Professional Development is an important element for all staff in our academy. We work to ensure that our teaching and support staff have access to high quality training led by our own staff and with outside agencies.
Our leadership team work on the Resilient Leaders elements (see link below) throughout the year to support their development.
Mrs Mia Chadwick - Assistant Head - Leiston Primary School
Avocet has a deep rooted ethos of collaboration and it is because of this it provides clear opportunities for professional development and career development.”
Leiston Primary School - A Personal and Professional Journey
In the year following the introduction of the National Curriculum I embarked on my teaching journey. Four years later I joined Leiston Primary School as a fresh faced NQT - it was my first school and has since become my ‘forever school’.
In my years at Leiston Primary School I have had the opportunity to teach a number of different year groups. There have been times when I have worked outside my comfort zone but I’ve also spent a number of years discovering my own particular passions and areas of interest in education. Leading the Nursery as well as setting up a Nurture group to support vulnerable youngsters has been a driving force for the direction my teaching career has taken.
In 2014 Leiston Primary became one of the founding schools of Avocet Academy Trust. The Trust's belief and passion for the education of pupils in Suffolk and their commitment to ensure that all pupils get the best start and opportunities resonate strongly with me. Since joining the Trust my role in school has changed quite considerably. It has taken the vision of the Trust’s leaders for me and their confidence in my abilities to move my career in a different direction. Collaboration across our 5 schools has enabled me to develop in my role as SENCO. Knowledge, expertise and support are always available from other colleagues in the role. Yet within this we still remain a distinct Leiston family. The needs and priorities of our school are central to the direction the school takes which led to the forming of our Welfare Team to meet the needs of our children and families.
I have been given opportunities to work with outstanding leaders and colleagues in developing my own leadership skills and am now Assistant Head of School. It is a journey which has at times been very challenging and I have discovered so much about myself. The support and work of the Trust has enabled me to develop my potential through peer mentorship and more formal training such as the Resilient Leaders Development Programme. The opportunity to engage with the RLDP has brought a new level of challenge and personal development to my working life. The programme provides a level of structure and focus to explore and reflect on my own practice - exploring areas of strength and highlighting areas to be developed. The Trust has allowed for an Investment of time and thought in the focussed challenges which has resulted in personal discovery. In conjunction with this, the 360 element; asking colleagues to reflect on my leadership skills, has produced a well rounded and objective focus for personal growth. It is the challenges and tasks of this programme which have fed into the appraisal process - a highly personalised, focussed and person centred conversation.
The opportunities I have been given throughout my teaching career have been the vehicle for professional and personal challenge, reflection, development, improvement, focus - to be all that I can be and to positively affect the lives of others!
Catherine Rivera - Teacher - Easton Primary School
Shortly after their arrival we became Avocet Academy Trust along with two other local primary schools.
As a teacher for Avocet Academy I have had numerous career progression and development opportunities all beginning with a chance to work with an outstanding teacher mentor. In ten weeks I had the opportunity to ‘redo’ my teacher training with all the benefit of hindsight!
Following this I was asked to go on a one year secondment to Wickham Market Primary School. In that year I found my confidence and was given opportunities to lead, including mentoring an NQT. I took the chance to learn what I could from a new school and new staff. At the end of that year I was lucky enough to be asked to complete a further years secondment at Easton Primary School where I had the opportunity to be a SCITT mentor for the autumn term.
Throughout, the staff of Avocet Academy have worked collaboratively through shared CPD, lesson studies, regular training and workshops. Working for Avocet Academy enables me to progress my career by taking professional risks to strive for a better education for the students.
Mrs Claire Hall - Teacher - Leiston Primary School
I began my journey with Avocet Academy as a Teaching Assistant in 2014, during which time I also undertook studies for a BA Honours and a Masters Degree. Working alongside and supporting such fabulous teachers inspired me to pursue a career in teaching, with the hope of being able to positively make an impact on the lives of children in the future, just as my Avocet colleagues were.
I decided to undertake my teacher training within the academy, as I knew that the opportunity to learn pedagogical practices from outstanding teachers across several schools would ensure that I too would be provided with the best potential to also become an outstanding practitioner. My decision was the right one as I went on to achieve Qualified Teacher Status which was graded as outstanding.
My status was as a direct result of the training, shared expertise and continual professional development opportunities which I received from the across the academy; day to day experience from working within a team teaching model; and my mentorship from highly experienced, outstanding and current practitioners.
Looking to the future, I am about to embark on my fourth teaching year at Leiston Primary. By remaining at Avocet Academy I know that I will continually be provided with opportunities to thrive, and moreover, even further develop my professional knowledge and abilities through reflective practice and the flexibility to adapt my teaching approaches in response to the needs of each individual child in my class. This in turn ensures that our pupils receive the educational experiences which they so rightly deserve; a vision which is reflected in the collaborative working nature of Avocet Academy.
Teacher at Leiston Primary School