Unleashing expertise in our schools; securing better outcomes for children and young people

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr Kate Chhatwal as Director of Southwark Teaching School Alliance. Here she shares a bit about herself and why she’s excited to be taking up the role in September:


I started my career working in the Department for Education and Skills (as it was then known) on a strategy to improve adult literacy and numeracy. I believed – and still do – that education has the power to transform individuals and societies for the better – not just academically, but personally, socially, creatively and culturally. Having just completed a PhD in education policy, I thought the way to “make a difference” was by thinking great thoughts and writing great strategies at what I imagined was the heart of the education system.

It didn’t take me long to recognise that the real heart of the education system is our classrooms and that teachers, leaders and support staff are the ones who make the real difference. I saw it for myself visiting schools in some of the most deprived communities in England as the senior civil servant responsible for the Labour Government’s flagship National Challenge programme. And research proves it; Eric Hanushek, for example, notes how over the course of a year the best teachers “can get an entire year’s worth of additional learning out of their students compared to those near the bottom [of the quality distribution]”. He and his colleagues also demonstrated the impact of effective headteachers, which is less than the impact of the best teachers, but with benefits for more children.

I am delighted to be taking up post in September as Director of Southwark Teaching School Alliance because I will be working closely with the practitioners who are making the real difference.

For the last three years, I have overseen the design and delivery of senior leadership development programmes at The Future Leaders Trust (TFLT). As Chief Programme Officer, I have been privileged to visit scores of schools and work with hundreds of school leaders, from aspiring assistant heads to multi-academy trust CEOs. They – and my eight years’ experience as a governor and multi-academy trust trustee – have taught me a lot about what makes schools successful and the challenges they face. They also taught me how teachers and leaders can and do develop the knowledge, skills and attributes critical to their success.

A core design principle of TFLT’s programmes is that they should provide opportunities for participants to share experience and skills. This is because the deepest adult learning is achieved by teaching others. But that principle also respects the deep professionalism and reflectiveness of teachers and leaders. It is enshrined in teaching schools whose very being is predicated on the assumption that school-based practitioners are capable of generating and sharing the expertise that will enable all schools to improve. Research and evidence are important, but are no longer the sole preserve of academics.

In my role at STSA I am looking forward to working with and drawing on the unique strengths and varied expertise of schools and partners across the borough to achieve better outcomes for Southwark children and young people. I also want to ensure that the evidence and expertise we develop is shared with schools across the country, at the same time ensuring we have access to the very best practice from elsewhere.

The government’s commitment to the school-led system and the role of teaching school alliances within it provide an opportunity for every professional to contribute to system leadership. Let’s seize the opportunity we have to shape the system around us for the benefit of children and young people in Southwark and beyond.

STSA – End of year celebration!!

13th JuneThank you to everyone who attended our End of Year Celebration!  It was a fantastic evening and it was wonderful to see so many of you there!  During the evening, schools had the opportunity to learn about the different projects that we are running next year and a chance to discuss ideas with other headteachers including our NLEs and SLEs.  We also all had the opportunity to listen to and discuss ideas with Russell Hobby (General Secretary NAHT)  who shared his views on the current educational climate.  The evening was hosted by PWC who provided the refreshments for the evening.  We shared the many successes of STSA in its first year including the following highlights from 2015/2016:

33 – schools engaged with us

20 – CPD opportunities

39 – School Direct students trained

20 – teachers set to achieve NPQSL

6 – schools took part in a lesson study project

4 – schools engaged in peer review

13 – Specialist Leaders of Education recruited, trained and now supporting in schools.


Supporting Parental Engagement

At STSA we are always looking at ways to support schools in involving parental engagement.  We are now beginning to create a network of practitioners who are involved in working with parents and we are beginning to meet regularly meet to share good practice.  If you are interested in joining this group, please email enquiriesstsa@gmail.com.  Below is an account of a current research based parental engagement project which looked at the benefits of family learning.


Learning Together – at Charles Dickens Primary School!


Since January 2016, we have been running the Learning Together programme.  This is an exciting and effective programme to support both pupils and parents in learning together.  The aim of the programme is to provide learning opportunities for both the parent and the pupil to be involved in.  Parents have welcomed the opportunity to have time to spend 1:1 time with their child and to learn about strategies that can improve children’s learning.  The children have also really enjoyed the sessions and have enjoyed sharing their learning with their parents.


Here are some examples of sessions that we ran. For our first session we all worked together to create some origami masterpieces.  We had lots of fun creating dogs, cats and even penguins!  The children really enjoyed themselves and learnt a lot about following origami instructions.  It was a challenge as they had to fold the paper carefully and use their reading skills to follow the instructions.   Other creative workshops have included decorating mugs, decorating plates and making baskets.


To develop ICT skills Mr Bakas ran a session on the best Apps for Ipads and the children and parents worked together to create animations.  We also spent a number of sessions concentrating on puzzles by creating our own jigsaws and wordsearches.


