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Why Continuing Professional Development through coaching matters

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) matters even more as we all face such an uncertain future in a world made very different from anything any of us could have imagined possible.  The lack of interaction with colleagues leaves all of us diminished and less able to deal with the isolation. It is therefore, important that we continue to recognise the value we place on the many opportunities for professional dialogue that enriches our working lives as teachers.  Where there is a coaching culture in a school or college this loss of interaction is even more stark. Motivational and learning conversations are a distinct feature of a coaching culture and provide a superb vehicle for the sharing and cascading of good and outstanding practice.

So, how can we maintain that rich vein of collaboration that comes from interaction and dialogue with colleagues?  If we can't meet together in close proximity for training and development, we need to find ways of learning virtually.  There are clearly opportunities for online CPD to provide us with that much needed interaction. Maybe more importantly, online CPD could provide a boost to self-esteem and provide the challenge that will urge us to feel hopeful about a future normality where we can put our new knowledge into practice.

We are using this newsletter to focus on what is new in relation to our own online CPD offer and what we are doing in the short term to add to and ensure we can still provide the training courses booked for this term. We also want to introduce a new course focusing on mental health and how we can support all staff to be positive and stay mindful and well during the next few weeks and months.

Whatever comes next in the process of easing restrictions, returning to school and moving towards a new normal, it is important to remember that learning is at the heart of a school and that includes how those who lead, manage and teach have access to continuous learning in order that they can provide high quality pedagogy, a deep and rich curriculum and a safe environment for learners.

CPD in a cloud of learning - Our Virtual Learning Platform is now available

Learning how to coach has given every single member of the Learning Cultures' team the positivity and creativity to find solutions to this very weird situation we all find ourselves in.  We can't and probably won't be able to for some time, travel to and gather in hotels and other venues for training, meetings, or coaching sessions.  So, what we have decided to do is to bring our considerable expertise and wealth of highly praised materials and resources to an online Moodle platform.

CPD is essential to all those in the education profession.  We advocate that the sharing of good and outstanding practice as part of a process of continuous improvement should be an important aspect of school life. Even that most simple and cost-effective way of learning from each other is not happening for many professionals who are now working from home for much of the time. We have six courses available as part of the first of our CPD in a Box sequence which include something for leaders and managers, for subject leaders and for teachers.

We are also offering some of the courses we would have been running in the summer term as virtual training opportunities where you will have a trainer presenting just as they would in an actual training room and time to complete the activities in between.  We plan to offer these courses as two, two and a half hour sessions over two days. We will provide the materials you will need virtually and in the post.

The cost will be £145.00 + VAT which is 50% of the cost of coming out to one of our courses in a hotel or conference centre.  You will receive the same level of personal interaction from the trainer through an online platform, all of the resources and interactive cards and proformas and a link to many other research materials and publications.  We have an enviable reputation for providing quality learning experiences for participants.  Everything will be the same, except sadly we can't provide lunch and all the delicious biscuits and pastries that usually accompany our training courses.

Transition in the Spotlight - how to support pupils moving school at the end of this extraordinary summer

Online training is available on 23rd and 30th June.

Thinking about transition is an essential component of strategic planning in a school. The dip in performance of pupils as they progress from school to school or across key stages is profound and can be anything up to 40% from the end of the school year in one school to the end of their first year in a new school.  Turning that dip into successful progression could have a significant impact on whole school improvement. 

This year the same issues will be there but so much more needs to be taken into consideration with many pupils missing large chunks of their learning, not seeing friends and losing the rhythm of routine and structure. Starting a new school is a daunting prospect and all of us who teach know that even after many years of experience there is always that anxiety and trepidation the night before a new term or year begins.  If that is the case for us as teachers how much more nervous are pupils?

Our Moving on - from Key Stage 1 to 2 and Crossing the Bridge - Transition from Key Stage 2 to 3 are very popular courses. We have redesigned them to take account of some of the issues that will come to the fore as schools plan to welcome new pupils in year 3 or year 7 in September.  We are running these courses as online courses this term and as both offsite and online in the autumn.

