Chestnut Grove Academy
45 Chestnut Grove
Balham, London SW12 8JZ

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Great teachers are not born, neither are they made by their university course. Great teachers create themselves. They do this by having students’ learning needs at their hearts. They do this by taking ownership of their own professional development and charting the map of their own learning. Finally, they do this by engaging in the experiential and reflective learning cycle that an outstanding professional learning programme provides. These beliefs lie at the heart of Chestnut Grove Academy’s approach to the continuous learning and development of our staff.

Our proactive approach to staff learning means we continue to provide outstanding learning opportunities for all our students. Our staff are core to the wellbeing and academic success of our students, which is why their professional learning is key. We have been awarded the Institute of Education/University College London Gold Award for Continuous Professional Development and we are a Specialist Partner with IOE/UCL in providing initial teacher training.

Our programme engages teachers on many levels, from direct instruction and mentoring to collaborative learning. In recognition of our staff’s different starting points, developmental needs and career aspirations, our career professional development has a number of strands: we provide bespoke training for middle leaders, heads of departments, senior leaders, newly qualified teachers, those in the second year of teaching (NQT+1), learning support assistants, learning mentors and support staff. At all times, we encourage critical reflection and a supportive learning approach. Above all, we encourage all staff to take ownership of their own learning by identifying, delivering and evaluating the content of professional development programmes.

In determining the content of our career professional development, we start by deciding what impact we want to make on our students’ outcomes. Thus, our professional development is organically linked with the school improvement plan. Our professional learning programmes are fluid and change from year to year in order to meet the every changing challenge of change. Each year staff are encouraged to work together in small research groups to explore new practical and pedagogical ideas and reflect critically on their own practice.

Our present programme concentrates very strongly on developing leadership within the school and across the Wandle Teaching Schools Alliance. Programmes such as the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership, the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership and our own Stepping up To Leadership ensure that we have a sustainable leadership cohort. We also focus on developing our staff as mentors and coaches and have written certified courses for University College London, Institute of Education and International Leadership and Management.  

Our focus for 2020-2021 will be on the subject-specific aspects of teaching literacy, effective deployment of learning support assistants, teaching student with SEN and high attainers, providing effective feedback and staff well-being. Also, our teachers will be working in smaller groups on professional needs they have identified themselves, such as data analysis, differentiation, effective behaviour management and sixth form teaching.

Our close collaboration with The Wandle Teaching Schools Alliance provides us with a wealth of training opportunities, including liaison between the faculties, access to a vast number of courses and enabling our champions to deliver training beyond the Academy.


You can find more about our system wide work and programmes on the Wandle TSA website