Continuing Professional Development


Coaching and Mentoring at Sweyne Park School

There is a long established culture of coaching and mentoring at Sweyne Park School, with many flourishing examples of learning communities having been established since the amalgamation of the Sweyne and the Park School in 1997. Over the past few years, our coaching and mentoring programmes have evolved to reflect the various schemes of support and training that have been on offer, and these have been used both in formal and informal contexts. We currently use coaching and mentoring in the following contexts:

  • For teacher training purposes, with PGCE placement trainees and GT trainees
  • For induction purposes, with newly qualified teachers and teachers new to the school
  • For completion of Teacher Learning Academy projects, with formal mentoring and informal coaching
  • Co-coaching for teachers completing Masters degrees as “buddies”
  • As an informal part of the day to day operational working of the school

We run different accredited courses for teachers at various points in the year, usually as twilight sessions. These can be for specific purposes, such as mentoring a graduate teacher, which may also require significant knowledge and understanding of the assessment criteria of the trainee’s training provider.

One of the largest developments in coaching and mentoring has been the introduction of classroom based research. Corina Seal, who is a member of the Senior Leadership team, is our lead researcher. Over the last few years, we have used the Teacher Learning Academy to help teachers carry out school and classroom based research which is focused on improving outcomes for pupils. Over 60% of staff at Sweyne Park have been accredited with a stage 1, 2 or 3. One of the key features of the TLA is that teachers must be able to prove that they have actively been engaged in coaching and mentoring in order to gain accreditation from the scheme. Another key feature of the TLA is sharing your learning and influencing others – which means that as teachers research best practice in their chosen topic focus, they have to share what they have learned with their mentor as they go along, or with a wider audience, for example their year or subject team. This means that colleagues are in frequent dialogue with their peers about what is effective practice.

Colleagues who coach and mentor are encouraged to write Portfolio notes as a record of their professional development activities with fellow professionals. Portfolio notes can be a summary of the meeting, recommendations about next steps, formative comments about performance or recognition of achievements and progress towards goals. Portfolio notes are actively used to promote an explicit ethos of support and recognition: they are positive and supportive both in nature and tone.

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