Throughout their time at Ardingly College, staff engage in frequent development opportunities, including apprenticeships, training and progression to new roles.
At Ardingly, you will meet a staff willing and open to engage, whether through informal lesson observations and peer review, or more traditional INSET. This helps us to learn from each other and new staff become especially important as we particularly welcome their ‘fresh eyes’.
The College has a keen interest in developing its own staff and believes in recruiting from within for middle manager and senior roles. Staff are identified through succession planning, where possible, and trained in readiness.
I joined as a teacher of maths, became second in department, had a year as an assistant Housemistress, was appointed as the head of the Maths department, then moved into Senior Management with five years as Head of Middle School to then become Deputy Head (Staff & Operations) and more recently Senior Deputy Head. The saying goes, you only get out what you put in; I have given a lot to this school but have been richly rewarded, both personally and professionally.
Nicola Burns, Senior Deputy Head
When I first applied, I worried that I didn’t have an independent boarding school background, but this hasn’t been an issue. I feel fully a part of school life and yet I don’t live on site – when I joined I commuted happily from Brighton, and now drive even further, from Surrey. This hasn’t held me back either, for many years I was Head of Department and then an Assistant Housemaster in a day house, which I loved, and then joined SMT in 2017.
Daniel Davies, Assistant Head, Staff Development
NEW TO TEACHING?
If you are new to teaching, the College provides a programme to support you through your first few years. We recruit highly qualified graduates into teaching roles, where they receive the close support of an academic mentor in their department and a professional studies tutor to develop wider teaching skills. If all goes well, we offer support to undertake the Buckingham PGCE in the second year of teaching. For newly qualified teachers (NQTs), an experienced mentor guides staff through the Independent Schools Teacher Induction Panel (IStip).
“In the midst of these extraordinary times, it is my pleasure to write to you on behalf of Panel, and following the IStip Quality Assurance Visit earlier this academic year, not only to thank those involved in the process, but also to inform you that the quality of NQT provision is such that IStip considers the school to be an example of best practice induction.”
Judith Fenn, Executive Director, IStip, June 2020
“Having been at Ardingly as a student at one point, it’s been an absolute pleasure for me to return this year as a teacher. My colleagues have been friendly, supportive, and welcoming from day one, and there is a real sense of community within the staff body. I love it here, and I’d encourage anyone thinking of working at Ardingly to go for it; I’m certain you’ll love it here, too.”
Ben McConnell, Teacher of Biology, Assistant Housemaster
SHARING BEST PRACTICE
We have weekly timetabled INSET for academic staff and dedicated time set aside at the start of term for training. Over the last few years this has primarily led to huge developments in our digital skills, leading to a group of ‘power users’ who trial new technologies for the College. All of this paid off enormously during the coronavirus lockdown but has also led to us using technology to enhance our teaching.
I was lucky enough to travel to China to support the development of a Kindergarten that wished to model their curriculum on the Ardingly way; highlighting the high regard for our school and the way we teach and inspire children.
Amy Venables-Kyrke, Assistant Head, KS1 and EYFS
A CULTURE OF STAFF DEVELOPMENT
Staff at Ardingly are open and keen to be involved in a learning community to improve their practice. As such, a huge amount of our staff development is delivered internally and over a long period of time. However, we have a very healthy budget to fund external training courses and every year a number of staff travel overseas to attend training events and conferences. Within school, staff are offered a range of development opportunities.
Working with small groups of teachers, staff trainers have run ongoing courses developing our use of feedback, ways to improve stretch and challenge and monitoring and assessment. We have also had a staff trainer who is qualified in transactional analysis, helping us develop the way we communicate.
Our Director of Digital Strategy and Learning is fully involved in the development of staff throughout the College. Courses are run for all levels, to introduce and extend teacher’s use of Microsoft Surfaces, both inside the classroom and also for administration. We are happy to work with new staff of any level of IT competency to develop in this area.