We have also spent a lot of sessions working on cooking skills and many of the parents have led these sessions.  We have made pancakes, banana fritters, fruit salad, coconut ice and papaya and avocado smoothies.  Cooking is a wonderful way for parents to support children’s learning as it involves many skills.  For example, children need to be able to read and write recipes and measure out ingredients.




1 day NLP course for teachers

Over the last 10 years the skills, tools and techniques from NLP have been increasingly useful for teachers in the classroom and with parents and colleagues. NLP can have a real impact on learning to learn and teaching, enabling teachers to become more reflective and skilful leaders of learning’.

Techniques taught in the Evolution NLP for Teachers’ Workshops are highly effective in supporting teachers with an understanding of how the brain works, and how learning happens best. NLP is helpful in a range of leadership activities, as well as in managing and supporting pupils directly. The skills are extremely useful in self management and helping develop a wealth of positive resources to support delivery at a high level.
NLP Development

NLP was developed using scientific methodology and is delivered by the Evolution Trainers in an open and approachable manner. NLP teaches you easy to follow clear methodologies and procedures to ensure that our courses will bring positive change, understanding and personal development.

Some of The Benefits for Teachers from Learning NLP

• Teachers are able to create rapport easily and consistently
• NLP builds resilience in teachers
• NLP supports learning to learn strategies
• Exclusion rates fall rapidly as support staff have more tools and techniques to use

At EVOLUTION TRAINING we have had 17 years of experience in training to individuals and all sizes of organisations, including many schools and colleges, in ‘how to’ techniques that work and let you see how to do things differently.

We work in partnership with schools to deliver the NLP content dovetailed to the schools needed and outcomes. Our key question is ‘What do you want your staff to be able to do that they are not doing now?’

With the help of our training you can develop highly effective teachers and it is easier than you could imagine

NLP for Teachers with Roger Terry


‘Lots of tools and techniques to help me with my teaching and classroom behaviour management ’
Claire – AST
‘The most valuable training I have ever had. It will help me, and it will help me make my team be more effective’
Andrea – Head of Support Staff
‘Through the years, Evolution Training Ltd. has been on time and on budget with their projects for our company. I recommend them without hesitation and will hire them again.’
Richard Churches, – CfBT Education Consultant
NLP for Teachers training day – 7th May at Surrey Square Primary School

o Modelling excellence
o Mind body link
Rapport Skills
o Read the signs
o Rapport Principles and exercises
o Group Rapport and exercises
Communication model
o How the brain processes incoming information
o Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic modes an NLP perspective
o Techniques for engagement
Managing behaviour in the classroom
o Conditioning behaviour
o State control
o Stage anchors

Our courses are comprised of short talks and practical exercises designed with NLP and accelerated learning in mind. To allow you learn and practice the skills so that you can put what you have learned into practice immediately.
Roger Terry CBiol MBS, INLPTA – Director of Training and Development

Roger Terry is a leader in the application of NLP to realise both professional & personal excellence. With twenty years experience and the rare accolade of International NLP Master Trainer, he can truly be referred to as an expert in the science. He has the benefit of both scientific and organisational backgrounds, which are much in evidence in the construction and concise delivery that is the hallmark of all his training. He engenders new strategies and mindsets, provides powerful, thought-provoking practical experiences, which create profound advances in communication skills, self confidence and personal development. His enthusiastic and forthright manner drives the sessions and brings out the very best in his delegates.

Among the books he has written are “NLP for Teachers” (nominated for the Education Resources Award 2008 – Best Primary & Secondary Resource) – now published in at least 8 languages, and his latest publication “The NLP Toolkit “(2010) Roger was deeply involved in research into NLP for teachers. During this ground-breaking project, he designed, ran and collated the results from the NLP for Teachers Fast-track training provided for the DFE by the CfBT international education charity. These results were used by Richard Churches & John West-Burnham in the paper-”Leading learning through relationships: the implications of Neuro Linguistic Programming for personalisation and the children’s agenda in England.”

Date: 7th May

Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm

Location: Surrey Square Primary School, Surrey Square, London SE17 2JY

Cost: £50

Refreshments and lunch will be provided

An e-mail will be sent to you confirming a place.

Closing date: Friday 29th April 2016


Sign up via the link below:


FREE CPD: Last chance to sign up! Effective Leadership

STSA are offering two FREE sessions on effective leadership. These sessions will be run by Nicola Noble and Liz Robinson (NLE) both highly experienced trainers and headteachers. At each session they will be providing support on a variety of topics and participants will be able to choose which are the most appropriate sessions for them:

Session 1 will include support on the following:

Organisation – How to ensure effective time management.
Planning ahead to ensure impact.
Diary management/planning

Making things happen – action planning

Managing conflict

Date and time: 26th April 3.45 – 5.15pm
Session 2 will include support on the following:

Work/life balance
Prioritising and working smart

Date and time: 7th June 3.45 – 5.15pm

This course would be very suitable for anyone new to leadership or about to take a leadership role in the next academic year.

Location: Surrey Square Primary School, London SE17 2JY

Book now via the link below!



‘Supporting children with SEND – Strategies to develop early learning and communication.’

‘Supporting children with SEND –  Strategies to develop early learning and communication.’


