My name is Joanna Goodfellow and I am the Deputy Executive Headteacher at Manchester Hospital School. Having spent 20 years as a teacher and then as a Deputy Head and Headteacher in a primary mainstream school, I made the move to Hospital Education in 2020 as the Deputy Head at Manchester Hospital School. Manchester Hospital School is an all-age school located across seven sites across Manchester.
What was your main motivation for going into education?
From an early age, I wanted to be either a teacher or a ballerina! I decided on teaching. I always remember being young and how much I loved reading and decided that I wanted to teach other people to read so they could also enjoy books as I did.
Why did you decide to complete the Certificate of Evidence-Informed Practice?
I decided to complete the Certificate of Evidence-Informed Practice to further my knowledge and understanding of how best to use research to inform school improvement. Having worked in a number of different primary schools in various roles, I have always been interested in research and best practice and so this seemed like a valuable opportunity to learn more about how to ensure that research is used effectively, particularly within the setting of Hospital education.
What did you enjoy most about gaining the certificate?
The most enjoyable part for me was being able to spend time on something that felt valuable to the development of my own school. We are always so busy and often don’t get the opportunity to read and spend time researching ideas so this was a great
opportunity to dedicate some protected time to developing my own understanding of how to be an evidence-informed school and then consider ways to improve and develop our processes for CPD and monitoring linked to research.
How has gaining the certificate impacted your career so far?
It has given me more confidence in being able to identify possible areas to develop within my school along with a clear rationale using research and evidence to support school improvement. I feel clearer about how to plan for change and then how to create an action plan around how to implement new strategies. I have found that it has helped my own clarity of thinking to ensure I am clear when discussing details with other members of the senior leadership team which has in turn impacted on our whole school improvement plan being more effective.
How do you think gaining the certificate will affect your career in the future?
Having completed the certificate, I feel I will be able to apply the skills and knowledge learnt around how to effectively use research to support school improvement in any setting. Having worked in a primary mainstream setting and now a special school, I have been able to see how the principles are the same and will feel confident using these in future school improvement initiatives in my own school and hopefully support colleagues working collaboratively in other schools.
Why do you think teachers need to focus on CPD?
I feel CPD is hugely important for teachers as it challenges thinking, gives them time to self-reflect and also develop their skills and expertise within their own practice. I have found that by completing the Certificate of Evidence-Informed Practice, it has given me the opportunity to self-reflect and consider the best ways to develop effective CPD for staff to ensure they are developing their own personal skills whilst supporting the development of whole school priorities.
What will you take away from the learning experience?
The most valuable piece of learning for me is around how important it is not to try and implement every new idea or piece of research that comes along. Identifying what it is within your school that you believe needs to improve needs to be the starting point and then find the research to support the implementation strategy, working collaboratively with members of the senior leadership team and identifying other key members of staff to be involved is hugely important in terms of whether change is effective or not.
Would you recommend the certificate to friends and colleagues?
Yes, I would definitely recommend the certificate to any colleague who is interested in learning more about being an evidence-informed school and ensuring that research is used effectively within the setting that you teach.