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West Midlands Professional Exchange 2018

WMCETT is running a new-style Professional Exchange in the West Midlands region, following a successful bid for funding to the Education and Training Foundation.

The 2018-19 Professional Exchange will give participating organisations and their staff an outstanding opportunity to learn from and with other organisations through a programme of joint practice development; by implementing current research findings and methodologies; by taking supported risks in trying out new techniques, and by sharing existing effective practice, including from other regions and sectors.

After a launch in March 2018, four general groups were set up, and from their first meetings further Subject and Thematic groups were formed. These are still continuing to meet, though some are nearing the end of their planned set of four or five meetings - there is more information about them below.

Call for ideas for new groups

We now want to set up a number of new groups to work with our experienced facilitators to research a new area of interest or concern, or try out new techniques which can benefit them and their learners, and through production of a short report or development of a resource, benefit others.

These are the ideas for new groups we have already - but we are open to more:

• Behaviour management
• Questioning within assessment and learning
• Supporting new teachers
• Effective use of blended learning

Other ideas related to existing groups in English, maths, SEND or digital skills are also welcomed. If you are interested in joining one of these groups which we hope to launch in November, please contact WMCETT Project Manager Julie Chamberlain on

Existing groups

Thematic group - open to people across all subject areas:

Initial assessment and learner needs – this aims to look at developing a more person-centred approach to identifying learning needs, working on initial and diagnostic assessment from a more holistic perspective and including readiness for learning and specific learning difference. The next meeting is date TBC in November.

Maths area:

Developing new approaches to teaching functional maths, which are more active and engaging, within apprenticeships. Next meeting, Friday, November 23, 1-3.30pm, Tipton College.

Developing strategies and approaches to engage and motivate GCSE maths re-sit learners in colleges in the first six weeks of their programme, with the aim of trialling with the September intake. Next meeting Friday, 9 November, 1.30-4.30pm, Birmingham Metropolitan College.

IT area:

Development and use of a digital skills framework to be used by colleagues, then learners, to audit digital skills and develop action plans for development of digital skills for learning and development. Next meeting, Friday, November 16, 2-4pm, Coventry Adult Education.

English area:

Retention of adult learners of English, and implementing approaches that have a positive impact on retention. Next meeting Wednesday, November 7, 10-1pm, Sandwell Adult Education.

SEND area:

ESOL/SEND group to identify learning support needs for ESOL learners with SEND requirements. Next meeting on Friday, November 9, Nova Training, Wolverhampton.

Develop individual SEND delivery guides for a number of agreed different learning needs taking into account different audiences. Next meeting November 9, Nova Training, Wolverhampton.

How groups will operate

The Subject and Thematic Groups will be ‘teachmeet-style’ events for teachers or managers to share and develop practice and resources in a dynamic and generative way so that facilitators can capture and share what works and support experimentation, tackling tedious teaching and spreading lively and long-lasting learning.

This project will facilitate a number of strategic interventions enabling sector practitioners to develop their practice in key broad areas identified by local managers and practitioners across the sector. Participants will agree to share and disseminate ideas and outputs through a digital platform, and the facilitators will support and encourage this process, as well as recording progress and assessments against the Professional Standards.

As a result of participating in new groups where expertise is shared, modelled and explored, participants will be committed to cascading their learning to colleagues in their organisation and, more widely, in their professional networks, face-to-face and online.

Longer term, WMCETT aims to build sustainable communities of practice around principles of Joint Practice Development to continue beyond this Professional Exchange, with enthusiastic commitment by members, and increased collaboration between partner organisations.

If you would be interested in attending any of these groups, please see information (right) on how the Professional Exchange is working this year, or contact WMCETT Project Manager Julie Chamberlain on .

How you can take part

This West Midlands Professional Exchange 2018 was launched in March, with an event for managers in colleges, WBL organisations, adult and community learning and the secure estate and third sector, to tell us what they wanted to include. There is some more background about the ideas behind the Professional Exchange below left.

To be involved:

  • Your organisation needs to sign and return the Memorandum of Understanding to agree to take part and contribute
  • Tell WMCETT Project Manager Julie Chamberlain on which members of your staff want to attend which groups, and pass on their email addresses
  • Staff will be given background information on each group, and will then attend the rest of the meetings, contributing by carrying out research or other work in between meetings and staying in touch on line
  • They will contribute towards each group's final outcome.
  • They will disseminate their learning within and if possible outside their organisation.

To join, sign and email the Memorandum of Understanding to , or get in touch if you want more information.