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Communities of Practice

Professional Development
Skills for Life Network

The three AP ‘Communities of Practice’ have been moving up the gears during the busiest term of the year. We have 100 places allocated and are always delighted to consider new interest.

Mentor relationships between the AP graduates of Constellation C and the prospective APs of Constellation A are thriving. Constellation A was always a pilot and we are learning so much from participants about how we can make it an even more effective experience if #APConnect goes into a third year.

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Constellation B braved rain and floods to meet in Birmingham on the 8th of November for a ‘reconnections’ day, which was truly lovely. We focused on impact and the danger of losing sapphires of evidence in pursuit of quality assurance data. Participants also reflected on their capacity to influence culture change – their potentia – and appreciated the blend of practical activity, meaningful theory and reflection. 

In Constellation C, APs are going from strength to strength, doing exactly as we hoped by amplifying on a national stage the powerhouse role that is the Advanced Practitioner.

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The Bowerbird Reports

The Bowerbird has been hopping around #APConnect’s digital spaces to see what APs have been up to. He found plenty of sapphires! 


This original and best FE twitterchat has been running for several years, created and hosted by Sarah Simons. This term, it has regularly been hosted by APs from Constellation C, some of whom were nervous and new to Twitter but they’ve done brilliantly and the Team #APConnect support network has been strong! Shout out to Marsida Horeshka, Ruksana Patel and Dorothy Braidwood and to Annie Pendrey for unstinting cheerleading and support. 

The Inner Coach 

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Lynn Naylor of Liverpool Adult Learning Service has published two episodes of her first ever podcast, The Inner Coach. Lynn said ‘please be kind’ when she shared the introductory episode with her fellow podcasters on Constellation C but we didn’t need to be kind – we loved it! Lynn is hoping to co-broadcast with colleagues in time, but for the moment, like The Bowerbird, she’s enjoying finding her own ‘Inner Voice’.

Managing Your Workload

Throughout November, Constellation A’s Simon Horner, from Bishop Burton College, has been initiating mental health workshops, addressing the eye-opening statistics around mental health in education. Did you know that 76% of education staff report some form of mental health problems, caused by their work? Simon has also opened up a Slack Workspace for colleagues, focused around everything health and wellbeing. The Bowerbird hopes to tempt him into the Writing Rooms sometime soon.

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#APConnect on Tour

Constellation C (and CPD) participant Amanda Price from HMP Onley was surprised to be invited to Birmingham City University to give an undergraduate lecture– but a little Bowerbird knew it was in the pipeline. Mandy loved it! She tweeted: “Guest speaking at BCU was such a great experience, amazing group of learners discussing offender learning pedagogy! What a group of inspiring learner educators!”. Knowing Mandy’s superb work with the Thinking Environment in secure estates, the Bowerbird is pretty sure the feeling is mutual.


CPD Cohort 4

CPD Cohort 4 graduate Katheryn Cockerton has been a regular contributor to the wider #APConnect community of practice since she took on a new role with the Centres for Excellence in Maths programme, running an action research cluster at Weston College. Katheryn’s bright idea was to train a group of talented maths tutors in the Thinking Environment, focusing on teaching people in order to teach better maths. After three training days with Lou Mycroft at the gorgeous Winter Gardens in Weston super Mare, the group are ready to begin their action research planning for a January start.

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