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Continuing professional development with the Inspiration Trust - Chelsea Walls

Published on 08/07/20

We caught up with Great Yarmouth Primary Academy's Year 6 Teacher and Wider Curriculum Lead, Chelsea Walls. Chelsea's role extends to Primary Curriculum Associate from September.  

When and why did you join the Inspiration Trust?

I joined the Inspiration Trust in September 2016 as part of the Teach First training programme. I am from Norfolk myself and wanted to work to improve educational disadvantage within my own local area. As a result of this, I was placed at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, where I have since worked for the last four years in a variety of different roles.

How has the Inspiration Trust supported your development?

Both my school and the Trust have been extremely positive in accommodating my career goals and have always encouraged me to seek further training opportunities. I completed both my trainee and NQT year within the Trust before starting to work out my own passions and career pathway. For example, I have always had an interest in special educational needs and disabilities, so the Trust supported me through my National Award for SEN Coordination during 2019/20. Additionally, I have also completed my Lead Practitioner qualification and am currently working towards my NPQSL.

Tell us about how your career has developed?

During my NQT year, I was part of the Trust’s Strategic School Improvement Fund project which examined the impact of a knowledge-rich curriculum on children’s vocabulary and reading. Being part of this project opened many doors for me as I was fortunate enough to work with many incredible individuals who completely changed my thinking around how schools should teach wider curriculum subjects. In the second year of the project, I became Project Lead for my school, which then ultimately led to the role of a school-wide middle leadership curriculum position, with a specific focus on foundation subjects. Following the success of this role and my work as part of the SSIF project, I was appointed Primary Curriculum Associate in order to continue the Trust’s curriculum work across our primary schools, with a particular focus on KS1 and subject leadership.

Which specific aspects of the Inspiration Trust’s CPD offer had the most impact on you?

The CPD I received on the SSIF project was second to none and hugely impacted my teaching practice. Some examples include the importance of concepts such as a coherent curriculum design, pre-teaching vocabulary and regular retrieval practice, and ultimately how all of these things improve children’s ability to read.

What would you say to someone considering applying for a job within Inspiration Trust?

Teaching is an incredibly rewarding profession and no two days are ever the same. In everything that school staff do, the pupils come first and foremost. The relationships you build with both children and staff are an absolute highlight of the job. On top of this, hard work and dedication to the Trust results in opportunities for career progression in whichever direction you may wish to take.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

My passion for education lies in the classroom – teaching lessons and supporting pupils to make progress. This isn’t something that I can see changing.

However, I am also excited by curriculum design and development - I feel a real sense of responsibility to ensure that we get this right. It’s an ongoing process which is never quite finished, so I’d love to still be working in this sort of leadership role for the foreseeable future, perhaps within a school’s Senior Leadership Team.