I have spent all of my professional life working with children and young people. Initially I was part of the County of Avon’s Youth Services as a youth and community worker, but then moved to education as a primary school teacher. In my career as a teacher I was fortunate to have responsibility for curriculum and assessment, allowing me an insight to the experiences children required to make good progress in their learning. My wider responsibilities included staff development and career progression. This opportunity provided me with an understanding of how teachers develop from trainee to senior leadership. In 1999, when considering whether to apply for headship, I decided to move to an academic career at Bath Spa University, which I believed would provide me with opportunities to research the relationship between children’s learning and teachers’ professional development.
My initial role at BSU was that of PGCE English Co-ordinator. My responsibility was to ensure trainees were confident and competent in their teaching of language and literacy, especially in phonics. In my next role as Programme Leader for the Primary and Early Years route my focus was to work with secondary colleagues to harmonise the PGCE provision and further develop our partnership with schools. A strong university and school partnership became central to the success of the programme, and in 2011 the PGCE programme was awarded ‘outstanding’ by OfSTED.
I am dedicated to researching the many factors that result in the successful training and continual professional development of teachers. Along with colleagues in the Bath Spa Partnership, we have explored the concept of a 'Bath Spa Teacher' (BST), the name we give to our PGCE trainees. Central to this concept is the development of our trainees to become confident, competent and outstanding teachers. To achieve this, we carefully track their progress through the use of our assessment framework, based on the Teachers’ Standards.
My international interests are in relation to working with and supporting Arab teacher training colleges in Israel. This joint venture with the British Council, four Arab colleges and four English universities, including Bath Spa University focuses on the training and development of teachers. Although the contexts and cultures of the institutions, both in England and Israel differ, there are many similarities in the practices of selection, training and educating the next generation of professional teachers. This will be the focus of further research.