Networking and collaboration between schools creates sustainable conditions for powerful teaching, with learning approaches developed by those at the chalk-face. Teachers can share in challenges past, present and future, trading ideas and building on the mistakes of others. As new regulations take effect and exciting models of learning appear, members can swap practical guidance on implementation and compliance, often in the presence of experts in the relevant fields.
As part of TDT Network, we strive to connect like-minded schools so staff can observe and develop a range outstanding practice.
We run six national conferences per year where our members network, share experiences, discuss best practices, debate policy and receive further support for their audits and Network Lesson Study. Our events can take both regional and topical flavours, often featuring ‘TeachMeet’-style sharing sessions where guests bring examples of particularly interesting and notable practice and share these in quick-fire presentations.
Our conferences span the length and breadth of the country as member schools and colleges keen to share best practice often play host. We ask members to commit to sending a representative to at least three of these events during the year.
We also run a regular programme of training and drop-in sessions to support our members throughout the CPD Peer Audit and Network Lesson Study processes. During these sessions we discuss practical steps for schools to get maximum impact from our resources and ensure that the institution’s culture evolves to support effective innovation and evidence-informed practice.
From time to time we also team up with partners and supporting organisations to host intellectual and stimulating discussions around the latest talking points in the world of teaching and learning. Some of our members also work in local clusters (e.g. within a teaching school alliance or academy chain) and organise events to discuss, share and develop practice around Network Lesson Study.
Forging professional relationships
As the network continues to grow we will endeavour to explore new elements and opportunities within Network. The Peer Audit process is already helping to connect schools in local areas whereby auditors are discussing and analysing one another’s approaches to teaching and learning, sharing great ideas and forging new professional relationships. As these inter-school links continue to build, the hope is we will eventually have a concrete system in place to be able to facilitate deeper partnerships, with job shares in particular an immediate aim.
Many teachers have found that social networks and online portals can provide valuable support for their continuing professional development. We encourage members to engage with each other on Twitter as well as with the wider education community. Our Network Portal has discussion areas and resource-sharing facilities to ensure that ideas can be shared and developed collaboratively. We also regularly update our TES Resources account with content relating to all of the above.