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Empowering Professionals

What people are saying about Wandsworth Professional Development Centre 

Built in 2012, Wandsworth Professional Development Centre (WPDC) is a fresh, smart, environment for professional learning in Wandsworth. The purpose-built centre combines contemporary architecture with flexible room spaces, making it the smart choice for professional development events and meetings. The operations team assist with every event, offering support to trainers and welcoming all visitors. 


Lizzie Haynes 

Mediator and Trainer 
LH Mediation 

Why WPDC? 

We do a lot of work with Richmond and Wandsworth council. The council asked Wandsworth Mediation Service if they’d deliver work on reducing parental conflict to the teams who deal with parents and children. 

What was it like? 

It’s a very calm, modern space. We used the Putney room for nine training courses. It has all the technical stuff you need – multi-media projector, laptops and large projection screens, plus flip charts and pens. For a trainer, you can simply attach your computer and start your PowerPoint slides. The rooms are spacious with great windows and a fantastic views of trees. Staff are accommodating to any of your needs or any questions. Break out spaces in the lounge are lovely with a desk to plug in your own computer to do work pre or post course. It’s very congenial – we ordered in tea, biscuits and filtered coffee. There’s also a water dispenser. 


Michele Beute 

Mediator and Trainer 
LH Mediation 

Why WPDC? 

Wandsworth Professional Development Centre was booked by the council who use it for various forms of training. 

What was it like? 

I was unfamiliar with their IT set up – something as simple as switching from one laptop to another – but the staff calmly step in to show you what to do. I’ve worked in places where you have flip-over tables and you see trainees distracted, dropping things on floor, but here there are larger tables. In training you have different room set-ups and at WPDC they are willing to facilitate any design: that makes life incredibly easy. As a trainer you don’t go in and fret because they ask you beforehand (with a needs analysis) about how many flip charts you need and where you want tables and chairs… Lorna’s the face of the centre, but all the WPDC staff were so keen to meet the needs of both trainers and participants. 


Mark Holliday 

Deputy Head of Education 
Inclusion and Participation 
Wandsworth Children’s Services 

Why WPDC? 

I use it for more important training/CPD-type meetings, and also for events, because the building is so well-maintained, contemporary, clean and tidy, and the front of house staff are amazingly helpful and friendly. The options for layout of the room and the flexibility is really helpful. Before a meeting, or event, the rooms are always well laid out, and there’s always someone to help you with the IT if you need support setting up a presentation. When holding important meetings and events you need that reassurance. 

What was it like? 

It is tucked away, which makes it a nice, serene environment which lends itself well to learning, being based on a school site. It’s not so far from Earlsfield train station, and bus routes run directly past. In terms of how meetings run – strategically – what is of huge benefit is that it is uncluttered and contemporary. A physical space that allows for thinking space. 


To find out more about Wandsworth Professional Development Centre.

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Empowering Professionals

Empowering Professionals

From reliable recruitment initiatives to top-up training for teachers, our experts have a deep understanding of how schools operate and are as friendly as they are flexible in approach. We are as adept at advising on the latest governance process and protocols, as we are supporting key staff members at work after illness. 

Understanding the pressures for school employees often go much wider than the day-to-day of school life, our Occupational Health Service has been working hard to make people aware of their financial advice. All school subscribers of the Employee Assistance Programme can talk to an expert in relation to money worries and debt advice. The online portal can also direct you to ‘Ask Bill’ for free and impartial help, advice and tips on how to reduce your energy bills, manage your money and deal with debt issues, as well as support for tackling these problems in emergency situations.

Our Human Resources Service has been listening to your feedback and finding ways to improve their provision. In September 2023 they launched an updated landing page for their service making it more user-friendly.

Governor Services have been prioritising wellbeing, encouraging all school chairs to ensure a robust wellbeing policy is in place in light of OFSTED’s new education inspection framework.

HR are always supportive and helpful, and are able to assist with most problems (or signpost elsewhere). Our clerk is very efficient and helpful, and has supported our governance well.



Headteacher, Wandsworth

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Brilliant Learning Empowering Professionals

Values in Action: Think Bigger 

Recognising that psychology support is more effective when they are run in partnership, the School & Community Psychology Service (SCPS) is raising the awareness of their whole school initiatives through the launch of a new website. 

