A Professional Learning Journey: Edward Walter

Edward Walter worked at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School from September 2007 and was appointed Head of Spanish there in November 2011 following two years as International Coordinator.  He was subsequently made Head of Modern Languages in April 2013 and led the Astra Teaching School’s NQT Appropriate Body.  He completed his NPQSL with the Astra Alliance / Outstanding Leaders Alliance in July 2016, and subsequently secured the position of Assistant Headteacher at Dr Challoner's High School, starting there in September 2017.  Below he details how the NPQSL qualification made a valuable contribution to his professional development.  

Ed Walter
 

There is no doubt that the NPQSL has been pivotal in helping me to develop the leadership competencies required to become an outstanding senior leader; it allowed me to bridge the gap between middle and senior leadership.  I was able to put my knowledge into practice when leading the Astra NQT Appropriate Body, and it played a crucial role in me having the confidence to apply for, and take on, my current position of Assistant Headteacher on the Senior Leadership Team at DCHS. 

For the NPQSL, there are three different elements that have to be completed on the way to gaining the qualification - four face-to-face days, four online study modules and a whole school development project and subsequent write-up.
 
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I found the face-to-face days were invaluable as I received excellent training from current school senior leaders and it was here where I was able to share experiences with the rest of my cohort. The face-to-face days also helped when it came to working independently online. These online modules are completed at set periods of time over the duration of the programme and are overseen by an online facilitator. The two compulsory modules (“Closing the Gap” and “Succeeding in Senior Leadership”) assisted in my understanding of how to interpret complex data from RAISEonline, the Fischer Family Trust and other similar indicators as well as gaining an insight into the qualities of a successful school senior leader. I then elected to study two other modules - “Effective Whole School Management” and “Improving the Quality of Teaching and Learning” as these areas of study dovetailed perfectly with my current and aspiring roles.

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Perhaps the most challenging (but extremely rewarding) part of the qualification was leading on a whole school development priority - in my case, the use of the Google Classroom virtual learning environment. Leading on a whole school project is exceptionally valuable as I was able to liaise with the Senior Leadership Team, a student research group, a parent research group, Heads of Faculty, Heads of Years and other key members of staff school wide. The project was assessed through a detailed written piece of work which links to the leadership competencies. This work is marked by a school based sponsor and the Headteacher before final submission to the EMLC.

In total, this qualification took me just under 18 months to complete. I am very grateful to the Astra Alliance, the Outstanding Leaders Alliance, the Best Practice Network and the National College for their support and encouragement.