Unity Teaching School Hub is the designated Hub for the Forest Heath, Mid Suffolk, St Edmundsbury and Suffolk Coastal area. As a collaborative organisation it is committed to providing all schools in this area with excellence in professional learning to grow and nurture great staff, teachers and leaders; ensuring every pupil, regardless of their background, experiences a great education. It is currently supporting the Early Career Framework, National Professional Qualifications, ITT and wider CPD.

Helen Main, who won NASBTT’s Administrator of the Year award in 2019 in recognition of exceptional administrators who go above and beyond in ensuring the smooth running and success of school-based provision, is overseeing ITT within the Teaching School Hub. “High-quality administration and management is at the core of excellent ITT provision, and NASBTT has been pivotal in developing relevant expertise through effective professional development opportunities for all administrators,” she said. “Over the years I have attended NASBTT’s administrator forums and effective administration skills training programme, and now in our new world as a Teaching School Hub I am experiencing a whole new range of benefits.”

Unity Teaching School Hub is signposting its ITT provision through five established SCITTs and, within its Teaching School Hub designated area, Helen said she “valued NASBTT’s expertise” in supporting their evolution. “I am the point of contact with Andy Samways (Director, Teaching School Hub) and Dr Tim Coulson (Chief Executive, Unity Schools Partnership) within the strategic leadership of the ITT aspect of our Teaching School Hub,” she explained. “Collaboration with neighbouring Teaching School Hubs develops high-quality ITT provision across the region – we are all seeking to do the very best by those we recruit and encourage into the profession. I need to understand what is happening in the wider policy landscape and knowing NASBTT is involved in that is crucial. Emma Hollis (NASBTT Executive Director) is absolutely brilliant and has her finger on the pulse in a really fast-paced environment. Having our professional body with the stature to discuss appropriate solutions with the Department of Education is essential.”

Helen’s Teaching School Hub colleagues are currently accessing the NASBTT portal, including those delivering ITT, together with intelligence shared with the Hub’s Appropriate Body (the local authority). “Collectively we are utilising a number of tools as part of the membership,” she said. “Personally I always look out for the weekly blog. I also attend various Espresso Shot Networking events, as well as the effective digital marketing and recruitment course, but as we are not a provider I tend to pick and choose what is relevant at that moment. Having access to the expertise and professionalism of NASBTT in the continuously evolving world of Teaching School Hubs is highly valued.”

Helen added: “Having specialists to come to with our questions, no matter what the question is, has been so important over the years. With such potential change ahead, insight, expert guidance and advocacy is more crucial than ever. Therefore having someone at the end the phone who knows the sector inside out, and invariably has the answers, saves me so much time. Responses are immediate – there is no ‘we’ll get back to you in five days’ – if they do not know the answer, they will get it. The NASBTT team are incredibly well informed. They do a brilliant job, have clearly worked round the clock through summer 2021, and been the voice of clarity, common sense and professionalism. It is so reassuring to know that Emma, and the NASBTT team, are representing our voices at the highest level. Thank you everyone.”

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