← Back to search results

SSAT

SSAT exists to help improve outcomes for all young people. They work to provide fresh ideas for ambitious schools. As a school membership organisation, they believe in a truly school-led system, with schools working in partnership across and beyond the education sector. They have been working with schools for over 30 years, and continue to offer insight and understanding into teaching, learning and system leadership.

Their professional development and school improvement programmes help leaders and teachers to further outcomes for all young people, and develop leadership at all levels across the system.

For example, their SSAT Lead Practitioner Accreditation Programme celebrates and motivates great teachers on a individual basis, especially ones who lead and develop others. A rigorous process of self-reflection and evaluation, Lead Practitioner Accreditation improves the individual’s professional skills and expertise.

Aspiring Lead Practitioners can also form a cohort within a single school or across a multi-academy trust, using the LP framework to develop small scale research projects, aligned to school priorities, that impact on students’ learning. The programme supports applicants to present their evidence not just to their existing teams, but to colleagues within their school and beyond.

Examples of Programmes Offered

  • Lead Practitioner Accreditation Programme
  • Who’s it for?
    All teachers and leaders who are involved in supporting others to improve their practice, including support staff in all schools (regardless of phase or type of school) 

    Course overview
    The Lead Practitioner (LP) programme aims to celebrate and motivate great teachers on an individual basis, especially ones who lead others to develop themselves.

    Participants use the LP framework to develop small-scale research projects that impact on students’ learning before presenting their evidence beyond their existing teams to colleagues within their school and beyond.

    Lead Practitioner Accreditation improves the individual’s professional skills and expertise using a rigorous process of self-reflection and evaluation using a framework of professional standards.

    It recognises the skills, experience and qualities of school staff at every level, serving to embed and extend teaching and learning that impacts positively on learners.

    If you have decided that leadership of learning, rather than system leadership, is your chosen career path, the Lead Practitioner Accreditation programme provides a structure that enables you to develop and flourish.

    Once accredited, Lead Practitioners continue their journey by developing as leaders of learning, inspiring others to embrace Lead Practitioner standards and creating communities of learners across the system.

    Programme duration
    Aspiring Lead Practitioners have up to 2 years to submit their application although most aim for approx 12-18 months. Time taken is that to write the supporting statements and collate the supporting evidence for the accreditation

    How many people is this for?
    Individuals can do the programme as a standalone or cohorts of people from the same school, alliance or MAT can do it at the same time (although each person completes their own individual application)

    Estimated cost
    Usually costs non-SSAT members £600 per person but CPDBee users can benefit from the SSAT member price of £450 per person.

    Where and how is this delivered?
    SSAT Lead Practitioners carry out an action research project linked to school or local priorities. The online assessment tool is then used to assess progress against the ten SSAT Lead Practitioner standards.

    The process of self-assessment is supported by guidance and moderation from SSAT experts, enabling practitioners to reflect on the impact of their practice and expand on how it can be shared and developed with colleagues.

    Moderation is carried out twice a year by expert SSAT moderators. Aspiring LPs can submit their online application and portfolio at the most appropriate time, when they are ready

    Dates
    No dates (online programme), rolling applications

    Possible Promotions
    When you enquire through CPDBee you can secure the LP programme for the SSAT member price of £450 (rather than the non-member price of £650).
    SSAT may also offer reduced rates if you book groups of practitioners onto the programme.
    Contact SSAT for more information.

Delivery location

SSAT delivers programmes nationally in the UK.

Impact

Impact to date

Since its beginnings, the SSAT Lead Practitioner Programme has been used to support schools, Multi Academy Trusts and Teaching School Alliances develop programmes concentrating on their school development priorities. Over 5,000 practitioners have been involved, each of whom have developed, gained recognition and impacted on the practice of others.

Schools’ testimonials and case studies carried out by SSAT show it has a large and varied impact. They show the LP Accreditation Programme has: established professional networks of practice; created more collegiate and supportive atmospheres; improved leadership, coaching and pedagogy; supported career progression, raised teachers’ expectations, motivation and confidence; lead to more tailored professional development and improved NQT training; embedded mastery curricula; improved the quality of questioning, marking and feedback; improved student literacy and GCSE pass rates.

Impact measurements used

Through the Lead Practitioner Accreditation, SSAT aim to improve teachers’ professional knowledge, personal skills and attributes and impact on others. They measure the programme’s impact in several ways.

Teachers go through a rigorous self-assessment against the LP Accreditation criteria and an online portfolio submission, which is moderated by existing Lead Practitioners. SSAT monitor pass rates and carry out a detailed review and evaluation of both processes and outcomes. Delegates complete an end of programme evaluation, which captures their feedback on the quality of the programme and its delivery. It also captures what delegates thought the impact of the programme has on their school, their own development and what the single biggest impact of the LP programme was and why.

Finally, they gather testimonials from schools and build detailed case studies.

External assessment of impact

The SSAT have not yet had an independent, external evaluation of their impact.

Expertise

Programme design philosophy

The SSAT Lead Practitioner (LP) programme celebrates and motivates great teachers on an individual basis, especially those who lead others to develop. The programme is made up of a framework of professional standards and a process of accreditation that has been designed by the profession, for the profession. It recognises the skills, experience and qualities of school staff at every level, serving to embed and extend teaching and learning that impacts positively on learners.

Participants use the LP framework to develop small scale research projects that impact on specific student outcomes and build an evidence base of what works. A rigorous process of self-reflection and evaluation improves individuals’ professional skills and expertise.

Upon completion, applicants present their evidence beyond their existing teams to colleagues within their school and beyond. Accredited status is awarded to the individual, but the programme is at its most powerful when headteachers prioritise it at a whole-school level to support their development priorities.