We are the leading provider of CPD linked to transition and our courses are a rich mix of professional learning, practical tasks and opportunities to share in the research and understand the issues and the solutions to creating seamless learning across the transition bridge. We have an online course available on 23rd and 30th June where participants will have an opportunity to listen and watch videos, share some of our outstanding resources and focus on how to create seamless learning across the transition bridge.  The cost is £145.00 + VAT a discount of 50% on our offsite courses. For those who wish to join us for an online training session this term the cost can be discounted from the price of an offsite course in the autumn if you would like to attend both.

Coaching for Pastoral Leaders - learning the skills to support pupils as they find their way to return to school

Pastoral care will have to be very carefully managed as pupils start to return to school later this year.  The role of year heads and tutors is pivotal and their understanding of how to manage the mental health and well-being of the pupils in their care is critical.  We know through in-depth research and great experience that using coaching approaches can have a dramatic impact on how pupils deal with the difficult situations they may have faced and the anxiety that will undoubtedly play its part in their ability to learn and interact.

 Where pastoral leaders and year heads learn how to coach, they have a range of skills to support individual pupils to share their fears, to articulate their anxieties and feel confident that they are safe.  Delegates will learn how to listen and hear what is said and what is not said. We focus on how to become skillful at using questioning to create opportunities for dialogue that allows pupils to open up and talk about their experiences. We look at how through essential influencing skills we can support pupils to help themselves to feel more self-assured about their situation and their future.

We are offering our Coaching for Pastoral leaders training course online on 25th June and 4th July. We have now completed several of our courses as online versions and we have been impressed with how successful they have been.  The technology available to us all means that we are still in the room and can present and provide opportunities for interaction.  It works far better than we could have hoped so join us and learn how coaching is an exciting skill to develop for all those who have a role within the pastoral team in your school. We are offering this course for £145.00 + VAT. For those who wish to join us for an online training session this term the cost can be discounted from the price of an offsite course in the autumn if you would like to attend both.

Leading and Managing Change - how learning to coach can have a significant impact for the future

Leading a school at the moment brings its own significant challenges. Developing a range of coaching skills maybe the answer. Coaching supports leaders to manage time more efficiently, plan and prioritise with clarity and create a positive perspective that will support managing the significant changes we are all having to make. Maybe more importantly coaching can also help with ensuring that leaders and their teams can work together cohesively albeit sometimes remotely. The essence of coaching is in the ability to develop trusting relationships where purposeful and structured dialogue leads to clearly defined goals, where decisions are made and the path to well-defined outcomes is carefully laid out to ensure success. 

Opportunities for face to face meetings have been replaced with virtual ones. Using a coaching approach to these meetings can ensure structure, discipline in terms of who speaks and much more thought into what is said in relation to the purpose of the meeting.  Coaching questions are direct, require an answer and are to the point. They go to the very heart of the issues and decisions required from the meeting.  The listening skills a coach will develop are profound, deep and invaluable in all sorts of situations. Being a good listener is revealing and provides the listener with negotiating skills that ensure what is required it achieved.

Join us for our Leading a Coaching School – Where professional dialogue fosters high quality learning and achievement'

We are running this course to support leaders through this time. All our online courses are split into two half days rather than over a whole day. We will provide the same outstanding resources and professional presentations and we will be there in person for discussions during the sessions and afterwards.  The only thing we can't provide is an excellent lunch and delicious pastries and biscuits.  That's down to you.

The dates for the two half day sessions are 10th and 14th July.  The cost for the course is £195.00 + VAT. For those who wish to join us for an online training session this term the cost can be discounted from the price of an offsite course in the autumn if you would like to attend both.

