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How one SEND teacher built her expertise with the NPQLTD

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Date published 28 June 2023

Completing a National Professional Qualification (NPQ) in Leading Teacher Development gave Rebekah the knowledge and skills to take on new challenges as a middle leader in her school.

Rebekah Clee is the Communication Lead at Fairfield School in West Yorkshire. Fairfield provides learning experiences for pupils from 4 to 19 years old with a range of complex, individual needs. In her role, Rebekah ensures that children with a communication need written into their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) are making progress, including by supporting and developing her colleagues.

Following several years as a class teacher, Rebekah took the opportunity to develop through a NPQ in Leading Teacher Development and has secured a middle leadership role in her school. The programme helped her to grow as a middle leader and Rebekah now has her sights set on building her skills and experience even further. Here, Rebekah shares her experience of completing an NPQ.

"I can really see I have grown a lot from it. I feel more confident having that understanding."

Why did you choose the NPQ in Leading Teacher Development?

“I've been in teaching for five years. I came out of university and did a PGCE, and I’ve been in the classroom ever since.

“When I saw the NPQ in Leading Teacher Development I thought it looked a nice, professional progression opportunity. I am quite ambitious in my teaching career, so I just want to learn. I thought this would be interesting as a next step for me to develop and lead in a school.

“You don’t see a lot of qualifications that look specifically at developing teaching, there’s not a lot out there – well, not any free courses. I think the NPQ is unique in the sense that it looks at the role of teaching and developing teachers.”


How has the NPQ helped in your new role?

“The qualification has helped massively in my communication lead role. It helped my confidence and, when I went for the interview, I was able to put the concepts that I learnt into practice. I was able to speak about the concepts and practices that I need for my role.

“The programme content introduced and reinforced the concepts behind the best practice I was learning. For example, it gave me a really in depth understanding of responsive teaching and what that really means.

“I have heard a few peers say that it doesn't relate to our field because we’re in special needs education. But I think you need to turn that on its head. There are a lot of elements that you can use, that we need as lead teachers, in classrooms and when managing people. It might not be directly related to working with the pupils, but I could relate it to work around progress when I was speaking to the leadership team and helping colleagues to understand key concepts and their roles.”

"I think the NPQ is unique in the sense that it looks at the role of teaching and developing teachers."

What was your experience of the programme?

“I did my NPQ with one of Ambition’s local delivery partners, which meant I got to do it in person at a school just up the road. It’s nice to know that it’s nearby when you go to conferences, and the people that we linked with were from local schools. I was linked with a learning buddy – another teacher doing the programme at the same time - and we worked very closely together.

“My buddy is like me - she came on the same journey, and she's also moved into middle leadership. We signed up to the NPQ together and we got each other through. At first I did struggle with it, but then, as time went on it all started to make sense. When I was writing the open book final assessment, I think that's when it really fell into place for me.

“You have to keep engaged and keep on top of it, even just doing a little bit a week. Breaking it down into manageable chunks means that it builds up slowly. It was fast paced, and it's different from the teaching that I do, but I can really see I have grown a lot from it. I feel more confident having that understanding.

“Both my colleague and I wanted to sign up for another NPQ the week after we’d finished! We’ll be looking again in the spring term to do the Senior Leadership NPQ.”

Find out more about our NPQ in Leading Teacher Development on our blog.

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