Could a member of your RE staff benefit from being part of the Religious Education Leadership Programme? The programme is a one- to two-year mentoring and coaching programme developing leadership skills in middle leaders. It is free to schools. Applications are open now until 31 March 2022 for a September 2022 start.
The leadership programme exists to provide opportunities for emerging religion and worldview leaders to expand and deepen their reflections on educational leadership in the subject, through receiving mentoring, structured challenges, research insights, inspirational networking events, and experience of professional development delivery.
The programme operates over two stages, giving RE teachers the potential to receive input over a two-year period. The programme is funded by Culham St Gabriel's Trust, making it free to schools.
Stage 1: This stage is for those local or regional leaders who are beginning to work across more than one school. For example, leading religion and worldviews across a multi-academy trust (MAT) or supporting other schools in a federation and/or leading a local group or hub. Some NATRE regional ambassadors, SLEs, REQM gold award RE leads or LTLRE hub leads might find this stage of CPD helpful.
Stage 2: This stage is for teachers who have completed stage 1 and/or for those who already have a regional/national role and would like to develop their expertise further. This stage is particularly for teachers/advisers who are likely to continue their specialism into senior leadership roles within or outside of their school situation. Those who are seeking to become advisers, ambassadors or an executive member of one of the RE organisations are particularly encouraged to apply.
Applications are open now until 31 March 2022 for the 2022-23 cohort.
The programme is a learning partner for the Chartered College of Teaching, enabling teachers completing the programme to use what they do on it to complete up to three of the four units needed to gain Chartered Teacher Status at their own cost.
Why consider this for a teacher at your school?
Wendy James, head teacher at Sidegate Primary School, Ipswich, says: "As a head teacher, I believe I am not here just to support children's learning but all members of the school community. This includes allowing staff to develop their expertise be it in subject or school leadership. It all brings value to the school community.
"It is important for school leaders to know their individual members of staff, recognise their strengths and aspirations, seeing what 'floats their boat', if you like. In Katie, I saw a desire for more than her classroom role gave her, a desire for a higher level of challenge, adult intellectual challenge, the leadership programme gave her that challenge. School leaders who value their staff and support them in seizing opportunities also benefit from staff who have greater job satisfaction and results in staff retention.
"Katie and the RE team had done some great work on the RE curriculum at Sidegate, gaining the Gold REQM a few years ago. But the leadership programme has deepened her subject knowledge and pedagogical thinking. Through opportunities to engage with conversations in the national RE community, Katie has developed a depth of understanding of what underpins a great RE curriculum in terms of rich substantive knowledge content as well as an understanding of disciplinary knowledge and its place in a well-designed curriculum. As a result, we have been able to make informed decisions in rewriting our curriculum using a new syllabus. Developing learners who "know stuff" but are also accessing that knowledge through different disciplines: developing as theologians, social scientists and philosophers.
"Through her engagement in the leadership programme, I have seen Katie grow in confidence and self-belief as an expert in the teaching and leading of RE. The mentoring has motivated her to seek out new networks, joining other organisations and applying for opportunities she would not have had the confidence to do five years ago. The professional discussions and reading she has engaged in have enabled her to articulate her learning and views with a new depth of understanding.
"I would recommend the programme to headteachers. It is important, however, that the person is self-motivated, willing to give their own time to engage in the opportunities the programme offers. Potential participants must be driven to be the best they can be. Developing excellence in subject leadership is as important as development in whole school leadership. Schools, particularly primary schools, should understand the value that developing expertise in subject leadership has for their school and the wider education community."
For further details, go to www.reonline.org.uk/leadership/leadership-programme.
All teacher applications will need the agreement of their head teacher before any consideration is made about the strength of their application for the programme.
First published 28 January 2022