our staff about this development in the curriculum has really helped my teaching to evolve and improve through the sharing of good practice in our context. My confidence in terms of delivering a range of topics and facilitating meaningful learning has soared. Inevitably, this has also had a positive impact on the children’s learning, most noticeably seeing them become more independent and resilient learners who are keen to share and explore each other’s ideas.

The need to absorb a range of academic texts and research literature has further extended my understanding of creativity and teaching and learning processes. Shared practice with other MA students and colleagues has led to interesting discussions which have gone on to directly impact teaching and learning policies in the school, most noticeably in relation to the streaming of mathematics.

As a result of the MA, I was given a new role as Creative Curriculum Leader working to support teachers and children in their creative endeavours and ensuring that through creative learning, children are taking ownership over their learning and gaining a broader more 21st century relevant education”.

Joanna Ebner, Headmistress