Continuing Professional Development

The TCAT Professional Development centre, based at Bridgewater High School, is the centre point for all activities relating to professional collaboration, research, training and staff development.

It is a resource which is made available for all TCAT staff to use and is the home to our Initial Teacher Training Programme delivered via our teaching school dimension.

Within our Education Connect offer we deliver training across all career stages from ITT to Executive leadership alongside a comprehensive offer of training to support teaching, curriculum development, pastoral work and support staff.

Two TCAT institutions have STEM Assured status and consequently Beamont Collegiate Academy plays host to two regional hubs: the NW hubs for the National Computing Centre of Excellence and for the Science Learning Partnership.

These hubs provide nationally supported and accredited training for colleagues from across the whole region.

TCAT’s professional development offer

Education Connect is the professional development dimension of The Challenge Academy Trust and was born out of a strong desire to engage with the wider educational community; providing expert CPD, at exceptional value. 

Initially, we decided to harness the collective power of 10 academies and coordinate a trust-wide CPD programme where our most talented, experienced staff regularly collaborate and share best practice as well as invite experts from all over the country to deliver sessions.  

We also established key areas for development, then coordinated a shared approach to obtaining key speakers, facilitators and specialists, sharing resources, costs and time.  

A culture of continual growth, and a craving to continually improve, has led to a fully-engaged staff who are hungry for CPD. 

Colleagues are passionate about empowering themselves – and others – to deliver excellent teaching and to facilitate learning that encourages superb outcomes for young people. 

As a result of the individual academies’ success – and TCAT’s excellent record of providing school-to-school support – a need for local, professional support and development was identified. 

Therefore we decided to include colleagues from further afield with the same intention of providing expert CPD for professionals, by professionals. 

TCAT Leadership Conference

On Friday 24th March, The Challenge Academy Trust hosted its annual leadership conference at the home of Warrington Wolves, The Halliwell Jones Stadium. Throughout the day, there were thought-provoking talks delivered by a range of guest speakers covering two of our key values, inclusion and social justice. For the full programme and details of the guest speakers please click the brochure. The video below also provides a snapshot of the key elements covered throughout the day.

TCAT CPD offer for teaching staff

High-quality, effective continuous professional development is at the centre of our vision for the trust. We value and invest in all of our staff to ensure we deliver on the very best outcomes for all our pupils.

The type and quality of CPD that organisations use really matters when it comes to improving teaching quality and pupil outcomes. We use the latest recommendations and research such as EEF-funded projects, toolkits, The Teacher Development Trust and impact reports to support us in delivery and implementation.

We recognise that effective CPD is:

  • Supported by the school’s leadership
  • Sustained over at least two terms
  • Includes expert input, peer collaboration and opportunities for teachers to consider and experiment with their learning and get feedback on their work.

Our CPD offer comprises of internal training and external training, including accredited qualifications.

  • ITT programme delivered via Learning@TCAT teaching academy
Early career stage
  • NQT programme
  • Accelerate programme (accredited Chartered College & Education Development Trust)
Middle leadership
  • In-house leadership development programme
  • Access to NPQML
Senior leadership
  • Access to full suite of NPQSL, NPQH and NPQEL via Best Practice Network
  • Chartered college/National College training
  • TeachMeets
  • National Literacy Trust training
  • Governor training
Oxford University Partnership/Oxnet@TCAT
  • Bespoke programme of CPD, research and residential opportunities to available to teachers from across the trust to support a diverse range of pedagogy, policy and practice
Subject specific
  • Hub CPD
  • Science Learning Partnership offer including Science, DT & Computer Science hubs
Professional Networks: TCAT Hubs
Devolved leadership via a network of hubs

A broad range of hubs have been established to lead on specific educational/business strands across TCAT, linking into the main strategic objectives. Each hub is focused upon sharing good practice and expertise across the trust and, where appropriate, looking to harmonise practice where this will maximise impact.

Each hub is led by a designated senior practitioner and all academies are required to send representation.

Each hub has a clear remit and works to a set of objectives and an action plan. Hub groups meet half termly and leads provide half termly updates to members of the Central Executive Team. TCAT Communication and Reporting Strategy gives further information around the direct reporting models in place. The overall aim is to create strength through interdependent practice.