Professional Development

The Brentwood professional learning community is one where everyone strives to learn continually from and with each other. This is underpinned by two key principles.

Our first and most important principle is that we really value our teachers and so we invest heavily in them. Teachers can expect industry-leading professional support:

  • All teachers undergo a thorough induction programme and for those new to a role will be assigned experienced mentors.
  • We invest in unqualified teachers so that they can complete their initial teacher training and achieve related professional qualifications.
  • Our newly and recently qualified teachers enjoy an enhanced school-centred training programme
  • Experienced teachers are encouraged to explore their pedagogy by going on external courses, through undertaking further professional qualifications such as MEds and EdDs or carrying out supported action research projects.
  • All teachers are encouraged and supported in developing their leadership skills and qualities, both inside and outside the classroom. 
  • For all of our teachers, we run a range of whole day, twilight and lunchtime training sessions covering a wide variety of educational topics.

Teacher-centred Research And Development Education (TRADE)

Our second principle is that teachers have the knowledge and understanding of their own professional priorities to be given the time and autonomy to take ownership of their development. A key part of our Research & Development work is our Practitioner Enquiry programme. 

Practitioner Enquiry Programme

  • Staff use their own Professional Development Plans to decide on an enquiry focus specific to them and their students.
  • This focus can be on classroom practice, pastoral matters or Co-Curricular sessions
  • Staff are placed in Learning Communities based on commonalities across enquiries so as staff can support each other and learn together
  • Learning Communities are facilitated by our staff who are trained by the Institute of Education’s London Centre for Leadership in Learning. These facilitators are then certified by the IoE.
  • Enquiries are shared through our annual Ideas Fair, our new in-house publication, external education magazines and education conventions.

Research and Development

Here we aim to provide all our staff with an individualised Professional Development (PD) experience, tailored to their specific needs and interests. Our goal is to provide an extensive programme which challenges and educates our staff. We wish to promote our teachers as learners as through this we instil an ethos of ‘lifelong learning’ which ultimately filters down to and sets a good president for our students. 

The themes for our Research and Development Programme are directly influenced by whole school priorities and staff input. The programme allows our staff to carry out an in-depth exploration into one element of pedagogy for the duration of an academic year. 

Through this R&D programme, we aim to promote evidence-based teaching practice. We do this through the R&D sessions which run each half term. These sessions provide staff with the opportunity to engage with current research on a topic of their choosing and if they wish to, carry out action research projects of their own. The findings of these projects are then used to inform school policy on an individual, departmental and even whole school level. 

There are a number of strands of enquiry which the R&D programme is following on topics such as Growth Mindset, Effective Data Tracking, Marking and Feedback, Handwriting, Gender in Education and Metacognition to list just a few.

Digital Training

Brentwood School aims to embrace the many benefits of the digital world in the classroom. All pupils and teachers have a personal iPad and as a school we use Google Suite for Education for workflow.

Digital training is absolutely essential in order to ensure that we are making the most of our systems and devices.

Staff training is usually carried out in small groups in the form of elective workshops. External trainers also spend time with individual groups of teachers and departments.

Our training programme also involves TeachMeets, a training website and ample opportunities to link aspects of pedagogy to use of digital devices.

Our Digital Training Centre

Recent Training That Took Place At The School

  • TeachMeet - opportunity to discuss use of tech in the classroom
  • Use of Data
  • Edukey
  • Technology in the classroom
  • Digital Training
  • Challenge and Engagement in the classroom
  • LD & Assessment grades
  • Meeting the needs of all learners
  • ASD Awareness
  • Making the most of lesson observations
  • Effective assessment & marking
  • Report writing
  • Questioning in the classroom
  • Appraisal and supporting colleagues
  • Pastoral Care
  • Mentor & NQT training
  • Behaviour and classroom management
  • Using your voice effectively
  • What is good evidence? Evidencing each of the teacher standards
  • Difficult conversations and communicating with parents 

PGCE and ECT Training

Initial Teacher Training and ECT Induction
Brentwood School invests heavily in the training of new teachers and their induction. We have worked closely with the University of Buckingham for our salaried trainees for a number of years and, as a result, all Subject Mentors are experienced and qualified. We currently train approximately six PGCE trainees each year who then go on to complete their ECT Induction, overseen by the Independent Schools Teacher Induction Panel (ISTIP).

Brentwood School offers trainee teachers the chance to work in a friendly and innovative school where they are able to learn the rigours of being a successful teacher. The Professional Coordinating Mentor (3-18) oversees the training of all student teachers and ECTs and ensures that the training offered is of the highest standard. Brentwood School offers tailored in-house training programmes for PGCE and Early Career Teachers.

Initial Teacher Training
Brentwood School recruits a number of unqualified teachers. For many, this represents an attractive pathway into teaching as such positions are salaried (circa £27,000) and all training costs (circa £7,000) are sponsored by the school, resulting in a PGCE qualification with QTS. We welcome applications from well-qualified graduates or those in their final year of university who are on track for a 2.1 or 1st class degree.

In addition, Brentwood School works in partnership with UCL Institute of Education, King’s College London and University of Brighton to offer PGCE School Experience placements.

Brentwood School is also proud to be working in partnership with two national School Centred Initial Teacher Training providers (the National Modern Languages SCITT and the National Mathematics and Physics SCITT) as the lead school for their North East London and Essex Hub.

Early Career Teachers
Each ECT has an experienced induction tutor, dedicated mentoring time, regular observations of teaching and feedback, and release time (10% in Year 1, 5% in Year 2)  in order to complete training activities. There is a full programme of in-school training for ECTs as well as external training events.

Induction is an opportunity given during the first two years of teaching to build on the knowledge and skills already acquired to provide the tools to be an effective and successful teacher. It helps to embed an ethos of continued professional development (CPD) and career development, which in turn helps you to give your best to our pupils. It thus makes a real and sustained contribution to school improvement and to raising classroom standards.

Further Learning Opportunities

As well the many and varied opportunities for professional development organised internally, Brentwood School also encourages teachers to engage in external CPD. 

A significant proportion of colleagues in any one year will attend training events, courses, conferences, examination briefings etc. The process of application is designed to be simple and efficient whilst also strongly encouraging and supporting staff to disseminate their learning further upon return.

Every year a number of colleagues also engage in more extensive study and research opportunities such as MEd, EdD and PhD qualifications, and the school can usually support such individuals to make the most of their learning experiences.

In addition to the many learning opportunities in school, there is a myriad of organisations beyond school to help teachers with their professional development. 

  • MOOCs - massive open online courses. These are learning platforms, generally developed by consortia of higher education establishments around the world, that offer users free access to a wide variety of courses - covering subject-specific topics, numerous aspects of pedagogy and leadership and management techniques. Online courses use a combination of videos, animated presentations, online readings, assessments such as quizzes and assignments, and interactive user forums.
  • External training providers - there are numerous external training providers that run courses on all aspects of pedagogy. Click here to explore the courses available from the most popular providers and the goodcpdguide search engine provided by the Teacher Development Trust.
  • Trade Unions - as well as offering advice and support, trade unions offer their members (and non-members) a wide variety of training courses and teacher resources. Explore those offered by the leading unions here.
  • Exam boards - training sessions run by exam boards offer an invaluable insight into the content, structure and assessment rationale of the specifications they offer. Explore those offered by the leading exam boards here.

Brentwood Stories