I am the Deputy Head Teacher at Shaftesbury Park Primary School and have been in this role for two years. Network for Languages London has provided me with many opportunities for developing my practice and improving languages provision at my school. Firstly, it has opened up a network of language practitioners whom I meet with on a regular basis to share ideas and discuss challenges faced in language education – as the role of deputy can be quite isolated at times it has been invaluable to meet with other educators working towards the promotion of language in equally challenging contexts. Secondly, though the support of our school mentor, we were able to expand our network to support local schools and work with other schools to share approaches to assessment and curriculum. Finally it has allowed me to explore my leadership qualities through organising training sessions within school and enabling colleagues to present at conferences – the guidance I received from Network for Languages to help me organise this has been invaluable.
On a practical level, due to training provided by Network for Languages and support from our tutor we have three teaching assistants who are now team-teaching French with a non-fluent class teacher on a regular basis and one HLTA has taken responsibility for our French phonics programme. Thus we have developed the role of our teaching assistants from supporting learners within the class to actively supporting the class teacher to deliver stimulating lessons.
We are already discussing ways to continue the work of Network for Languages after the end of this project. On a personal level the experience of working with Network for Languages has developed my confidence and experience of working with an organisation outside of my local authority and has prepared me for the journey towards headship.
Mr Andy Smith , Deputy Head, Shaftsbury Park Primary School, Wandsworth Professional Language Network Hub