With special thanks to Macauley Shilton for sharing his story

There is never a ‘closed door’ when it comes to investing in staff CPD at Diverse Academies Trust. An encouraging statement made by one of our English teachers at Tuxford Academy, who believes wholeheartedly, that we provide plenty of opportunities for staff to progress and develop in their professional careers. Macauley Shilton, who has recently entered his fourth year of teaching, has taken full advantage of a variety of CPD programmes on offer by the Association. Describing the fact that he feels highly valued in his teaching role, Macauley spoke enthusiastically about the most recent course he has attended; Focus Five, a bespoke programme designed to support those who are in their third, fourth or fifth year of teaching. It has become increasingly known that a high proportion of teachers are leaving the profession in these years which is why this programme has been written, to help build on the existing early careers framework and support early practitioners with well-being, peer coaching and leadership aspirations. These objectives suited Macauley perfectly, following a highly supportive PDP conversation, he was keen to find a foundation that built on the initial support he received in his early teaching career.

It was clear that Macauley joined the teaching profession to share his love for his subject and help support young people with their learning. Claiming honestly that he has always felt ‘slightly nervous about the prospect of leadership, Macauley was keen to engage in a programme that boosted his confidence, motivation and thinking. Only then could he consider the prospect of setting aspirational targets that took him beyond the classroom and into the realms of leadership. Interestingly, the turning point for Macauley has come in the most pivotal years of teaching therefore supporting the need for a programme such as Focus Five to offer direction, positivity, and support to those who are well-established in the classroom.

Focus Five certainly helped Macauley unpick some of the misconceptions surrounding routes into leadership, highlighting alternative options such as mentoring, coaching and teaching and learning leadership roles. I could sense his enthusiasm had been ignited because of Focus Five, owing to the clarity and direction it offered. It is this awareness that teachers need at a crucial point in their career. Focus Five has also provided an opportunity for Macauley to explore the finer details of teaching for example concepts like metacognition. The details that are perhaps not at the forefront of an early careers teacher’s practice. Again, this programme is fulfilling a need to offer teachers, in the early stages of their career, an opportunity to refine their skills and develop a deeper understanding of what it takes to become an outstanding practitioner.

Re-direction, re-vitalising, refreshing, these are just some of the words Macauley used to describe the impact that Focus Five has had on him. After attending all three sessions, he was complementary of the fact that the whole programme encourages reflection, an opening up of new ideas and the potential to build up a support network with other professionals who are quite simply experts in their field. Furthermore, the programme allows for sharing not only best practice, but the most efficient practice particularly in areas such as assessment and feedback where certain pressure points can be felt by even the most experienced teachers.

The impact the Focus Five programme has had on Macauley is undoubtedly positive, resulting in him applying for an internal role in faculty two weeks after attending. It seems fitting to end this piece with a direct quote from him, ‘I’ve never felt more optimistic about teaching than the day after the Focus Five programme…it was excellent’.

Written by Emma Hudson-Cave, BSc Hons




Macauley Shilton