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OWN Trust Professional Day - Teaching Assistants and Support Staff 30.10.23

By Nick File, Executive Deputy Headteacher, OWN Trust

The start of the second half-term in Autumn began with a whole day of professional development for Teaching Assistants and Support Staff, hosted at Woodston School. For some, it was their first visit to Woodston, so there was time to explore the corridors and classrooms and later enjoy a tasty jacket potato, chilli and various fancy biscuits and cakes.

An Introduction to Walkthus

The day began with an introduction to Walkthrus delivered by “lone nuts”, Nick File and Trevor Goakes, who are the OWN Trust Executive Deputy Headteachers. Walkthrus are now a shared toolkit for the OWN trust; all schools have selected a core range, which they will continue to develop over the next few years. This session ensured that all staff supporting children know what a Walkthru is and the common features. “Cold Calling” and “Signal, Pause, Insist” were explicitly delivered as common Walkthrus to all three schools.  This toolkit will ensure that as an employer, the OWN trust can develop staff and build strengths from a proven resource.



The OWN Trust Community Group

Next followed a presentation by the Community Group, giving a reminder of the aims for the group and who leads the initiative; OWPS – Jo Simmons, NVPS – Carly Pearson, WPS – Kelly Fenton-Bradshaw & Mia Downs, Central Office – Stuart Mansell & Fiona Schneider. There was a highlight of what had been accomplished so far, followed by the introduction of the new OWN Trust News App to stay in closer contact with what is going on. Maybe you accessed this newspost through the App!

OAP – Ordinary Available Provision

The last formal section of the day included a session by the schools’ SENDCos with a key message of inclusion. The key features are reasonable adjustments made as part of First Quality Teaching. Teaching Assistants and Support Staff used their extensive knowledge to explore case studies and were able to discuss the techniques and experience they had with colleagues from other schools in the Trust. The finale was the OWN Trust guide to Ordinarily Available Provision, a toolkit for identifying and offering reasonable adjustments (OAP) in the four areas of need.


A calming Sound Bath before lunch

Ness Toyne offered an optional calming activity, which she uses at Orton Wistow as an alternative provision. Most of the room left to experience this, so the calming activity may well be finding its way into all three schools, possibly not just for children!


Shonette Bason Wood

The day concluded as it started with humour – but possibly with slightly more! Shonette Bason Wood (Teacher Training - Spread the happiness), a renowned motivational speaker in education, led her fantastic session ‘Permission to be a Happy Educator’. Famous for her “Dough Disco”, Shonette delivered an entertaining afternoon of ways to support personal well-being, interwoven with a fast and comedic delivery.  She encouraged all present to have a disco in their cars before entering school, whether this involved just turning up the volume or actually dancing in the car.