Continuous Professional Development

The Link Academy Trust believe in 'Opportunities for All' and recognise that the importance of continued learning and training is the best way for all our staff to develop the skills they need to progress in their employment with us.  

We are committed to offering our staff varied training opportunities within their current roles to equip them with the knowledge and positive attitudes they need to participate and progress to possibly enhancing their position with the Trust for the future. 

Individual Career Development

Every member of staff in the Link Academy Trust has the best opportunities to develop their skills, passions and expertise, every year.

External providers offer a range of high quality training which we access in order to support staff to improve and develop. This ranges from the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers (NPQH) to locally run Subject Briefings, Therapy training which helps us support vulnerable or challenging pupils right through to quality Governor training.

Internal programmes, designed and run by experts within the Trust supplement our training programme further and are highly successful in ensuring aspiring staff are able to access additional opportunities to gain excellence, expertise and skills.

Examples of some of the most successful are summarised and include an outline of our Newly Qualified/ Early career Teacher’s package, the Teaching Assistant Development programme and the Journey into Leadership training.

Bespoke training packages are refined and delivered every year in order to address the needs of our staff in the relentless strive to be the best we can be.


My journey within The Link Academy Trust  
Lizzie Lethbridge  

On the 1st of April 2016, I joined the Trust as Academy Head of Harbertonford C of E Primary School. This was the same day that The Link Academy Trust officially began, and I feel that I have been an integral part of the journey so far.  I immediately felt valued as part of the team, and it quickly became clear to me that small schools are amazing settings to lead.    

In January 2018, I had the opportunity to expand my leadership role further to become Executive Academy Head of both Harbertonford and Diptford C of E Primary Schools.  School Improvement is my passion, so I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to spread my wings – and delighted that my capacity for leadership had been recognised and nurtured.  I continued to lead both schools for just over two years, successfully undertaking two Ofsteds and a SIAMS inspection.   

From there, I moved out of Harbertonford, continuing as Diptford Academy Head, to undertake a new, Trust-wide role as Academy Trust School Standards and Educational Outcomes Lead.  Within this role, I was able to support other schools and Academy Heads from across our Trust and develop a more strategic insight . Along the way I have also achieved the National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership and am now Director of Education for the Trust heading up the 'Executive Improvement Team'.

My journey has been diverse, exciting and ever-evolving - brilliant for someone like me who thrives on challenge and variety!  But what continues to fuel my passion for The Link Academy Trust is that the team lies at its core.  I feel privileged to work with an amazing group of people who support each other and thrive on a collaborative approach.  We share a passion for our schools and work together to ensure that they are successful, vibrant, creative and forward-thinking.  Our shared vision and values have evolved as we have worked together and underpin everything we do - small schools really do have big opportunities! 

I am still excited about coming to work every day and look forward to my future within the Trust.  

Strategic Trust Improvement CPD

Annually the Trust prioritise specific areas of Improvement linked with current educational thinking and initiatives.

The 2019-20 priorities will focus on the requirements of the New Ofsted Framework linked with the National Curriculum and Quality First Teaching. Curriculum Leadership Groups have been established to give Middle Leaders an opportunity to have an impact across the Trust in their area of expertise, while developing leadership skills and improving outcomes for pupils.

External training opportunities will extend the depth of improvement in each subject area as links to Teaching School Alliance programmes extend understanding and working with professional bodies hones teachers and leaders skills

Mandatory Training

At the Link Academy Trust, we have a moral and legal responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for all our staff and pupils. We ensure our employees have the level of knowledge and skills to operate safely and that a healthy and safe working environment in all our Academies is maintained.

We provide a standardised approach to the delivery of statutory and mandatory training to support all our Academies. Our dedicated HR Officer is responsible for ensuring that training requirements in areas such as First Aid, Safeguarding and Health & Safety are monitored and renewed as and when necessary. This clear process protects our staff and pupils, making sure that as a Trust, we are compliant.

In other areas of CPD, e.g. Curriculum subjects and Moderation events, it is the responsibility of our Academy Heads to identify appropriate courses for their staff to attend.

Below are some examples of our inhouse continuous professional development programmes:
Academy Heads Professional Skills Programme  
Aims & Objectives:
  • To ensure Academy Heads are confident to effectively and successfully lead and manage an Academy within the Link Academy Trust
  • To ensure management consistency across the Link Academy Trust
  • To identify management skills that need developing for individuals and provide support to achieve this over the year
Early Career, Newly Joined and Prospective Academy Heads
For our new Academy Heads at the start of their journey into Leadership, for those already experienced in the role but new to our Trust and existing teachers with the future potential as leaders, we offer a bespoke training programme. Introducing them to procedures and policies and  key areas within the Academy Heads roles and responsibilities, we aim to support and guide them, expand their skills and knowledge and arm them with the tools and resources required.
Higher Level Teaching Assistant 
To clarify and work towards the professional standards for HLTA status and offers a programme of bespoke learning to enhance skills and knowledge
Teaching Assistants
Teaching Assistants are valued highly by the Link Academy Trust and we recognise the huge impact they have on pupils, staff and families within our academies.
As well as training opportunities provided for bespoke needs within individual Academies , every Teaching Assistant in our Trust is invited to Trust wide training that takes place every term and is facilitated by Sarah Clarke, our Academy Trust Strategic Improvement Lead.  It is a great opportunity for our Teaching Assistants to reach out and support each other with the ever-increasing demands of the job and the pupils for which they care.  This training follows the Trust's main improvement priorities and ensures that all of our Teaching Assistants are skilled and equipped to deal with the developing nature of the job.