Taking time out to talk

Janina Aitken has seen results at Burlington Danes improve dramatically and the school come out of special measures since she joined the staff as a newly qualified PE teacher two years ago.

As it becomes an academy, she believes the small school idea can now take it a stage further.

It will mean sharing office space with maths, science and design technology teachers from the same small school, dramatically broadening her contact with colleagues.

"Under the old model I didn't find much time at all to sit down and talk to teachers of other subjects," she said.

"As a PE teacher, lunchtime and after school clubs meant you didn't tend to leave the department."

Miss Aitken (pictured) is also looking forward to having the opportunity to observe lessons in other subjects for the first time.

"I will be able to see how a teacher deals with a certain student that I might be having particular issues with in PE and see strategies and practice that I can take forward. I think it will be really good."

The management structure should also help. Each small school has a head with no teaching timetable and a deputy who teaches only half of the time.

Administrative duties are left to the academy principal.

This gives teachers someone senior to turn to, who knows about their pupils and has the time to help if things go wrong.

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