Mentor Dev

Louise Beattie is Senior Lecturer – Secondary PGCE Partnerships at the University of Worcester. Together with Suzanne Lawson, Principal Lecturer – Head of Strategic Partnerships (Secondary and FE), Louise co-authored the Coaching as Appraisal module within NASBTT’s Mentor Development Modules (MDMs). Here we speak to Louise about the University’s support for our MDM development.

How did you get involved in our MDMs?

“We attended a mentor meeting of the Midlands ITT Provider Group, which spans school-based and university-based provision. NASBTT came in to present on the new mentoring requirements for 2024, and we began a discussion about inputting to resources for our use as a regional body. They were looking for people to write the modules, and in our partnerships role this was something we were interested in.”

What are the objectives of the Coaching as Appraisal module?

“Coaching as Appraisal supports lead and general mentors in reviewing and evolving performance management processes within their provision. It examines how moving away from a judgement-based process and towards a coaching method can develop staff in a personalised and progressive way. It will benefit lead tutors and provision leads by exploring alternatives to the traditional methods of performance management and appraisal. It ensures that the benefits of effective continuous coaching run through a provision at all levels. As a refining level module, some experience of mentoring, coaching and line management is assumed prior to engaging with this module.”

In terms of the focused subject matter of this module, how does it resonate particularly with you and your own expertise?

“Mentoring/coaching, these terms have been interchangeable over a number of years. Prior to joining the University in 2013, coaching was at the forefront of my previous 10 years’ experience in a local authority working as a national strategy consultant, and then engagement advisor for the local authority going into schools four out of five days. As a secondary Head of English, I have experienced mainstream subject teaching and worked with literacy leaders on whole-school improvement, and it is the same there. In ITT, mentoring is part of the day-to-day job. After 3-4 weeks in university, trainees go into school. At this point, school-based mentors pick up the mantle and so our working relationship with these mentors is pivotal in the trainees’ progress. I have contributed a chapter to a book on mentoring in English in 2020, but it is interesting to see how much this has evolved over 20 years. Coaching as Appraisal was one that Suzanne and I could work on together as part of the preparations for the changes to mentoring in September 2024.”

How did you find writing the module?

“Two brains definitely made a difference. We got a lot out of it as writing the module fed into, and underpinned, other aspects of our work. Being on the inside, seeing the vision and being part of the MDMs from the start, and then having the opportunity to provide support at a university level has been a real plus all round.”

What are the main benefits of MDMs?

“Put simply, there is a new entitlement for teachers at the beginning of their career and we need to push support for schools to support them in developing high quality mentors in their schools. Our partnership schools are interested in this continuum and several are now looking at ways to work with us – using the coaching model as a means to develop teaching and learning in school. We hope that from September 2024, tracking appropriate mentor training from ITT to ECT to middle leadership and beyond, as part of wider improvement plans from a teaching and learning and pedagogy perspective, will become more streamlined and ensure greater quality assurance across all partnerships. In our region, we have had networking meetings to discuss the training gap in mentoring and the numbers to fill it, so mapping and providing that is an important conversation. With the MDMs, everyone can potentially be at exactly the same starting point for their mentor training.”

As a university, how would you summarise the value of being a NASBTT member?

“We are heavily involved in UCET, but a lot of processes are school-based. In essence, this is about establishing the relationship between key providers of ITT. September 2024 is on the horizon, and it makes sense to collaborate with NASBTT and others around the new requirements.”

Not registered for our Mentor Development Modules? Find out more.

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