The Exeter Consortium is a group of over 70 schools in and around Exeter. Working in partnership, the Consortium and Exeter Teaching School Alliance are training the next generation of teachers, improving the quality of learning, raising the attainment of pupils and closing the gap between different groups of pupils.
The partnership also provides challenge and support to improve the schools, as well as a wide range of professional development opportunities. One of the resources that Initial Teacher Training (ITT) colleagues draw on is NASBTT Learn, which offers online CPD modules to support and enhance providers’ training offer for trainees and NQTs through a comprehensive digital library of training and development courses. NASBTT Learn, which was launched in 2019, has been developed in collaboration with mobile learning platform specialists Anspear.
“We first looked into signing up to NASBTT Learn after attending the Annual Conference last Autumn,” explained Primary Programme Lead for ITT, Dawn Chapman. “I downloaded the trial app and was impressed. However, it was the Covid-19 pandemic that led us to subscribe. When we had to put some online training in place very quickly, NASBTT Learn was our first thought. We needed something that could allow trainees to self-study and address targets from their previous assessment point. Trainees have been able to cherry pick from the modules to address their own CPD needs. I have been able to monitor their progress and check they are meeting our minimum requirements, which in turn allows us to show they are still ‘on programme’ despite not being in school. It has been helpful for the trainees to cite the recent modules they have completed, adding to the evidence for their latest assessment point, where they have discussed this learning with their tutors.”
In fact, nearly 80 ITT providers across the country are now using NASBTT Learn, and 14,000 online modules were completed in the first eight weeks during lockdown. Dawn said it has helped the Exeter Consortium and Exeter Teaching School Alliance respond to the Covid-19 challenges imposed on them. “We have moved across to supporting students via online weekly meets and sharing of other useful resources, in addition to the NASBTT Learn modules, during this period,” she revealed. “We have electronic portfolios for the trainee assessment points and therefore assessments have continued in the usual way with evidence reviewed and discussed through a Zoom meeting. NASBTT Learn has been important in that our trainees felt we responded quickly to their need for training provision – they had access to it during the Easter break and felt it was a useful way to continue to develop professionally whilst not in school. It has also been a flexible way of studying for those students with family commitments, home schooling for example.”
During Covid-19, new modules have continued to be added to the online library for ITT providers and trainees, spanning a range of topics including statutory issues, pastoral care, personal wellbeing and practical classroom skills. For every course trainees complete in NASBTT Learn they receive a verified Certificate of Completion and digital badge, which is fast becoming the norm for recognising and communicating professional development. For providers, this helps to prove their commitment to the development and professional portfolio of their trainees. The interactive resources complement training and encourage sustained independent study and development, with content available both online and offline.
“I would definitely recommend NASBTT Learn to other ITT providers and trainees because it is extremely flexible and aligns well with our current programme in terms of research and evidence base,” Dawn said. “It provides adaptable study for students who may have different timetables. It is also a useful way to monitor trainee self-study.”