The Executive Leader of Suffolk and Norfolk School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) has been appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees at the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT).
Anna Richards (left), who has worked in ITT since September 2014 and been a NASBTT Trustee since December 2017, will lead the Board of highly experienced ITT, education and commercial professionals whose core remit is to review and agree NASBTT’s strategic direction. She succeeds former Chair Ian Hollingsworth, who stepped down in October after five years in post.
“In my view teaching is the best job in the world – and now more than ever we need inspirational teachers joining our profession to inspire and support the next generation,” Anna said. “Working for a SCITT, and previously as a Headteacher for five years, I have seen first-hand the positive impact that trainee teachers can have on a school community and children’s lives. I am honoured to be appointed Chair of NASBTT’s Board of Trustees to both represent and further develop school-led ITT, and in turn support school improvement.”
Recognising the challenges brought by the recent ITT market review and accreditation process, Anna explained what she sees as the core role of NASBTT and the Board of Trustees. “Firstly, whilst needing to remain agile, it is important that the organisation does not stray from its core mission,” she said. “That means providing member support and reassurance, representing our members at the highest level and passing information on to them as much as possible, and delivering more focused services that can help with the requirements of accreditation. The opportunity to come together is also really important. As a NASBTT member I have recently attended Espresso Shot Networking Events on accreditation, Ofsted and curriculum design, and by sharing our experiences we become much stronger.”
Anna continued: “As Trustees we exist, by definition, to hold the organisation and Emma Hollis (Executive Director) to account. However, the nature of education is far more collegiate and supportive, and so I see our role as shaping the direction of NASBTT. Our Board has professionals drawn from both within and outside of the ITT sector, which means we can provide more robust challenge and supporting thinking to ensure we are giving Emma what she needs to facilitate the development of school-led initial teacher training provision, whilst navigating an extremely challenging political landscape.”
When Anna joined Suffolk and Norfolk SCITT, which is one of the biggest SCITTs in the country with 200 primary and secondary trainees every year, she immediately turned to NASBTT for support. “Knowing that the organisation is there is a huge comfort, it always has been, and actually when I started in ITT the first thing I did was sign up to NASBTT membership,” she said. “The organisation has shifted and developed dramatically over the past five years. Initially it was more of an advice/support service to members. Now we have a wide range of products and services, all of which are designed to help the sector to develop. Accessing our online CPD modules and video resources for teacher educators, mentors and early career teachers, for example, is hugely valuable as we are giving people content they had either not thought about creating or had the time to develop themselves.”
Anna spoke about her pride in working for Suffolk and Norfolk SCITT and challenged schools to “do everything you can to support the future of the profession”. She explained: “We are proud of our profession and privileged to be able to work with so many inspirational trainees as they start their journey to become excellent teachers and future school leaders. The depth and strength of our partnership with schools across Suffolk and Norfolk means that we train our trainees to be part of the whole teaching profession rather than training them to teach in just one type of school. But we know nationally that some schools do not engage in ITT at all. If everyone took that approach we would not have teachers.”
NASBTT Executive Director Emma Hollis added: “I would like to formally welcome Anna as our Chair of Trustees. Our Trustees provide incredibly valuable support and challenge, as Anna herself has for over five years’ now, and I am really looking forward to working with Anna in her new role. I would also like to take this opportunity to once again thank Ian Hollingsworth who offered unerring support during his time as Chair. Professionally, he has been my guide and my supportive challenger as I have grown in my role leading NASBTT. He has also directly helped our team to grow the organisation to what it is today.”