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It is all change this term for Learning Cultures, we have a new website and new training suite The Coaching School; so that we can offer training and development opportunities for small groups in the beautiful 15th century market town of Bridgnorth in the even more stunning county of Shropshire. We are growing and our success is built on the quality of the training we offer and the expertise of our trainers, researchers and educational professionals.

CPD is not an option for schools, it is an essential part of creating outstanding lessons, powerful leadership and innovative strategies for ensuring all learners are motivated to achieve their full potential. It is however, important that the training and development on offer to schools is linked to the vision and to the school development plan and there needs to be evidence that there will be an impact on school improvement.

All our training courses are designed to provide those who attend with skills they can share with others, with resources that they can take back to use again and with tools that will support planning, self-reflection and ongoing change. Our offer is carefully crafted to ensure that the training is cost effective and will make a difference to the individual, their team and to the whole school. We use the most up to date research and focus closely on current policy and its relevance in relation to training and development. We have looked closely at the current imperatives in relation to curriculum change, assessment and accountability challenges and the need to focus on how to ensure learners are resilient, motivated and independent.

Enjoy the school holiday!



Don't forget to book for our 4th annual conference The Art of Coaching - Creating a culture that cascades outstanding teaching and learning on 29th June 2017 at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire

Capturing the skills and talents within a school - building a coaching culture

feb2017 office

The most cost effective and positive way to build a whole school cohesive and sustainable CPD strategy is to draw on the expertise that already exists within the organisation. A school has a wealth of talent and each individual contributes their own skills and attributes to the school's success. All too often in a school setting those skills and talents are not easily shared. Most lessons remain unobserved and teachers rarely have the time to discuss their successes and achievements in the classroom or share resources and ideas that work for them. Building a coaching culture can change all that.

The principles of coaching focus on self-reflection, encouraging individuals to recognise their own strengths and their own goals for improvement. A coaching school is one where professional dialogue and the sharing and celebrating of good practice is seen as an essential part of the fabric on learning in the school. Line managers do not dwell on failure and what goes wrong but on how to learn and build from mistakes to ensure they are an integral part of the process of development and growth. There is a collective culture that builds on what works well and where every member of staff is encouraged to share and learn from others.

Learning how to coach gives educators a range of skills that support them not only with their colleagues but also as part of highly effective classroom practice. Learning how to use deep and rich questioning techniques are just as useful as part of formative assessment in the classroom as they are in influencing a colleague or team member to change their practice. Developing the skills of an active listener can have a profound impact on learning in the classroom as well as fostering trust and deeper understanding between colleagues. Learning how to draw out of others their understanding of their own strengths and challenging them to take risks or find their own solutions builds confidence and is highly motivational.  It frees the individual and moves them out of a mindset that may be stopping them from achieving their full potential.

Creating a coaching culture can also provide profound evidence for inspectors whether it be OFSTED, ESTYN or ISI. OFSTED say in their current handbook that they want to see that,

"...staff reflect on and debate the way they teach. They feel deeply involved in their own professional development. Leaders have created a climate in which teachers are motivated and trusted to take risks and innovate in ways that are right for their pupils"

Our coaching training is comprehensive, well-researched and extremely well - received. Some schools start with developing a group of willing teachers who join our Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning day, others start with developing the senior leadership and middle leader teams by attending both on one or other of our Leading a Coaching School course or our Aspiring to Leadership - a coaching event for middle leaders. Some schools start looking at the pastoral process and join us for our Coaching for Pastoral Leaders event where we look at using coaching for behaviour and developing coaching conversations with parents as well as focusing on how coaching can enhance the role of the pastoral leader. We also offer coaching programmes for subject leaders, Teaching Assistants and Support staff and for Cover supervisors. See below for our full list of coaching courses.

