Outstanding Staff TrainingDevelopment Initiative
Winner: Conyers School, Stockton-on-Tees
This school impressed with two innovative training programmes aimed at groups that do not always get the support they need: new leaders and support staff.
Its New Leader Development Programme gives staff who have been teaching for between two and five years the opportunity to join a team that will help them to develop leadership skills.
Teachers who have joined the scheme have been matched up with a mentor, and appointed to take responsibility for an area including "stretch and challenge", "sustainability", and "21st-century learning". Each one has also been linked with one of Conyers' feeder primaries to help improve the school's liaison work.
Responsibilities they were given included taking assemblies, chairing meetings of staff, training staff in the use of new technologies, working with other departments and schools, and managing budgets.
Meanwhile, support staff have benefited from Conyers' Whole School Workforce Leadership Development Programme. This consists of a personalised development scheme for support staff who lead teams within the school. Each one is given a mentor and a support buddy, whom they meet regularly, and a log book that sets out the professional attributes to work towards. They also attend training sessions on topics including communication and emotional intelligence.
Judges' verdict: The professional development of support staff and middle leaders is often ignored, or just tokenistic. This is definitely not the case at Conyers. "The school's training programmes were first class - and judging by their strong take-up they have been appreciated by the whole school's staff," the judges said.