River Tees Multi Academy Trust runs academies in Middlesbrough and Gateshead offering high quality education for learners who have been excluded from school, have additional needs or are unable to attend school due to medical needs.
The Trust has a great track record of achieving outstanding outcomes for learners who face additional challenges, through a combination of academic and therapeutic approaches that ensure every learner can achieve their potential.
River Tees MAT also offers training and outreach support to other schools with the ultimate aim of helping learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to access the fullest range of opportunities both in school and within their local community.
An Online Professional Development Platform
River Tees MAT currently has four Alternative Provision academies and, in September 2022, will also have a Free Special School under the Trust umbrella. Their drive for personalised staff development and the adaption of pedagogy to remove educational barriers poses some unique challenges with regards professional development. With busy staff not only needing to deliver the curriculum, but often having to deal with ongoing multi-agency conversations and an enhanced level of personalised teaching, there are many logistical difficulties in delivering staff training.
As with any large organisation, however, staff training is absolutely essential:
Compliance & Internal Scrutiny
Regular compliance training for staff across the trust, to ensure compliance with the trust’s internal scrutiny programme, has to be delivered. Furthermore, the progress of all staff against this has to be measured and evidenced.
Investment in training and CPD
But this is not all. With its specialist SEND demographic, the trust focuses on its investment in staff and training. This includes supporting wellbeing by encouraging an appropriate work life balance and offering high quality staff development opportunities.
The trust often ‘grow their own’ in many of the roles across the business and believe in empowering staff to take ownership of their own development. The creation of courses that support progression enables the staff team to learn aspects of a role before applying or to take on training roles within the establishment.
Putting training at the centre with Frog
The roll out of Frog at River Tees MAT is supporting the Trust’s in-house training programme in a big way. Over the coming year, staff will be supported in managing their own online training, within the constraints of their busy schedules and the delivery of training in short, bite-sized chunks will help with this along with dedicated time.
From a compliance and internal scrutiny point of view, the Trust will manage all staff from a central platform. This will allow the Trust to demonstrate compliance and its approach to minimising risk.
From a staff development point of view, new and existing staff will continue to benefit from a growing catalogue of online training courses and inhouse certification. The many pockets of expertise across the trust will be centralised and made available for all staff, to the benefit not only of the academies and their staff, but ultimately to the students as well.
Quote from the Trust Standards Lead:
‘An initial conversation with Frog about a platform to deliver and record training has opened up endless possibilities of howwe can utilise the Frog platform, not just to deliver and record development but also capture appraisals and self-development.
I feel that this will also enable a flippedlearning approach for new staff at induction making the face-to-face meetings purposeful and productive rather than information giving. The possibilities are endless.’
Quote from the CEO:
‘We found that the Frog platform helped our learners and we are now excited to use Frog to support high quality staff development’.
Supporting Outreach in a New Way
River Tees MAT currently offers a range of outreach services to schools. These include:
- Staff training sessions including behaviour management, pupil mental health, Thrive and Team Teach
- Outreach support, where Trust staff complete reviews of individual pupils, staff or provision
- In-reach support where staff may be bought in to work as part of the commissioning organisation
- Consultancy, school improvement and advisory support
In addition, the senior teamwork as Specialist Leaders of Education and SEND reviewers.
While it remains important for much of this training to take place face-to-face, onsite and in classroom settings, the Trust is developing its training delivery model in order to offer online introductory training to schools and practitioners that will benefit from this.
River Tees MAT are trailblazing this use of the platform, which is now being seen not only as a platform to deliver inhouse training across the Trust, but as a way to extend outreach to professionals in other schools as well.
Current outreach programmes offered by River Tees MAT include:
- Positive Behaviour Support
- Mental Health First Aid Qualification
- Relational Behaviour Clinic
- Specialist Observation and Intervention
- Mental Health and Illness Training for Staff
- Mental Health and Illness Training for Learners
- Mindfulness Support for Staff
- Mindfulness Support for Learners
- Emotional Literacy
- Support for Learners
Please visit the River Tees MAT website for more details...