  • Leading a Coaching School or College
  • Aspiring to Leadership - a coaching programme for middle leaders
  • Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning
  • Coaching the NQT - Going Beyond Mentoring
  • Developing the Skills of a Coaching Ambassador - The next steps towards excellence and improvement in teaching and learning
  • Coaching for Cover Supervisors
  • Coaching for Teaching Assistants and Support Staff
  • Coaching for Subject and Faculty Leaders
  •  Coaching for Pastoral Leaders and Year Heads
  • Behaviour Management - A coaching solution
  • Psychological well-being - Promoting emotional health, mindfulness and wellbeing to optimise learning and achievement
  • Lesson Study - Improving teaching and enhancing learning through professional collaboration and enquiry
  • Mindset Matters - unlocking learning using Growth Mindset techniques
  • Creating the Expert Learner - Developing the learner voice
  • The Art of Lesson Observation

Join us at our 4th annual coaching conference The Art of Coaching -Successful Strategies for Outstanding Learning and Achievement at Woburn Abbey in the Sculpture Gallery on 29th June 2017.

New Training and coaching opportunities that build and strengthen our offer

Developing the skills of the Coaching Ambassador - an opportunity to deepen and widen a knowledge of coaching skills and techniques has been designed to support schools who have identified specific individuals and teams who will be responsible for developing a coaching culture within a school. The course will provide an opportunity for those who attend to deepen their knowledge and understanding of how coaching can have a profound impact on learning and achievement, the motivation and dedication of staff and ensuring that everyone within the organisation is working towards the same vision or goals. This is a highly interactive course that will give delegates opportunities to practice and strengthen their coaching skills and focus on how they can use a variety of models, tools and techniques to empower others to be an integral and willing part of developing a coaching culture across the school.

Coaching in the classroom - effective pedagogy and skills that foster mastery, progression, resilience and self-belief

We focus at this training course on how coaching can have a significant impact when it is applied in the context of classroom practice. Assessment is high on the agenda for schools as they find new and innovative ways to ensure that formative assessment leads to progression and allows learners to find their own solutions and make their own decisions about how they can improve. The emphasis is on stretch and challenge, depth and breadth and a focus on pupils achieving mastery of the skills they use for learning. OFSTED, ESTYN and ISI are talking to pupils in the classroom about their learning, they are much more interested in asking the question 'how did you learn that?' rather than 'what have you learnt?' It is therefore essential that pupils have the ability, the knowledge and the confidence to be able answer the question posed. Those who attend will learn a range of coaching skills and how to put them into practice in the classroom as well as learning how coaching is closely linked to other important strands and themes such as developing self-belief using the theory of Growth Mindset and building learner resilience that allows deep learning and mastery of literacy, numeracy and other learning skills. 

Coaching and the Development of a Positive Mindset for A Level Students

There is no doubt for anyone who has taught A level that there is no easy way to develop the attitudes and work ethic of students necessary to achieve well at A level study. The chances are they have good GCSE grades as a result of a lot of teacher intervention, revision and repetitive attention to the facts. This approach will not allow the A level candidate to achieve the high levels of response they will need to get the grades to progress especially if their aim is a top university. Changing these attitudes of mind and paradigm approaches to study are difficult and do sometimes lead to able students giving up too soon. This training course is designed to provide teachers with some tools and techniques to use with their A level groups to develop independent learning skills, focus on achieving the goals they have set themselves, have systems in place that will allow them to be organised and ready for higher level study and develop tactics to support them in producing work that is original, deep and incisive. This event takes some of the theories of Growth Mindset and weaves the positive coaching approaches that influence change. It is different and very interesting and will provide those who attend with a lot of food for thought and a lot of practical tools to use with students following on from the training.

Tackling mental health issues in school must be part of developing a whole school culture of positivity

The welcome announcement from Theresa May last month that funding is to be released to tackle the “completely unacceptable stigma” surrounding mental health is an important step forward in training staff in schools to help teachers recognise when pupils may be experiencing mental health issues. Well-being and resilience are at the heart of all of us feeling positive about what we do on a daily basis and what it is we want to achieve with our lives. In light of this, we have written two new training events: Psychological well-being - Promoting emotional health, mindfulness and well-being to optimise learning and achievement. This course explores psychological wellbeing (Carol Ryff) and how it is proven to significantly impact on outcomes for learners. The practical application of strategies and techniques underpinned by the above theory provides solutions to current challenges within the classroom: promoting independent learning, fostering resilience, ensuring progress at all key stages and creating the right environment for learning. With assessment and progress high on the OFSTED, ESTYN and ISI inspection agenda, our second new training course Coaching in the Classroom - effective pedagogy and skills that foster mastery, progression, resilience and self-belief focuses on whether your pupils can engage in effective dialogue about the meta-cognitive process of learning.