Managing Curriculum Implementation - a subject leader's perspective on our Moodle platform

The role of the subject leader is pivotal in ensuring the implementation of the curriculum marries with the vision and delivers outstanding results across all subjects and the wider curriculum. One of our first online Moodle courses is Defining and Enhancing the Role of the Subject Leader - a 'deep dive' into subject specific implementation.  This course comes as a five section training experience where all your subject leaders can enhance their knowledge and understanding of curriculum design and how to empower their teams to deliver powerful learning. This course is built on a Moodle platform. There are video presentations, whiteboard animation, activities and associated resources, links to further research and publications and a multiple-choice quiz at the end of each section that will provide an opportunity for reflection and a chance to look again across the relevant section to reinforce the learning.

The course can be used as an INSET over a whole day or each section will stand alone so that the course can be delivered over two half days or five twilight sessions.  There is a wealth of CPD materials here that can be cascaded widely to each member of the subject leader's team.  We focus on current research into curriculum design and delivery to ensure that every subject leader has the tools to build a consistent and coherent subject offer that dovetails into cross-curricular themes and concepts.

The course has been discounted by 30% to £695.00 + VAT and this includes up to 10 users who will have their own login details. Order your copy here.

The other five courses we have available through Moodle are:

Motivational Learning for Pupils - some tips and ideas for encouraging deep learning at home

We have published some articles recently focusing on some tips for teaching pupils remotely.  We recommend using coaching skills as much as possible as part on the process of trying to motivate individuals to want to learn independently.  The more the learning is linked to their own experience where they have the opportunity to be creative or explore possibilities the more likely they are to remain ready to investigate and find out more.

The articles are listed here, each one is linked to where you can find them on our website.

We are planning another series of these before the end of this term.  Keep having a look on our website to read our weekly news posts.

How are you feeling? Our new mental health online training course for all in schools across the land

Mental health is high on the agenda as we all come to terms with the isolation of quarantine, the lack of interaction with colleagues and the underlying anxiety that living through a pandemic obviously creates. We have developed a new course that focuses on the need to have a clearly mapped out strategy that ensures the mental health and wellbeing of staff and pupils is protected and nurtured.  There is a duty of care that is clearly referenced in the latest OFSTED handbook and DfE statutory documentation. Succeeding in creating a culture of positive well-being we know will have a sustainable impact on continuous school improvement and now is the time to focus on how to support all staff as we begin the long road back to normality.

Our new mental health online training course brings together the steps that key personnel should take to ensure that mental health and well-being provision complies with statutory recommendations and ensures the very best possible environment for teaching and learning to take place. It will also highlight examples of exemplary practice from all phases, as well as offering advice and resources that can be used by frontline support staff in their well-being related roles. There will also be a workshop opportunity for delegates to carry out an audit of their own school or academy’s current position and to plan for any improvements needed to comply with OFSTED recommendations and to be ready for the full return to school life. 


Books I have been reading this summer to reinforce the deep messages that are there in all of our online and hopefully future offsite courses.

  • Putting Staff First: A blueprint for revitalising our schools by John Tomsett and Jonny Uttley
  • Teaching Walkthrus: Five-step guides to instructional coaching by Tom Sherrington and Olver Caviglioli
  • Total Quality Management in Education by Edward Sallis
  • The Teacher's Toolkit by Paul Ginnis
  • Assessment for Learning Without Limited by Alison Peacock
  • Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor
  • Outstanding Formative Assessment: assessment by culture and practice
  • A guide to student centred learning by Donna Brande

I am reading the second book of the Cazalet novels by Elizabeth Jane Howard. It is a bit light and definitely a holiday type read but I have been reading a lot on non-fiction over the past few months including The Lost Years by Polly Toynbee and David Walker which is a very interesting read especially the last chapter which is called Next steps, which probably now needs rewriting!


 We are pretty light on policy at the moment. However,

  • the DfE are offering online resources and charity grants to help schools and colleges respond to the impact of Corona Virus on mental health and well-being
  • the DfE are providing regular updates about the next steps for the opening of schools
  • OFSTED are also giving regular updates and inspections of schools and colleges remains suspended
  • OFSTED are undertaking an exploratory review of the quality of learners' experience of on line learning in FE
  • The Education Endowment Foundation have just published a report into the impact on school closures on the attainment gap