Sunny Gunessee is a Lead Practitioner for teaching and learning. Having recently been accredited as a Lead Practitioner by SSAT, he has been reflecting on the last 12 months, the opportunities this has provided for his professional development as well as his role in leading his school in their journey towards excellence.
Sunny has led a variety of projects within the school, including shaping and leading whole school faculty teaching and learning agendas which included reviewing content and monitoring impact. He led on improving reporting systems, facilitated by coaching conversations between tutees and tutors at specific points in the academic year. He also led a team of teachers in the creation of study support skills videos for students in KS4 and KS5 to create whole school consistency and improved resilience of exam year groups. His role in the school also meant he worked alongside PiXL on their Insight Project focusing on raising boys’ achievement. For this he led a group of ‘lead teachers’ across a range of faculties to test, trial and implement various feedback strategies. This work subsequently shaped the school improvement plan for teaching and learning during 2022/23.
However, it was SSAT’s Lead Practitioner Accreditation which allowed Sunny to truly take his leadership, innovation, and problem-solving skills to the next level. Sunny decided to take his secure understanding of sociology after fifteen years of teaching beyond the classroom and school context of JCoSS. He began working on the JCoSS Presents…Sound Sociology podcast at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which allowed him to support not only the students in his classes but beyond. The podcast has since been recognised by the British Sociological Association (BSA) and is now on their website under resources to support GCSE and A-level teachers nationally. But this was just beginning, as the relationship between Sunny and the BSA led to him working collaboratively with them to conduct forty interviews with graduates of sociology; talking to them about how sociology has shaped their career choices. This allowed Sunny to consider how sociology and careers can be intertwined and produce collaborative work which benefits the association and its graduate and alumni at the BSA. This has also been spoken about on teaching podcasts such as Tutor2U and led to other opportunities such as ‘from curriculum to careers’ which is being held by the BSA.
Further opportunities have arisen for Sunny to work alongside Nick Fox at the BSA to co-deliver at the BSA conference: Sociological Voices in Public Discourse 2023 as one of the speakers, talking about the applied nature of sociology beyond academia. Sunny has also continued to take the subject beyond his workplace setting by working with a group of sociology teachers across the country in delivering free-of-charge, subject specific national CPD. This has meant Sunny has developed his ability to network, negotiate and innovate professional development in the form of virtual events as well as national face-to-face events. A range of teaching practitioners, academics, writers and renowned sociologists have been involved in events Sunny has led over the last 12 months, gaining from his expertise and skilful delivery.
SSAT Lead Practitioner Accreditation has allowed Sunny to become more confident professionally, and have the ability to think ‘bigger’, developing an expansive vision which has gone further then he imagined. Sunny is clearly motivated and willing to keep developing his first love of sociology. However, Sunny has not allowed this to detract him from his wider role as a lead practitioner for teaching and learning, managing his workload to ensure JCoSS continues to thrive and pursue its vision of being a centre of excellence.