This week, in amongst all the updates and concerns surrounding Omicron, I have been reflecting on the general feedback from the Education Strategy consultation. Many thanks to all of you that contributed to the feedback, we have valued your views and opinions and they have certainly been considered, as we prepare the paper to go to cabinet and importantly outline the delivery action plan. A particular strand and initiative from the strategy that I have been thinking about this week is the one around developing a distinctive and structured Camden offer of high-quality professional learning opportunities bespoke to individual schools and across schools. I have been considering the benefits of enhancing the structure of CPD in Camden, to bring CPD activity and the associated qualifications under an umbrella of a Camden Learning Development Academy (this is a first stab at a title) and how we can also weave in our shared intelligence to promote recruitment and retention, including an improved forensic view on succession planning.

I certainly believe that one of the many distinct strengths in Camden is the place based, school led approach to CPD that we have nurtured over time, where we encourage collaboration and ongoing learning from the leaders and teachers in our schools. As we all know good teachers make a difference and are the biggest determinant of pupil outcomes and in changing young peoples’ lives. The Chartered College of Teaching reported this week around some of the barriers to teachers accessing CPD, which included the cost to CPD and colleagues saying that they had insufficient time to take it up. When the pressure is on, there is the risk of CPD feeling like a burden and not an opportunity; I recognise the challenges, but I know that despite all the obstacles, Camden heads and governors have continued to prioritise CPD and invest in their staff.

As you all know, Camden Learning are a delivery partner for the Early Career Framework (108 ECTs on the programme) whilst also delivering two NPQs in the New Year as part of Cohort one; this is great for Camden to be leading these programmes locally. Kate Frood, Joe Edwards, Lisa Gorman and Paranie Sivachandra are the team delivering the programme, which is deeply rooted in an understanding of what schools need today and built to fit around a busy work schedule. We had the first meeting of the first NPQ cohort on Thursday, where 36 colleagues joined together for the introduction to the spring programme. I cannot tell you how proud I was to see so many enthusiastic Camden leaders on the call, where the programme will help improve teaching, leadership and crucially learner outcomes.

Finally, it is hard to believe that this is the final bulletin of this calendar year, where has it gone (no responses required!), where one quote I read said, ‘The year that ‘back to normal’ only got further away’. School leaders and your staff have been overwhelmed with the demands of the last 20 months, not only delivering quality teaching and learning, but working seamlessly with social care in keeping young people visible and meeting the needs of the local community. I would like to thank you for all your care, attention and dedication to young people and families. I hope you all manage to have a healthy and peaceful Christmas break, you all deserve it. One blessing about next week is that there will be no Ofsted inspections in schools, I will raise a glass to that!

Jon Abbey

Managing Director of Camden Learning

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