As one of 14 schools in the country, Bristnall Hall is a Lead Practitioner Learning Centre. Speaking with Abby Bayford, Director of Institute at Academy Transformation Trust, we learned why Bristnall Hall aimed for such status, and the SAT Lead Practitioner Accreditation programme has had across the Trust.
Starting with the Lead Practitioner role itself, Abby begins the interview by shedding some light as to why she wanted colleagues to undertake the Lead Practitioner Accreditation. Referring to the Principal at the time, Vince Green, Abby explains how his vision to establish SSAT Lead Practitioners at Bristnall Hall meant investing in coaching and identifying that coaching would be the biggest lever in raising standards across the Academy.
Laying out the roadmap to success at Bristnall Hall, staff quickly began to find roles advertised and courses for Lead Practitioners nationally, but what each of those Lead Practitioner roles didn’t have, was the professional accreditation attached. This was extremely important to all colleagues at Bristnall Hall, as they needed to ensure that all the experiences gained by staff were quality assured, and the training received aligned with the values set within the Academy itself; driving standards in a coherent and consistent way.
Trying to sum up the SSAT Lead Practitioner Accreditation programme, Abby goes on to explain “It’s a course that explores first of all, what it means to be a Lead Practitioner so that everyone has a shared understanding of the idea that, you are using your professional capacity to coach others to a higher level of performance. Really understanding that you are broadening your reach in your role as Lead Practitioner, that you are able to reach young people beyond your immediate setting or classroom. It’s a course that also looks at the qualities of a coach, looking at what it means to be one and then giving people the opportunity to engage in coaching or school improvement through a project; and then benchmarking those capabilities against the Lead Practitioner standards.”
The SSAT Lead Practitioner Accreditation standards as the spine of the programme, became an important factor for Abby and her team at Bristnall Hall as it enabled participants to evaluate their competencies at the start of the programme, and then be able to – in a granular way – identify how their competencies have and are improving; using the framework of standards to recognise colleagues also.
As the interview progresses, Abby gives us an insight into how Bristnall Hall becoming a Lead Practitioner Learning Centre, has had an impact Trust-wide. Born out of an individual Lead Practitioner project, connections have been established within the local community, with parents and carers, and the work initially done at Bristnall Hall Academy is now transferrable and can be witnessed at Kingsmoor Academy – a primary school within their Trust.
“For me, that’s what’s quite exciting about having a Lead Practitioner Learning Centre, you almost become a test bed for trying things out, really getting an idea of what the strategy looks like, and thinking about how you can transmit that practice across the Trust.”