Dunholme St Chad's Church Of England Primary School

  1. Key Information
  2. Professional Learning Community


At Dunholme St Chad’s, we are ambitious in all that we do and continually strive to improve. As such, we are proud to work with, and be involved in, different Professional Learning Communities beyond our school setting that develop our teaching and learning based on current ideologies and practices.

Each year, staff at our school actively engage in action research projects through our associated partners which link to our school development priorities. Using educational guidance reports in order to drive change and innovation in education and our teaching practices, we strengthen staff professional development using coaching methods that build on the skillset of our team so that we can support other professionals within and beyond our setting.

We strive to be a forward thinking and outward looking school team.

Current Professional Learning Involvement 2022/2023

Catherine Ackroyd, Deputy Headteacher, is currently enrolled in a professional learning community exploring Cognitive Theory, Memory and Metacognition (CTMM). This is being disseminated through our own CPD sessions and staff in school are exploring key ideas in their own classes. We have opportunities to share and discuss what we have done and the impact of this in helping children learn. This has resulted in reviews in practice and policy such as ensuring learning ‘flashbacks’ are introduced into English, after the successes of these in maths lessons, and also looking at how we can best share information with children that prevents ‘Cognitive Overload’.

Suzi Balasz, curriculum leader and Specialist Teacher in Education,  is currently completing a National Professional Qualification in Leading Teacher Development. This is to support with her leadership role in school in developing the school curriculum and also the outreach work she has undertaken for a number of years. Suzi works as part of the Early Career Teacher Team for Kyra, leading courses on teacher development as well as supporting with individual teacher professional development and monitoring the end of assessment periods to review trainees’ assessment documentation.  

Joanna Bamford, English lead, currently works with all staff in school in developing the English curriculum, namely phonics, reading and spelling. Joanna regularly visits other schools to share practices and ideas which then are shared with staff in our school. Training sessions are run in school with the focus on improving teaching and learning of these crucial aspects of English, and Joanna regularly coaches all staff members through shared teaching, lessons observations and professional discussion.

Clare Thompson, Year 2 teacher, is a Key Stage One moderator having successfully completing her training and induction last year. Clare visits other schools during the moderation period to work with teachers in monitoring and securing teacher assessment judgements in reading, writing and maths. Clare receives regular training from local leads in order to ensure she has an up-to-date knowledge of the current assessment standards and procedures. 

Our EYFS and KS1 teachers, Hannah Holland, Stacey Carter and Clare Thompson, are enrolled on the Mastering Number in the EYFS and KS1 project run through the NCETM and local maths Hub. This is a national programme aimed at securing firm foundations in the development of good number sense. Each term, the staff involved attend working groups to share practice and develop new methodology and ideologies. Staff are supported by the maths lead, Carl Parkin, in school, sharing ideas and knowledge using coaching techniques that allow us to best improve our early maths provision.

                     "We do it everyday and it has helped me to remember things."                                          "I like using the Rekenreks. I can see the numbers. "                                                                                                       Seth, Year 1 pupil                                                                                               Ethan, Year 1 upil



"Using the stem sentences has really supported children in consolidating what has been taught and helps them secure the number facts. It has also been beneficial to use the different representations and see how they all link."

                                                                                   Mrs Carter, Year 1 Teacher


"I like the fact we all get a go."                                                                               "It has helped me to do add and take away in my lessons."

                            Year 2 pupi                                                                                                                                                           Year 2 pupil


"Children are definitely more secure with the numbers up to 10 and even 20 and are able to subitise much better than before."

Mrs Thompson, Year 2 Teacher


"I like that everybody gets chance to answer and show and it has helped me to know what numbers make 7."

                                                               Izzy, EYFS pupil

Previous work undertaken

  • Mobilise Maths – Improving maths in KS2 using the EEF documents – Carl Parkin Lead Teacher - run through KYRA.
  • Mobilise Maths – Improving maths in KS1 and the Early Years using the EEF - Carl Parkin Lead Teacher - run through KYRA

Both of these projects led to changes in the way we planned and delivered sequences of learning in maths across all year groups. We developed the use of manipulates in learning, maths talk, flashbacks and worked examples, CPA approaches to maths and home learning.

  • Mobilise Curriculum  – Curriculum Development using the latest research – Suzi Balasz Lead Teacher - run through KYRA.

This two year project led to changes in the way we planned and delivered our curriculum across all year groups. We developed the use of knowledge organisers to support children's ability to retain key information. 

  • Mobilise Early Years Literacy EEF – EYFS – Tracy Tomb Participant – run through KYRA
  • Mobilise Making best use of Teaching Assistant – EEF 2016 – whole school project - through KYRA

This project enabled us to deepen the role of the teaching assistants in school to ensure that they were having maximum impact in the classroom. We developed our use of questioning and models that support and deepen learning and reviewed the way that our teaching assistants are utilised in school

  • 'Digital Dialogue: the impact of mobile technology on classroom dialogue' - Dr Adam Hounslow-Eyre (Cambridge Primary Review Trust)

Working with Adam enabled us to reflect on our use of digital technology in the classroom. This led to changes in the type of equipment we purchased for children to use in school and strengthened our practices in using technoology across the full breadth of the curriculum. 

  • From 2015 – 2021, we  part of the KYRA Teaching School Alliance.  
  • We also engaged with the Cambridge Primary Review Trust Schools' Alliance, looking at Research Based School Improvement. 
  • Ex- school governor, Kathleen Taylor, completed an action research project in school titled: 'Primary teachers' struggle for legitimacy of meaning in their practice: to reproduce or resist hegemony, and develop non-hegemonic pedagogies byKathleen Taylor (Doctoral student Lincoln University).