Expectations for all our students are very high. We talk about the ‘Simon Balle Student’, someone who has a fantastic educational experience and who have achieved the highest possible examination grades. Our students will, because of the opportunities on offer coupled with our expectations, be highly motivated, resourceful and resilient, respectful and responsible in their actions.
This is also true of our staff and we provide all the necessary support to ensure that staff reach our expectations. All new teaching staff who start in September attend for a day’s induction in July. You will receive safeguarding training, meet the Headteacher to discuss the school ethos and meet the School Manager who outlines professional expectations and receive the staff handbook and procedures. You will also spend time with the Network Manager and then be able to spend time in your department.
All new staff, apart from NQTs and Schools Direct teachers will be appointed a coach as part of their induction for the first term. The evaluation of this has been exceptionally positive and many continue after the end of the term.
Each NQT and Schools Direct teacher receives a mentor for the duration of their first year. You will have weekly meetings with your mentor who will usually be in your department. Our professional development programme offered to all our NQTs has received an outstanding validation from the University of Hertfordshire and Ofsted as part of their University inspection. NQTs also take part in half termly professional development sessions across a network of schools to encourage collaboration and engage in a reflective inquiry project of your choosing. The research findings are shared with the Head of Department, mentors and SLT at the end of NQT year celebration.
Second year teachers continue to be supported and meet with their appointed coach fortnightly for the first two terms and are involved in a reflective inquiry project.
Formal and informal coaching is available for all staff. All teaching staff who return to work after a lengthy period of absence, maternity or illness are offered a coach as part of their return to work package.
All staff continue with their CPD to promote the school as a professional learning community.
‘We are a nurturing community. Relationships at Simon Balle are outstanding, newcomers feel welcomed and deep, lasting friendships are developed. Guiding and supporting both students and parents are key aspects of our work’ School Prospectus 2014/15
This statement also applies to all our staff who are our most valued asset.