Their focused approach understands that children and young people’s lives are complex and need to be considered in a holistic way – from both a micro and macro perspective – to ensure we meet the needs of the whole person at school, at home and in the community. 

To empower teachers, school leaders, parents, carers, professionals and community organisations SCPS have launched a new website with a series of resources available to help all schools – regardless of whether they subscribe to the service. It is hoped that the Giving Psychology Away series will help all schools think bigger about school psychology and realise the importance of taking a proactive, pre-emptive approach.

Highlights from the Giving Psychology Away series of resources: 

Promoting Parental Involvement 

Webinar by Educational Psychologist & Doctorate Tutor, Karen Schumacher

Parental anxiety can be higher at points of transition and so is the value of building a positive practice of parental involvement so we hope some of these points will be useful, especially if you are new to a role that requires ongoing liaison with parents.

Thinking about Autism and Girls

Article by Educational Psychologist, Dr. Rose McGeown

When considering the presentation of autism in girls and women, it is important to note that the key diagnostic criteria for autism remains true.

Circle of Adults: A Person Centred Approach

Webinar by Principal Educational Psychologist, Theodora Theodoratou

Webinar exploring a widely popular model used in educational psychology, that offers groups of people the opportunity to discuss an area, issue or young person that adults feel stuck with. 

There is nothing that gives me more pleasure in my work than seeing a parent, child, teacher or student grow in confidence in their own ability and feel empowered to take their next steps. 



Karen Schumacher, Educational Psychologist and Doctorate Tutor

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Brilliant Learning Empowering Professionals Intelligent Operations

Core Values in Action

A good education must develop children’s curiosity, creativity and kindness. The measure of educational success cannot simply be students’ academic achievements, but also the qualities of the learners who leave our school gates; good citizens who are equipped to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.

As a values-based organisation, we are passionate about supporting schools to realise their full potential in the services they provide. We use our council values as our guide in this and hold our actions accountable to its ethos at all times.

Discover more examples of our Values in Action in our latest Smart School Services annual report.

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At Your Core – School Values

Guiding everything from decision-making to daily interactions, brilliant school values spark shared ownership in teachers, learners and their families; transform communities as well as classrooms; and lay the foundations for brighter futures that impact every one of us, and even the planet.

Taking the time to create core values that are truly tailored to your whole school can be transformational.

Get it right and they can help swell pupil numbers, bolster budgets, grow resources, deliver recruitment and retention and garner rich connections with your local community and its families. They can also help with Ofsted inspections, carried out with a clear understanding of the school’s ethos and expectations.

Miss the mark and you risk diminishing their value. They can easily become a generic, continually reproduced page in your school prospectus, or an occasionally referred to set of laminated words displayed on your reception wall. A nice to have.

The Value of Re-evaluating School Values

There are two primary reasons to reconsider your core values. Firstly, because they fail to authentically represent your school and its distinctive culture. They don’t inspire or capture the real essence of what makes your school different. Worse still, you might find yourself ensnared in the ‘educational waffle’ dilemma. The problem of having a set of generic, safe statements that closely resemble those of many other schools in your catchment area, but miss the heart of what matters most in your school.

The second is their relevance to your community and the world at large. Society has shifted. Social media 

safety, diversity and inclusion, coronavirus, climate change, the cost of living crisis… Legacy values that you may have inherited may no longer feel relevant without redefining what they mean from your school, its learners and their families perspective. 

According to the National Parent Survey 2023, over 2.8 million children live in households where their parents are struggling to afford the cost of sending them to school. 875,000 primary school children don’t have enough age-appropriate books at home. In Wandsworth, 45% of primary school pupils do not have English as their first language. 

A special focus on a value a month is a great way to bring values to life rather than promoting ‘all the values all of the time’ 

Parent

Imagine the impact you would have if you addressed these issues directly through your core values. If you communicated a safe, supportive and inclusive school culture and embodied it across everything you did. Where your words and their associated actions were perfectly aligned. How powerful would that be?

Living Your School Values 

Your values should be the lens through which you view all of your school activities. They should be embodied by staff, underpin all of your external and internal communications and permeate through every facet of daily school life. 

Develop a consistent and structured implementation plan for your values programme and you can unlock the benefits of creating a positive, inclusive, and supportive learning environment. 

