Lead Practitioner accreditation as a milestone of achievement

Lead Practitioner accreditation as a milestone of achievement
Adele Hawksworth is Gosport & Fareham Multi-Academy Trust’s Librarian and SSAT Lead Practitioner.

Adele has a proven record of impact in promoting reading for pleasure, reading across the curriculum, reading support and in facilitating best practices in research, with an emphasis on coordinating support staff teams in driving impact across the curriculum both within school and across the region.


Adele Hawksworth applied and was successfully accredited as a Lead Practitioner (LP) in 2014. Adele’s school, Bay House School and Sixth Form had a thriving LP programme for teachers and as Adele herself points out in her evaluation of LP accreditation at the time “as a support staff member, LP accreditation was a slightly different concept for our school”. Adele went on to say “LP was an inspiring programme to be involved in, helping me to consider how to involve the support staff team in developing learning and in driving impact across the school in teaching and learning.”

Adele did not rest on her laurels upon gaining LP accreditation, however, seeing it as a milestone of achievement on her journey to professional develop her own and colleague’s practice from a range of contexts.

As a consequence of this approach, Adele sought LP re-accreditation in 2021 through describing and evidencing her continued growth as an educator and the extension of her impact across Gosport and Fareham Multi Academy Trust (GFM). Exemplifying her work for re-accreditation, Adele provided evidence of impact through the GFM Virtual Library where she leads the team promoting reading for pleasure, reading across the curriculum, reading support and facilitating best practices in research.

The following extract from Adele’s re-accreditation application demonstrates her relentless development of reading initiatives across the schools.

“I’ve undertaken a great deal of evidence-based research, to gain an understanding of how best we can support reading across the curriculum. The work of Alex Quigley (Closing the Reading Gap and Closing the Vocabulary Gap, 2018, 2020) has formed an integral part of my thinking around how to tackle the multi-discipline reading demands placed on students as they move from learning to read in primary school to reading to learn in secondary school.

Lead Practitioner – Discover

Quigley (2020) also suggests that if pupils can’t read fluently, knowledgeably and strategically, then we can plan the best, richest curriculum, but they will not be able to access it. It challenged my thinking that instead of text being simplified or ‘dumbed down’ for our weaker readers, we should be ensuring that our classrooms are language rich and challenging, and that this can only be achieved through the sharing and use of access strategies.

Along with the work of Quigley, I was interested to learn more about tiered vocabulary, a concept of Isabel Beck and Margaret McKeown (Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction, 2013). Their idea of categorising words into Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3, according to their level of utility, fitted well with the work of Quigley and led me to think about the access strategies we could adopt to address gaps in vocabulary and assist with students being able to make connections across multiple subjects. This research was the foundation for delivering professional learning across our Multi-Academy Trust (including the primary, secondary and special phase schools) and to the National Education Union (NEU).

When leading on the PL session within the MAT, I was keen to present a clear vision of the impact all staff could have in the teaching of reading and vocabulary. One of the problems I anticipated was the uncertainty around the responsibilities for teaching reading and vocabulary in the secondary phase, but also that it was important our primary sector gained a greater understanding of the reading demands across multi-disciplines at secondary school, so that some strategies could be usefully embedded at this stage and transitioned through to the secondary phase.

As suggested by Doug Lemov in Reading Reconsidered (2016), some teachers feel anxious about being measured on something they don’t fully understand; so, I strove to combine what I had learnt about teaching reading and how I envisaged teachers playing an integral role in making those changes. My aim was to clarify background context, provide the real benefits of the strategies being recommended (referring to high impact, low effort), followed by clear examples of how the strategies can work in the classroom, whilst at the same time, being mindful of workload challenges. Whole school templates that could be used and adapted to suit individual teachers/departments and the needs of the students were subsequently shared beyond my professional learning (PL) sessions. 92.2% of attendees rated the sessions as good or excellent, with a commitment to incorporating new techniques and approaches in their practice.

Impact measures following the PL sessions include collection and analysis of learner voice to inform the next stages of our priorities in the future.

One of the greatest challenges in 2020 with regards to reading has been school closures and health and safety limitations on their re-opening. Covid restrictions greatly impeded the freedoms of our students accessing the library and reading materials. I had already identified a need to create a platform to share our reading, but had only got so far as Twitter and Instagram. The school closures in March 2020, provided me with an opportunity to develop and build a Virtual Library, from which we could continue to share reading, research and online resources such as e-books and audio books with our school communities, and provide a service that could run alongside the provision to deliver books to homes for our more vulnerable and pupil premium students.

In my article written for the GFM Research Journal, on “Closing the Reading Gap”: reading to learn in a secondary school environment, I reported that “Good literacy is the single most important educational building block from which all other learning follows” (Topping, 2018: What Kids are Reading.) Information from the National Literacy Trust reports that “lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child they won’t be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and as a parent they won’t be able to support their own child’s learning. This intergenerational cycle makes social mobility and a fairer society more difficult”.

I continue to look for new avenues to share my expertise and experience, and develop people from all walks of life in engaging with literary events, literacy services and the broader arts, culture and education communities to expand their horizons and allow anyone, irrespective of background, to flourish and grow.”

Adele’s moderator for re-accreditation commented:

“With reading a priority on the School Improvement Plan and the libraries playing an integral role in embedding a strong reading for pleasure culture, Adele identified the need to further support the ongoing challenges of reading across the curriculum, looking to extend provision to provide support in high impact, low effort reading strategies, across all subject areas.

In all the examples cited, Adele has shown creativity, accepted responsibility and taken ownership. She has successfully led an area of change that although ongoing, is leading towards whole school improvement in the area of reading. Undeterred by the pandemic, Adele has developed and built an impressive Virtual Library, running alongside the provision to deliver books to their more vulnerable and pupil premium students. She has also written an article for the Trust research publication on Closing the Reading Gap.

Adele clearly reflects the LP standards in her approach to teaching and learning and it is obvious that she is constantly considering next steps.”

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