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WMCETT Networks


The Shropshire Teacher Support Network is moving ahead with plans for a mentoring scheme and is also organising another day of activities for members.

The network launched in October 2008 with a day of workshops for providers of adult education, and now has 22 members.

Sub-regional priority area co-ordinator Jean Garner, who is managing the network through North Shropshire Voluntary Action, said: “We are able to do that because Adult and Community Learning at Shropshire Council are supporting it and providing two people to run a session on assessment. They have been very supportive towards the network.”

There will also be two more workshops, one on working with adults in the autism spectrum, and one on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and the Institute for Learning’s Reflect portal.

The Network has also identified eight members to be trained as mentors, and they have held a first meeting. The plan is they will then be able to mentor other people, originally from those already in the network, and it is hoped the membership will grow and more people will then be included. Members are already in contact through an email support group.

Many of the original members came from a PTLLS course, and it is hoped to boost numbers after another course which is being delivered in May 2009 in Shrewsbury. It is being funded by the Children’s Workforce Development Council with places free for those working in the children’s and young people’s voluntary sector.

Longer term, Jean sees part of the role of the network as helping people who deliver training to realise what they do. She said: “By far the majority of them are part time and their jobs are not necessarily training officer; they might be development officer, and they are doing training as part of that. The majority see themselves as being in the voluntary and community sector rather than the training, teaching and learning sector. I think that part of the role of the support network is to form a bridge between them.” 

Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Word about the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Network was spread far and wide at its official launch in January, when Sub-regional priority area co-ordinator Louise Jones addressed representatives of about 60 organisations at the Voluntary Sector Assembly in Hereford.

A new PTLLS course for the voluntary and community sector is also to be run in Hereford in April and so far has interest from about 30 people it is also hoped will then join the network, which had already gained about 50 members before its launch.

Louise said she was looking at CPD and ways of running courses accredited by Open College Network (OCN) so they could be funded through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

She said: “That is what I am primarily focusing on at the moment as I feel that will really appeal to people in terms of getting them involved in the Network. I feel they have got to have something very tangible to interest them in coming.”

Louise is also trying to assemble a list of people and their skills, and available venues, which was something people who came to the meeting of community trainers last year said they wanted. She said: “They were interested in using the expertise of people in the voluntary sector and keeping a directory of trainers who can work together to deliver training to the sector, which is much more informed about what people in the sector need.”

At the meeting, people said they were interested in subjects such as learning about funding opportunities, about hearing case studies of people who had done PTLLS, about buddying and mentoring, and marketing strategies. The idea of a Local Exchange Trading Scheme (LETS), where people use their skills in a bartering system, was also raised and is something that will be looked at in the future.

Louise added: “I have got support from Herefordshire County Council who are keen to help us to work on CPD issues so that is hopefully going to work out well to make the network quite dynamic.”  


Members of the Warwickshire Teacher Support Network and others working in the voluntary, adult and community sector in the county and Coventry are being invited to attend one of the WMCETT Roadshows, which is taking place on Thursday, March 12, 2009.

The event at Wolston leisure and community centre, near Rugby, follows on from the successful Workforce Reforms (Teacher Training) Roadshow held in Stourport on Severn in January.

The Warwickshire Teacher Support Network was launched in August, and the Roadshow meets one of the stated needs of members.

Loraine Hayley, Training and Quality Officer for Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action, said: “We have asked the trainers what they wanted and they said they wanted to have a support mechanism that keeps them informed. The biggest issue for them was how little they knew about what was going on.

“I want to set up a community trainers’ blog site so they will have a virtual network that’s run in partnership with Adult Community Education. It’s going to be where someone can say ‘I’m doing this, does anyone know about it’. It will be a supportive network.”

She is also hoping to produce newsletters, and trying to get a community sector PTLLS course set up.

Loraine added: “Adult Community Education are looking at maybe setting up a local steering group for teacher training and including the trainers’ network in that. While they have got to do it internally for their staff we wonder if we can process that out so anybody in the community network can plug into it. I also want to develop observation through the training network and maybe set up peer groups that can help support the development of quality and learning. If somebody goes through the observer training they can offer it to colleagues.”

Margaret Hunter, Priority Area Co-ordinator, said the network was only operating in Warwickshire and she was looking at ways of replicating this in Coventry.

For more information about these networks, email Margaret Hunter or call 07920 531143