Two of our very popular courses are also important in supporting learners in becoming resilient and positive about themselves. Mindset Matters to Unlock Learning, one of our most popular training events during 2016, written by our inspiring trainer Jayne North also supports the ethos of positive mental health in our learners and teachers. Carol Dweck’s theory and supported research in Growth Mindset has become a buzz word and brand in education of late, of which the essence translates as positive mental attitude. We have supported many schools during INSET and delegates on our day courses in assessing the strands of Growth Mindset that can be woven into their school ethos and curriculum to build a school that is a safe and exciting place where challenge and purpose fill our days whether we are a recipient of the learning or a facilitator of that learning.

The way forward is to address the fundamental issues that cause us to suffer from any of a range of mental health issues and not to fund us to recognise those issues once they are with us. Coaching for Pastoral Leaders and Year Heads will help those with responsibility for pupil's well-being develop a range of skills that will nurture learners and allow them to grow and progress well throughout their school life. Where those involved in the pastoral process develop the skills and attributes of a coach they are far more likely to be able to support the smooth transition from key stage to key stage, provide support for learners within a year group who are not progressing as they should or understand how certain behaviours arise and can be dealt with. Remember, coaching is about allowing individuals to solve their own problems, find solutions and build on their strengths and successes; all attributes of a healthy mental state.

All four courses help to address the underlying problems that are at the heart of mental health and will support you on your journey to building a school culture that creates independent, happy learners who embrace challenge, see effort as their passport to ultimate success and understand how mistakes can lead to learning.

Formative Assessment - Planning, questioning and collaborating for progression

Formative assessment has always been an important part of the learning process. The new curriculum, new approaches to assessment and the imperative to ensure learners have mastery of the concepts, topics and subjects being taught all require the teacher in the classroom to have a sound understanding of what each learner has achieved and what they need to do next to deepen their learning and progress. This event focuses on the principles that underpin high quality formative assessment. We explore the concept of deep and rich questioning techniques, active listening skills and the kinds of techniques that are needed to create opportunities for pupils to be resilient, think for themselves and reflect on their progress in order to understand fully what they need to do next.

New research and best practice case studies have led us to update our Language of Assessment courses. After getting over the initial hurdle of 'assessment without levels', what schools need now is a sustainable and consistent approach to assessment that builds on prior learning and focuses on ensuring all pupils can progress and achieve their full potential. Join us on our new course Formative Assessment - At the heart of planning for learning and progression which will give you the opportunity to think differently about how to plan your approaches to assessment, create opportunities for progression and build assessment for learning principles that best suits the needs of pupils, your chosen approach to delivering the curriculum and the ability of your staff to manage the process.

Multi Academy Trusts - Good Practice Guide

Strategies for creating successful Multi-Academy Trusts

In December 2016 the Department of Education and the Regional Schools Commissioners published a document 'Multi-Academy Trusts Good practice guidance and expectations for growth'. Learning Cultures' have taken the main points of this 50 page document and put them into a shorter version for easy access click here to download a copy. The document draws extensively on examples of good practice from those academy trusts that are judged to be effective; from which we have tailored several of our learning events.

Governor Training - Good governance is critical in creating effective multi-academy cohesion. Creating the vision and ensuring that there is an effective leadership structure that can deliver that vision is a fundamental role of the governing board. Most MATs are made up of schools with very different character and culture who are achieving to different standards and outcomes. Creating a cohesive strategy that ensures growth, highly effective teaching, positive learning outcomes, strong financial health and a safe and secure environment for all is difficult for one school and far more challenging for groups of schools. Our expert team who have experience of working as Governors and who have a deep understanding of working with groups of schools have developed a Governor training programme that can be tailored to the needs of individual MATs.

MATs need Inspirational Leadership - when planning to influence change across the Multi Academy family of schools. Learning Cultures has built an enviable reputation of providing outstanding training for those involved in the running of a school or a collaboration of schools. The team we have are all strong leaders themselves who have led good and outstanding schools and colleges. We work closely together alongside the SLT in a school to develop our programmes so that they align closely with the strategic vision and direction of the organisation and its schools. We use the principles of coaching to develop a range of leadership skills that will allow senor leaders to build consistent cohesion and ensure a high degree of accountability from those they lead.

