NewsTeacher and Pupils

Teachers interested in motivational professional development are being encouraged to sign up for two exciting professional learning opportunities.

The Outstanding Teacher Programme (OTP) and the Improving Teacher Programme (ITP) are practical and interactive courses committed to taking professional development in education to a higher level.

Both programmes have a strong track record of success in schools, with more than 200 practising teachers in Wales already benefiting from its unique collaborative approach.

Working with other teachers, participants are supported to challenge their own thinking about teaching and learning in a supportive and reflective environment.

Junnine Thomas-Walters, from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education, will be working in partnership with schools and OLEVI, the International Centre for Learning and Teaching, to deliver the OTP and ITP programmes.

To date, the university has facilitated programmes for colleagues in Swansea, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Powys and Ceredigion – but there is scope for further expansion and facilitators are keen to work with partners across the country.

Designed by OLEVI and facilitated by experienced teachers and lecturers, the OTP and ITP programmes were utilised to good effect in the respected London and City Challenge projects and are endorsed by the National College in England.

The programmes are particularly effective because they not only support teachers and leaders in their professional development, but they provide mechanisms and a framework that empowers them to ensure improvement becomes ongoing and sustainable.

The OTP programme comprises three full days and three half days over a ten week period, involving group sessions delivered in a host school along with ‘in school practice’ undertaken in delegates’ home schools and a partner schools.

Throughout the programme, delegates will be able to apply their learning and engage in the observation of peers.

Participants will focus on a range of aspects of teaching and learning such as challenge, engagement, assessment, differentiation, questioning, planning and coaching.

The ITP comprises six sessions over six weeks, with delegates grouped into triads to enable an intensive learning and support experience that focuses on individual need. Sessions include observations, practical activities, feedback and colleague mentoring.

There is also an opportunity for the ‘Power of Coaching’ programme, which is run within the OTP, to be run as a separate programme.

The next series of programmes, which can be run through the medium of Welsh or English, commence in the spring term and applications are now open.

Ms Thomas-Walters, Yr Athrofa’s OTP/ ITP strategic lead, said: “I am delighted that we have had such a success to date with the facilitation of OTP and ITP. They are programmes which exemplify quality and integrity enabling teachers to become consistently and sustainably outstanding.

“Feedback from the programmes is consistently excellent and the engagement of teachers on both programmes is inspiring.

“I am delighted that we have succeeded in creating our first bespoke delivery school, Cwmtawe Community School, who recognised the potential of the programmes for their own staff and for the benefit of their pupils and who also wanted to make a difference to other teachers.”

Lee Hitchings, headteacher of Cwmtawe Community School, in Neath Port Talbot, said: “We have been working closely with UWTSD for the past two years delivering OLEVI’s OTP and ITP across the ERW region.

“To date 50% of our teaching staff have received training and both programmes have had a significant impact on our school. They have raised the quality of teaching and learning; equipping staff with strategies and skills and increasing confidence to be more experimental in planning.

“The triad planning element has been overwhelmingly successful, with staff engaging with colleagues outside their subject areas, taking ownership of each other’s lessons and having in-depth conversations about effective and creative planning. Lesson observation feedback sessions have further highlighted an improvement in quality and insightful self-reflection.

“Furthermore, the use of triad planning has promoted an ‘open door’ ethos where staff are willing to be observed to support the professional development of colleagues.”

Programmes cost between £590 (ITP) and £620 (OTP) and for more information, contact Lesley Morgan, professional learning administrator, on or 01792 482070.

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