This term STSA ran a session on ‘Supporting children with SEND –  Strategies to develop early learning and communication.’  The session was run by Shona Morgan and covered the following:

Early learning – overview of EYFS and small steps to learning.

Developing an understanding of target setting and appropriate strategies .

Use of signs and symbols to support language development – including an introduction to Makaton.

A practical session about how to apply the above learning to a mainstream setting including the opportunity to plan for any SEND children in the class you are currently working with.

The course had excellent feedback and we look forward to repeating this course next year.

Day Two of Outstanding Maths course – Differentiation and Planning

Maths course photoDay two of the STSA Outstanding Maths beyond the NQT year course was again packed with learning.  Students reflected on their gap tasks and discussed the impact that the course had had on their teaching so far.  As well as looking closely at differentiation and planning, the topics covered were:

  • Challenge & Engagement – instilling a sense of awe and wonder in mathematics
  • Teaching Calculation
  • Assessment and Feedback – marking for personalised progress.

Feedback from the course was again very positive.   Here are just a few of the quotes:

“I found the differentiation for high attainers very very useful”

“Questioning ideas – great! Especially pose, pause, pounce,bounce.”

“I enjoyed seeing the practical maths in KS1 with lots of focus on vocab.”


Journal Club

Journal club

Journal Club!

This week we hosted our first journal club at Charles Dickens Primary School.  We looked at ‘The Relationship Between Student Engagement and Academic Performance: Is it Myth or Reality?’ by Jung-Sook Lee.  The session sparked lots of lively debate as Jemima Rhys Evans (Lead Practitioner at Charles Dickens Primary School) guided us in groups to reflect on the paper and it’s relevance to our current teaching practices.

We are excited to be now be opening journal club up to all schools in the alliance.  If you would like to join us in journal club, please let us know by email enquiriesstsa@gmail.com

STSA launch peer review project

STSA peer review

STSA have embarked on an exciting Schools Partnership Programme working with CfBT. The aim of the programme is to support partnerships, high quality self evaluation, peer review and school-led support and challenge, both between and within schools. At the heart of the process is peer review and four schools have now begun collabourating together to support each other in this process.

The four schools who are involved in the current project are:

St John’s Walworth C of E Primary School

Charles Dickens Primary School

Surrey Square Primary School

John Donne Primary School

So far the headteachers of all the schools have received training from CfBT and are about to embark on the first round of peer review shortly. In preparation for the project, the senior leadership teams from all four schools me. Through discussion and collabouration the wider group have begun establishing open, supportive and honest relationships between the schools. We are excited to see how the project develops.

If you are interested in further information on peer review or how to become involved in a project like this, please email enquiriesstsa@gmail.com

Outstanding Mathematics Course gets everyone talking about Maths!


Making Every Lesson Count

Outstanding Mathematics – Beyond the NQT Year (Key Stage 1 and 2)


“I have learnt lots of practical ideas that I can use in class. Also really interesting talking to other teachers in Year 1. Lesson observation was most useful.” (Course participant)

On 6th October Charles Dickens Primary School hosted the first day of a the STSA course : Outstanding Mathematics – Beyond the NQT Year (Key Stage 1 and 2).

This is an exciting three day course for teachers at the start of their career focusing on effective teaching and learning with a Mathematics focus. Each day consists of a whole lesson observation, taught subject knowledge, practical activities, quick wins and reflection time with colleagues.

The facilitators of the course are Dan Huxley (Head of Maths at Charles Dickens Primary School) and Jemima Rhys Evans (Lead Practitioner at Charles Dickens Primary School)- both are outstanding experienced teachers with significant experience of mentoring new teachers to outstanding levels of teaching and learning.

Day 1 was packed with learning and covered the following key areas along with a lesson observation:

  • Talk for maths and collaborative learning
  • Rigour in mathematical vocabulary
  • Effective starters and developing outstanding mental maths
  • Identifying areas for further reading and experimentation.

Here are just a selection of quotes we got during feedback after day 1

“I have learnt lots of practical ideas that I can use in class. Also really interesting talking to other teachers in Year 1. Lesson observation was most useful.”

“Observing the lesson was GREAT! Theory in action.”

“Really useful to see the AfL techniques in the lesson I watched as I never know how to use AfL on the hoof.”

“I now have lots of really good ideas for starters and mains”

“Very insightful and interesting to see how other schools work. Thank you.”

What makes this course different?

The success of this course is down to a number of factors including the opportunity for participants to observe real lessons by real teachers. The course is also facilitated by two, highly experienced trainers.   These trainers are also class teachers, and so participants can trust that their suggestions have been tried and tested in the classroom.  The course also engages participants in action research through gap tasks which are set after each session.

Alongside all of this, the course is linked to the effective coaching and mentoring course as part of the Making Every Lesson Count programme. Schools can opt to send teachers on both courses so that those on the coaching course can coach those on the Maths course. (We are very grateful to the Local Authority for subsidising both of these courses.)

For now, we are really excited to see what day 2 brings and to hear how all the participants have got on with their gap tasks!