Culture of excellence that cascades learning and achievement across all schools within a trust. The coaching models we use focus on the importance of building on what currently works well, reflecting on priorities and the most effective ways to ensure successful change. We have drawn on extensive research to build a series of outstanding coaching programmes that create an opportunity for those who are trained to take away with them a variety of tools, models and resources that they can cascade to others, thus making the training sustainable and cost effective. It will have an impact on learning and achievement, the development of staff and the creation of a culture where individuals use coaching to celebrate what works well and who can work together to reflect on what else they need to do to improve and grow.

Click on each link to take you to our full list of off-site courses, we can tailor these or develop a specific CPD plan for a MAT or the individual schools that are part of it.

Curriculum challenge – Progress 8 and building a curriculum with breadth and balance

Changes to the curriculum in the secondary system are having far reaching consequences for planning how to ensure that the offer meets the needs of all pupils and ensures breadth and balance. The need to ensure that all pupils are showing significant progress from their starting point in year 7 is also an important consideration in making sure that pupils are able to build on prior learning and are motivated and engaged in the learning process. Progress 8 is a major change in how schools are judged in relation to how successful pupils are in achieving their full potential and the changes require a high degree of collaboration and dovetailing of what is taught across subjects, key stages and year groups so that progression and mastery is an integral part of the learning process for all.

Senior leaders, curriculum planners and those with responsibility for the timetable will benefit from attending our updated curriculum in the secondary phase event. We look in detail at the implications of the changes, the content of the programmes of study and how to create a consistent whole school approach to ensuring all pupils can access a curriculum for them and build a set of skills that will equip them for study at Key Stage 4, 5 and beyond.

Curriculum challenge – Progress 8 and building a curriculum with breadth and balance has been designed by John Price and is run by John Price or Glynis Frater who have a great deal of expertise in this area. Click on the title to book a place on the date of your choice.

You may also be interested in our course that looks in detail at the power of vocational learning that for many pupils will provide the depth and balance they need to succeed. Vocational Learning Pathways is the title, click on it to book a place.

You may also be interested in:-

  • The Importance of Key Stage 3
  • Crossing the Transition Bridge – Seamless learning from Key Stage 2 to 3


For the bookshelf:

  • This Much I Know About Mind Over Matter ... Improving Mental Health in Our Schools - by John Tomsett. Addresses the growing problem of the mental health issues experienced by children and young people, offering up a plan for averting a mental health crisis in our schools.

  • Leadership for Teacher Learning: Creating a Culture Where All Teachers Improve So That All Students Succeed by Dylan William. Leading education authority Dylan Wiliam explains how formative assessment, when applied properly, helps to increase student achievement.

  • A Welcome to a Multi Academy Trust: A Guide for Newly Appointed Trustees by Gillian Allcroft.

  • Making Good Progress?: The future of Assessment for Learning by Daisy Christodoulou. A research-informed examination of formative assessment practices that analyses the impact Assessment for Learning has had in our classrooms. It outlines practical recommendations and support that Primary and Secondary teachers can follow in order to achieve the most effective classroom-based approach to ongoing assessment.


  • STEM Education - ‘Key Indicators in STEM Education’ report focuses on several key areas, including: Trends in the numbers of individuals studying STEM GCSEs and A levels; Uptake of level 2 and 3 apprenticeships; Gender imbalance within STEM subjects.
  • Post-Brexit Industrial Strategy Green Paper. The government published a new Industrial Strategy as part of its Plan for Britain post Brexit with an emphasis on raising productivity and skill levels and building an economy that works for all.
  • Teacher shortages - The Migration Advisory Committee added three more subjects (Mandarin, computer science, general science) to the teacher shortage list but concluded there was no overall shortage of teachers in its Review of the occupation shortage list.

An evening with the Chartered College of Teaching. Regional events are being hosted for the teaching community to voice their priorities and raise issues faced in local areas. There are great things happening in education across the country, the CCT want to know about them and learn from those teaching our young people. Each 2 hour event will include a welcome from Dame Alison Peacock and Dr.Tim O’Brien on the focus group research report ‘Listening to Teacher Voice’. Table discussions, what is important to the teaching profession in your area? How can the Chartered College work with you? Sharing of findings and networking.