Immersed in the Dynamic Journey of Learning: Leading Professional Development in My Academy

By Matthew Tipton

Professional Development Lead at Caldmore Primary Academy

As the professional development lead at a two-form primary academy in Walsall, I find myself constantly immersed in a dynamic journey of learning, both within and beyond our educational trust. John Cotton Dana’s timeless assertion that “those who dare to teach must never cease to learn” resonates deeply with us, as educators. Our understanding of subject matter and the application of pedagogical theories are ever evolving. Learning is not merely an addendum to our profession; it is intrinsic to it. This is where the significance of workplace learning becomes apparent.


Social theories of learning underscore the pivotal role of communication in the learning process. Just as we engage with our students socially, fostering dialogue and interaction, we, too, can learn socially from our peers. This is where the trust-wide communities come into their own.


As a member of the professional development community within our trust, I participate in regular gatherings attended by staff from academies across the trust who share similar roles. When I first assumed this position, I leaned heavily on these communities for guidance and support in defining and executing my responsibilities. Communities serve as fertile ground for the exchange of ideas, where concepts are scrutinised, refined, and assimilated. This collaborative environment has not only deepened my understanding of change management and leadership but has also fostered a shared commitment (across the community) to pursuing national professional qualifications (NPQs) such as the Leading Teacher Development NPQ.


Undoubtedly, participating in communities demands a considerable time investment. However, the benefits of connecting with like-minded individuals in similar roles are manifold. Firstly, there is the innate human inclination to seek solutions to challenges. Within these communities, we engage in open, reflective dialogues about the issues we encounter in our roles. This collective brainstorming and reflection, drawing on the diverse experiences of colleagues across the trust, resembling a communal search engine—a “commoogle,” if you will. The primary allure of these communities lies in the people themselves. Novices in the role glean wisdom and insights from seasoned practitioners, while the latter find fresh perspectives and innovative ideas through intergenerational exchange.


In conclusion, the journey of professional growth is inherently communal. By actively engaging with communities of practice, we not only enrich our own understanding but also contribute to the collective wisdom of our profession. In this symbiotic relationship between learning and community, we find the catalyst for transformative change and ongoing excellence in education.

ATT Communities

ATT Communities are groups of colleagues with shared priorities and areas of responsibility, who work collaboratively to share knowledge, build solutions and enact strategies to improve our academies and provide the highest quality education for our students.

Find out more about our Communities here.