Mentor Dev

Martin Husbands worked as Head of School Based Partnerships at Newman University for 10 years, managing and coordinating teacher training on the University’s School Direct programme and as a Senior Lecturer in Secondary Education. He recently stepped down from his role at the University and now works as a consultant specialising in mentoring, coaching and organisational change. Previously, Martin was Director of Lifelong Learning at Droitwich Spa High School and Head of Geography at Evesham High School. Martin has authored two Mentor Development Modules (MDMs): Learning to Lead and The Professional Tutor. We caught up with Martin about his work with NASBTT.


How did you get involved in our MDMs?

“I had a lead role in the University’s 2024 accreditation process – partnerships, ITaP and mentoring – and in working on these I felt I could make a valuable contribution on two or three strands that I have developed much work on for the last 15-20 years. I could look at these from both a school perspective (given my former SLT roles) and university provider perspective. That was the lure, but also the challenge. I have lots of experience and knowledge of mentoring, however the requirement was seeing things from the user end. Tapping into insight on what teachers want to be delivered.”

What are the objectives of each module?

“In Learning to Lead, mentors reflect on how they can prepare their mentees for continued professional development and leadership opportunities. Helping mentees to realise they are at the start of their career path, that they are on their learning journey, and may have to take on additional responsibilities e.g. Head of Department, pastoral etc. Getting them to think about what their career will look like in 5-10 years’ time, and that whilst they do not need to decide now they do need to begin to map their specific pathway. For the other module, the context to this is that the role of the Professional Tutor is both vital and varied. They lead a team of mentors across a range of phases, needs, abilities and subjects. In my experience, the perception is often that they just organise and co-ordinate projects in school and run CPD for trainees, but the role is more than that: quality assurance, communication, liaison with partners, heads and trainees etc. This module supports Professional Tutors and lead mentors in understanding the expectations of this valuable role.”

How did you find writing the modules?

“Professionally you just want the resources to be the best they can be and translate these into specific learning outcomes. Mentors do not always have time and capacity to attend in-person training. It is important to see this from the user end, and so the opportunity for them to access asynchronous training when they can, in a place they can, and in a format that is more user friendly fills a gap. Having this in an app, for example, is so useful for supporting mentors. The hardest part from my side was creating the resources in my head, working on synchronous delivery first, and then asynchronous. The ideas were not the issue, more cross-referencing between materials, but I am really pleased with them.”

What are the main benefits of MDMs?

“Fundamentally, there are limited mentoring resources from a school perspective. Research papers have value from an operational perspective of mentoring, but not the nuts and bolts on what to do with trainees and particularly on the wider role of being a mentor. There is a gap, and need with accreditation, that general mentors must access a minimum of 20 hours of initial training time in their first year of mentoring (30 hours for lead mentors), so the MDMs are an invaluable resource in developing the range of skills that are required to be a mentor. Providers are compelled to offer as many ways to access materials and opportunities as they can. Therefore MDMs are important from both a compliance and professional development perspective. It is also important to offer a variety of resources and materials that provide personalised development resources according to need; the experience and expertise of mentors is variable.”

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

“It is the opportunity to network and build relationships with other professionals that support teacher training. We all want teachers to develop their practice, but also stay in the profession. I often reflect upon the trinity of recruit, train and retain. Universities can tap into projects of those responsible for school-based ITT, and likewise there is an opportunity for school-based providers to do the same with HEIs. I am also a member of the West Midlands Partnership Group, which is all about exciting ideas on teacher training, so NASBTT is another layer of collaboration and opportunity.”

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

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