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Coaching and Mentoring for School Staff

Coaching and Mentoring for early career teachers, providing them with support, guidance and career development opportunities to encourage retention of staff in the profession across Ipswich schools.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, Local Authorities, School Teachers, Trusts

Aimed at



Leadership, Workforce: Recruitment, Retention and Development

Why was the project needed?

Education leaders in Ipswich faced a challenge in recruiting and retaining enough high quality members of staff. This was a nationally observed phenomenon, with a spike in the numbers of teachers leaving the profession between the third and fifth years of their careers. Research into the issue showed that ‘burn out’ was a common reason amongst those leaving the profession, with Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT) citing long working hours and a lack of available support and guidance within their institutions as their main reasons for become fatigued with the profession.

What happened and what was the impact?

Quality training through the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) for middle and senior leaders in schools, that they could offer to staff beyond existing mentoring and coaching for NQTs and early career teachers. CUREE offered to all schools and colleges within the IOA directly through email and flyers, and attended local events during the Summer of 2019. All practitioners were invited to the programme, broadened to include institutions with or without NQTs on their staff to ensure that the provision of high-quality mentoring was available when it became required.

  • Mentoring Development Programme delivered for 3 cohorts, consisting of:
    – Residential Kick-off training session over 2 days.
    – 4 Half-Day Training Sessions.
    – 1 Half-Day Assessment Session.
  • Formal networks put in place through a ‘Dine & Discuss’ Programme – adapted to online during Covid-19 restrictions.
  • Creation of a bespoke Research Route Map for Ipswich OA.
  • The planned Celebration Event at the end of the programme to lay the foundations for sustainability couldn’t take place because of Covid-19.
  • Trouble shooting coaching for a few mentors.
  • Mentors to be CUREE accredited.

What did and didn't work?

In one school a whole school programme of Mentoring and Coaching was established by the senior leader who received the training, enabling coaching and mentoring to be offered beyond early career teachers, and importantly to those undertaking a change in role.
In another school the route map inspired a group of teachers to create an early careers teacher mentoring group based on research.

While face to face delivery is always preferable, mentoring can still take place online – “Dine and Discuss” became “Talk and Takeaway” over Zoom during the Covid-19 restrictions.

Creating a network of mentors that can continue to meet on an informal basis to share their experiences and progression with mentoring is key to sustaining impact, and with time such a limiting factor, this needs to be prioritised and planned for.


What did we learn?

Coaching and mentoring becomes a welcome and integral element of CPD, increasing professional confidence and improving classroom practice.

Area Most Impacted

Workforce: Recruitment, Retention and Development

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

NQT Training - Morland Primary

Next steps to do something similar yourself

These are a list of Big Idea resources that you can use to implement in your setting:

The flier below outlines the offer made to IOA schools.

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Effective Professional Development here

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