Here are some ways your school can embody its values: 

Leadership Role Models 
First and foremost, the school’s leadership and staff must serve as role models for these values. They should consistently demonstrate respect for one another, honesty in their interactions, and integrity in their decision-making. These actions send a powerful message to students about the importance of these values in the real world. 

Integration into Curriculum 
Infuse the values into the curriculum. Incorporate them into activities and lessons to reinforce them. 

Consistent Messaging 
Ensure that the values are consistently communicated through posters, assemblies, newsletters, and classroom discussions, reinforcing their importance in various contexts. 

Recognition and Rewards 
Acknowledge students who demonstrate these values through certificates, praise in assemblies, or special mentions in newsletters to encourage others to follow suit. 

Conflict Resolution Programmes 
Teach conflict resolution strategies that align with the school’s values, promoting peaceful and respectful interactions among students. 

Student Involvement 
Empower students to take ownership of your values by involving them in decision-making processes, clubs, or initiatives that promote and embody them. 

Training and Development 
Provide training and workshops for both staff and students to understand, practice, and integrate your values into their daily lives. 

Regular Evaluation 
Periodically assess how well the values are being integrated and lived out in the school environment, making adjustments or improvements as necessary. 

Community Engagement 
Organise events or projects that reflect your values, involving parents, local organisations, or the wider community – reinforcing their importance beyond the school walls. 

 

Value of the Month 

To effectively integrate your values into whole school life, consider adopting a Value of the Month programme. This enables you to explore each value in-depth across myriad contexts at school, home and in the world at large. 

To raise awareness of and engagement with the Value of the Month, develop a prominent visual focus around the school, with large values boards in key halls and areas. 

Create a classroom poster for display each month with each child given a copy to take home with them. 

Feedback from similar initiatives reveals that these posters find their way onto the walls of the immediate family home, the extended family and even businesses in the wider community. 

As you revisit the value in subsequent years, learners will interact with the value in different ways as their understanding matures. 

Connecting Parents 

More than eight in 10 parents want to play an active role in their child’s education. And yet fewer than one in five schools have policies in place to facilitate this. 

Engaging your greatest advocates through values-aligned initiatives means your school will: 

  • Build trust and understanding 
  • Bridge the gap 
  • Reduce absenteeism and exclusion 
  • Raise aspirations and achievement 
  • Inspire parents, pupils, and staff 
  • Garner testimonials / referrals 

Involving parents in decision-making brings in different perspectives and points of view, which in turn can help the shift towards home school partnerships; shared values and shared goals. 

A Parent Council can provide an excellent forum that supports consultation and shared values-led decision making. 

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Brilliant Learning Empowering Professionals Intelligent Operations

Michael Hallick: Find Your Voice

As Wandsworth continues to evolve in a rapidly changing capital, the role of core values within its schools becomes increasingly important. Differentiated and tailored core values serve as the bedrock – not just articulating the moral and academic expectations for everyone in the school community – they lay the foundation for nurturing well-rounded young minds that can navigate their world with integrity, empathy and purpose.

Values are invaluable

Has there ever been a time when clear, compassionate and courageous values have been more needed? With society facing huge challenges, we need to clearly communicate how we wish to live positively alongside each other in our communities.

Over the last 12 months Wandsworth council have been doing just that. More than 150 of our people have taken part in defining a new set of values that capture the spirit, energy and intent we need to drive forward our ambitions for our residents.

Our new borough values have been built to capture the best of how we work together and to inspire the change we need to create in our culture.

The five statements are clear, directional and demanding. They build on good governance and reliability, emphasising the need for all of us, whatever our role, to show leadership, to be confident, imaginative, caring and creative.

As an organisation which has come together to represent a broader part of London, our values reaffirm our commitment to embrace difference, to connect even more deeply and widely and to show compassion and empathy for the people we work with and the people we serve. They are so much more than words on a page.

The new values are:

  • Think Bigger
  • Embrace Difference
  • Connect Better
  • Lead by Example
  • Put People First

In our annual Smart School Services report we will be discussing the important role values can play for your school, teachers, pupils, and the communities that you serve. From pupil numbers to staff retention, they can lead to transformative results and permeate through everything you do. We hope you find it of use on your values-based educational journey. 

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Empowering Professionals

Selina McClure: Effective Governance

School governing boards, entrusted with the responsibility of making strategic decisions, require the expertise of governance professionals (clerks) to enhance their practice and knowledge. A recent report from the NGA stresses the importance of using their expertise.

