Professional Learning Community

At School 21, we take your development extremely seriously.

Professional Learning

Our practice is our testing ground. For this to happen, we think our Professional Learning Programme should be constantly asking us what we are working on and giving us the time, space, resources and challenge to improve our practice. This is why our Professional Learning is carefully differentiated into pathways which offer staff choice of modules, clinics, research opportunities and rigorous conversations.


Every member of staff will have:

  • Up to 5 planning days at the start of term to gear up for the new year

  • Regular planning days throughout the year for collaboration, project design and developing practice

  • 2 hours every Wednesday afternoon to work on “modules” that you have chosen from a menu designed by staff

  • Regular feedback from peers, “critical friends” and those with expertise in areas you are working on

Leadership & Growth

Every member of staff has a “flight path” conversation in which we discuss how they want to grow over the next two to three years and the training and support structures needed to achieve their goals.


We provide more routes to progression than most schools, with opportunities to:


  • Lead departments

  • Lead areas of our pedagogy, such as oracy or project-based learning

  • Lead on aspects of curriculum design

  • Lead within our small school structure – primary, middle, secondary, Sixth Form


We have distinctive leadership courses to develop the skills of staff so they can lead in a range of settings. Our leadership training includes inputs from great educationalists, entrepreneurs, leaders in diverse professional fields, and those with deep experience of building high performing teams.

Strategic direction

Every member of staff is in at least one “circle” or team to develop an aspect of the school. This gives everyone the chance to be strategic and have a genuine and deep input into the direction of the school. Some of the current circles include: literacy, oracy, project based learning, new technology, school culture, and curriculum.

Line management

You will have a line manager dedicated to helping you grow. The expectation is that the line manager observes you in action in some setting: teaching, coaching, chairing a meeting, working with parents, taking an assembly and then gives you specific feedback at line management meetings. That way you have more specific feedback on your practice.

Feedback culture

There are plenty of other ways in which staff get regular and specific feedback not just on their teaching craft but on how they want to grow more widely as a leader, project designer, team builder or coach. Much of this is done through peer feedback – matching people with the right expertise – and sophisticated protocols that help people wrestle with dilemmas or tune-up something they are working on.

Professional portfolio

There is an expectation that every member of staff will develop a professional portfolio of their work, projects, professional development, interests, and reading. Staff find this very rewarding and provides them with a very personal story of their growth as well as a unique platform to engage outside practitioners and forge partnerships.