Accreditation can be undertaken as an individual practitioner or as a group of practitioners working together, with many schools implementing their own Lead Practitioner accreditation programmes to support and develop their best practitioners within their school.

Team experience and expertise

The Lead Practitioner Programme is an online self-reflection and portfolio application, which is moderated by existing LPs who have completed the programme (and have experience of leading others) themselves, so it does not require facilitators to deliver it.

However, there are support training sessions that can be delivered to a cohort of practitioners when booked together. The SSAT has many experienced facilitators from a range of school backgrounds and phases, who can deliver them.

There is also a project team at SSAT with a wealth of education experience, who support LPs with the logistics and the completion of the programme.

Testimonials

The Romsey School, Colm McKavanagh, Headteacher

It is highly likely we would recommend SSAT, because of the long-term impact on individual teachers, who have benefitted from the various programmes. As well as their knowledge base being improved, they take greater responsibility for their own professional learning and career development and have had a strong impact on other colleagues within the organisation in terms of supporting children’s learning. So in summary, it isn’t just about the input really, it is the follow-up work which creates capacity for these colleagues and helps them to understand the value of their own independent learning.

Bonus Pastor Catholic College., Jonathan Ronan, Head of School

We used the Lead Practitioner scheme as a tool to engage some of our experienced staff. We wanted to ignite that passion for improving practice.

We felt the training, the focus on research and also the name of the SSAT made the LP programme a success for us.

Ofsted were particularly impressed with how we linked this to our SIP and PM targets.

 Empower Learning Academy Trust, Simon London, CEO

SSAT provide relevant, focused and demand driven CPD. Their delivery team consists of proven practitioners and leaders. They are adaptable and flexible in terms of delivery approaches and programme content and constantly seek to address the burning issues of the day. Support staff are friendly, helpful and open to feedback. Programmes can be one offs, extended and devolved to school based teams following accreditation.

We have found their support and training powerful in helping us make improvements within our MAT schools and invaluable for our Teaching School offer.

We have been an SSAT member since 1997 in one form or another and we will continue this long into the future we anticipate

Leigh Academies Trust, Emma Smith, Vice Principal

We embarked on the LP programme because we wanted to recognise the excellent practice that was happening in our classrooms delivered by our teachers and we wanted to do that using a framework that allowed our staff to gain national recognition. When staff join the LP programme they go on their own journey and they push the boundaries. The framework not only guides the LP through that journey but really challenges them to be the very best they can possibly be all of the time

Chobham Academy, Harris Federation, Sarah Heuston, Vice Principal

The Lead Practitioners have such an integral role in terms of school improvement: I really don’t know how we would have got such fantastic teaching and learning outcomes without them. Their role as coaches in improving teachers has been absolutely crucial in raising the standards of good and outstanding teaching at the academy. We started off around 50% good or outstanding teaching but by the end of the first year at 96% good or better teaching and 40% outstanding and they had such a crucial role in that.

St Gregory the Great Catholic School, Dr Marcella McCarthy, Principal

Schools are essentially a fantastic research laboratory, and the Lead Practitioner programme encourages people to evaluate research, to think about it, to organise it, to work together and it is about becoming more professional.

The Romsey School, Colm McKavanagh, Headteacher

It is highly likely we would recommend SSAT, because of the long-term impact on individual teachers, who have benefitted from the various programmes. As well as their knowledge base being improved, they take greater responsibility for their own professional learning and career development and have had a strong impact on other colleagues within the organisation in terms of supporting children’s learning. So in summary, it isn’t just about the input really, it is the follow-up work which creates capacity for these colleagues and helps them to understand the value of their own independent learning.

Bonus Pastor Catholic College., Jonathan Ronan, Head of School

We used the Lead Practitioner scheme as a tool to engage some of our experienced staff. We wanted to ignite that passion for improving practice.

We felt the training, the focus on research and also the name of the SSAT made the LP programme a success for us.

Ofsted were particularly impressed with how we linked this to our SIP and PM targets.

 Empower Learning Academy Trust, Simon London, CEO

SSAT provide relevant, focused and demand driven CPD. Their delivery team consists of proven practitioners and leaders. They are adaptable and flexible in terms of delivery approaches and programme content and constantly seek to address the burning issues of the day. Support staff are friendly, helpful and open to feedback. Programmes can be one offs, extended and devolved to school based teams following accreditation.

We have found their support and training powerful in helping us make improvements within our MAT schools and invaluable for our Teaching School offer.

We have been an SSAT member since 1997 in one form or another and we will continue this long into the future we anticipate

Leigh Academies Trust, Emma Smith, Vice Principal

We embarked on the LP programme because we wanted to recognise the excellent practice that was happening in our classrooms delivered by our teachers and we wanted to do that using a framework that allowed our staff to gain national recognition. When staff join the LP programme they go on their own journey and they push the boundaries. The framework not only guides the LP through that journey but really challenges them to be the very best they can possibly be all of the time

Chobham Academy, Harris Federation, Sarah Heuston, Vice Principal

The Lead Practitioners have such an integral role in terms of school improvement: I really don’t know how we would have got such fantastic teaching and learning outcomes without them. Their role as coaches in improving teachers has been absolutely crucial in raising the standards of good and outstanding teaching at the academy. We started off around 50% good or outstanding teaching but by the end of the first year at 96% good or better teaching and 40% outstanding and they had such a crucial role in that.

St Gregory the Great Catholic School, Dr Marcella McCarthy, Principal

Schools are essentially a fantastic research laboratory, and the Lead Practitioner programme encourages people to evaluate research, to think about it, to organise it, to work together and it is about becoming more professional.