It has been a constant challenge to ensure that our mentors are trained appropriately and that mentor training is not just about dealing with administration. At times, of course, this is necessary; however, we wanted to ensure that we had a more robust and differentiated approach to developing the skillset of our mentors.

We work with many mentors at Kent and Medway Training (KMT) and are mindful that some are very experienced and others are very new to the role, and so therefore adopting a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not helpful. To ensure that our mentors felt valued we decided to create a programme which offered personalised training appropriate to the mentor’s individual needs and experiences: our Mentoring Pathways.

There are some aspects of mentoring training that have to be compulsory for all, such as understanding how to use KMT documentation and our online portfolio. However, rather than using mentor training time to cover this, we have created short training videos. This enables the mentor to develop their understanding in their own time and can also be revisited. As well as training videos, we expect our mentors to complete an audit against the National Mentoring Standards, and additionally attending school-based mentor training and meetings.

The training that we provide as a SCITT is then offered through the pathways. A mentor needs to opt for one pathway which they will work on throughout the year. Giving the mentor a choice of a pathway will ensure that their training is personalised and is meeting their own training requirements. For new mentors we offer a pathway on developing the skills to become a mentor, with the introduction of coaching and coaching models. Another option is for a mentor to use the NASBTT Learn Teacher Educator and Mentoring Zone (TEMZ) to access the resources and develop their skills independently.

A unique pathway we offer is to upskill our mentors in their knowledge of Teaching Standard 5 and then to support their mentee in developing a secure and deep understanding of how they can adapt their teaching for all learners. The objectives of this pathway are to develop mentor confidence in supporting trainee teachers to meet the requirements of Standard 5; enable mentors to reflect on the role of the mentor as coach in this specific context; and renew mentors’ ability to identify barriers to pupil engagement in learning and to use this ability to help trainee teachers address these barriers.

For experienced mentors we allow them to work on an action research project in an area of interest to do with mentoring and ITT, which will then be shared with all other mentors at the end of the year.

Our final pathway gives mentors the opportunity to engage in a year-long programme of pedagogical coaching training with the Teacher Development Trust (TDT), a national charity for effective professional development in schools. TDT Network consists of a group of like-minded schools, colleges and ITT providers working to develop world-class professional development. Pedagogical coaching is a high-impact, direct form of teacher development. It is an observation and feedback cycle rooted in reflective dialogue in which pedagogical experts work with teachers at any stage of their career to set goals to improve pupil outcomes.

The aim of this pathway is to refocus mentors on high-quality, robust pedagogy to create a shared language and approach to observation and feedback. The training also focuses on joining up thinking related to the ITT Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework with teaching and learning practice. Overall, all the pathways are very varied but give an element of choice and personalisation to the mentors training which will support their knowledge, develop their skillset and bring about greater outcomes for the trainee teacher.

Stuart Russell is Director of ITT at KMT Teacher Training, and a NASBTT Trustee







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