Focus Five: the why

Focus Five is a bespoke package of three training sessions aimed at teachers in the third, fourth and fifth year of their careers. It is designed to build upon the strong foundations of the  Early Career Framework that is provided in the ECT years, building towards leadership in different spheres.


Each day is STAND ALONE although we can certainly see the value in doing all 3 sessions as a package – there is currently very little training aimed at practitioners at this stage of their career. Each session will include a ‘golden thread’ of wellbeing, peer coaching and aspiration in terms of aspiring to meet Upper Pay Scale (UPS) requirements.


Each session will include pre and post reading and suggestions for ‘next steps’ whether this be an Olevi course, an online module or NPQ modules. We feel that Focus Five has the potential to lead on to further research such as the Chartered College evidence informed practice module  Therefore continuing to nurture and instil confidence in colleagues who are keen to engage and develop further regardless of whether they are a classroom teacher or those with a Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR).


The intention of Focus Five is to provide reflection and challenge thinking even further. It is a unique Diverse Academies package and one which we feel explicitly shows colleagues that we have a firm commitment to their professional growth.


Session 1 – 24 January 2024 – High Expectations in our Classrooms 


Building on the popular Positive Framing Walk Thru sessions, this day focuses upon nurturing subject knowledge and strategies to ensure high impact, front loading expectations and what excellent learning looks like in a classroom setting. It is based upon the latest research, such as Peps McCrea,  Professor Rob Coe and Haili Hughes, as well as content from the Chartered College, Blue Sky and IRIS.

It starts the journey in our own classroom, then moves forward into the beginning of a coaching scenario, making this session particularly useful for those early career teachers stepping up to become mentors and have practical influence outside of their own classroom setting, or teachers interested in pursuing or developing in a pastoral role.

As teachers approach UPS, they need to demonstrate wider support outside of their own classroom. This day would be a good start to building this expertise.


Session 2 – 12 March 2024 – Assessment, Feedback and Metacognition

Building on the great sessions present in the Early Career Framework, this session goes a stage further, focusing on getting the best out of students by working from the endpoint and using formative assessment effectively to achieve challenging aspirational goals. It focuses strongly on questioning (identified as a weaker area), such as cold calling, mini whiteboards and different techniques, as well as process and probing questions from the walk thrus.

Teachers in the early stage of their careers have a drive to improve outcomes for their students and may well be interested in leading in assessment in a curricular role. This session offers practical strategies to be effective, using the latest research to affect change in their own and others’ classrooms.



Session 3 – 18 June 2024 – Stepping Up to Leadership

Many of our early career teachers, new business leads or teaching assistants  have already taken on some form of responsibility, so this session focuses upon the key skills to build into these new roles, as a precursor to future leadership study. It will focus upon leadership in and out of the classroom, including coaching and leading a team, a pastoral leadership role and its demands and starting out as a business lead at our HQ or as a team leader in our academies. It will touch upon practical ideas like leading meetings as well as more abstract concepts like motivation.

The day will look like:

  • Keynote with Dave Cotton – an opening,  discussing purpose, vision and goals of our forward-looking Trust – our ‘why’ and ‘how’ and what makes Diverse the place to start your journey
  • Seminar(s) with Lucy Spacey, Dave Vernon, Theresa Skillen and Serena Sellick – personal journeys into leadership – team dynamics and operations – how to build your skillset and relay the vision. Leadership behaviours. Building substantial evidence
  • Team Belonging with Delia Nicholson and Vicky Purdy: building a culture of psychological safety and key takeaways based on the most effective current research to start developing the concepts covered in the morning.
  • Team Development – building a coaching culture and using IRIS resources to help grow yourselves as an effective team – Stacey Aisthorpe and Katie Bradley


Delia Nicholson

Delia has been working with early career teachers for many years and counts the facilitation of these courses as some of her favourite moments in teaching, due to the enthusiasm and fresh ideas each course brings, along with a sense of community amongst practitioners of all disciplines and phases, at the start of their career.

Delia is currently ECF lead for Diverse Academies and leads a team of facilitators across Bassetlaw schools as part of the Redhill Teaching Hub, delivering training to ECTs in Year 1 and 2, as well as their mentors. She is interested in research and how it works in the classroom as well as being a passionate advocate for mentors getting the support they need to do their role well.


Vicky Purdy

Vicky has worked as an MFL teacher for many years and has experience of working as a pastoral and faculty leader. Having worked as a facilitator for the Early Career Framework, she has a strong belief that collaboration and reflection on classroom practice brings together colleagues of all phases. Therefore, collectively we ensure that all students and teachers experience the very best classroom environment and learning opportunities.

Vicky is currently an Assistant Principal at East Leake Academy and oversees staff development for trainees, ECTs and experienced colleagues. She is passionate about developing coaching and mentoring so that every colleague has the opportunity to expand and explore their thinking around professional development. She is a keen advocate of research, using her well informed practice to support academic progress and loves putting these ideas into practice in her own classroom as well as empowering others to do the same.

Coaching Lead

Stacey Aisthorpe

Stacey is Strategic Lead for Coaching within the Diverse Association for Professional Learning. Her main role involves working with Coaching Champions across Diverse Academies Trust to create and embed a coaching culture which is committed to growing the team with the main aim of developing high performing people within our organisation. She is also one of the facilitators for the Olevi coaching programmes which enable delegates to gain knowledge of coaching, acquire and develop their own coaching techniques and reflect upon the styles of coaching which can be applied to their setting.

Session 1 – High Expectations in our Classroom – 24 January 2024
Session 2 Assessment, Feedback and Metacognition – 12 March 2024
Session 3 – Stepping Up to Leadership – 18 June 2024

Retford Education Centre
Old Hall Drive
DN22 7EA

All session are 8.30am-3.30pm

£75 per session or £150 for all 3 sessions

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