1. Enhancing Governance Practices:
Clerks bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in governance principles, regulations, and best practices. By utilizing their expertise, school governing boards can enhance their governance practices, ensuring transparency, accountability, and effective decision-making. Clerks can provide guidance to ensure the board works in compliance with the appropriate legal and regulatory framework and understands the potential consequences of non-compliance, enabling boards to operate efficiently and in line with regulatory requirements.

2. Strengthening Board Effectiveness:
A clerk can play a pivotal role in strengthening the effectiveness of school governing boards. They can assist in developing clear roles and responsibilities for board members, facilitating effective communication channels, and promoting a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement.

3. Keeping Up with Changing Educational Landscape:
The education sector is constantly evolving, with new policies and challenges emerging regularly. Clerks stay abreast of these changes and can provide valuable insights to school governing boards. By utilizing their knowledge, boards can adapt to the changing landscape and make informed decisions that positively impact the school community.

4. Ensuring Compliance:
Clerks can assist school governing boards in understanding and adhering to these requirements. They can provide guidance on regulations, policies, and procedures, ensuring that the board operates within the legal framework. 

5. Professional Development and Knowledge Sharing:
Clerks can act as a valuable resource for school governing boards by facilitating professional development opportunities and knowledge sharing. They can organize training sessions, workshops, and conferences to enhance the skills and knowledge of board members. By fostering a culture of continuous learning, clerks contribute to the growth and effectiveness of the board.

Conclusion:
The clerking role is of utmost importance in school governing boards. By utilizing their expertise, boards can enhance their governance practices, strengthen effectiveness, adapt to the changing educational landscape, ensure compliance, and promote professional development. Embracing the role of a clerk is crucial for schools to thrive in an increasingly complex educational environment.

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What people are saying about WPDC 

Built in 2012, Wandsworth Professional Development Centre (WPDC) is a fresh, smart, environment for professional learning in Wandsworth. The purpose-built centre combines contemporary architecture with flexible room spaces, making it the smart choice for professional development events and meetings. The operations team assist with every event, offering support to trainers and welcoming all visitors. 


Elizabeth Souter 

Wandsworth’s Head of Service for Children Looked After and Care Leavers
Wandsworth Borough Council 

Why WPDC? 

We use it a lot for training. It allows 80-100 of us to come together for a service morning, thinking and talking about the work we do and to be the best we can be. Some of my staff are based at the town hall, and also satellite offices, so they don’t see each other often. Our work is all linked and related, so knowing what each other is doing is important. 

What was it like? 

We use the space to think and build morale. Since the pandemic, spending time together doesn’t happen that often. It might sound like simple things, but having a space that is modern and clean, where everything works and people are on hand to help you set up is really important. WPDC helps people focus on why they are there because the environment is conducive to concentration and comfort – the things you need to not be distracted. 


Florence Clark 

Workforce Development Manager 
Wandsworth Children’s Social Care Academy
Wandsworth Borough Council 

Why WPDC? 

It’s a really nice, big bright space so it feels like a bit of a treat to go there, tucked away in the borough. The front desk staff are on hand to help with IT support, microphones, PowerPoint etc. We have meeting rooms in our building, but you couldn’t get any support if equipment wasn’t working, and the tables/chairs are not laid out. 

What was it like? 

They’re not there to just check you in. We had an event in January which ended up with 70 (not the expected 40) and the WPDC staff bought extra sandwiches and cakes so we could cater for everyone. They’ll also liaise directly with the trainers that we commission to arrange the room, looking at different options for communal areas and break out space. I find if you need a room, and they are all booked up, they will often liaise to fit you in. If we want to order lunch they take care of that. 


Sarah Anderson 

Governor Services Clerk 
Smart School Services 
Wandsworth Borough Council 

Why WPDC? 

For head teachers to come out of a school environment (eg, for conferences, pupil referrals, etc) and into a neutral meeting room can make a big difference. 

What was it like? 

Of all the meeting rooms across all the councils it’s the very best to go to. It’s always clean, the toilets are pristine and everybody is so helpful. They are more than willing to set rooms up ahead of the meeting and help with IT, even for people who haven’t a Scooby-Doo about what they are doing. And if you need something printed out you know that the printer has got paper in it. It’s set out like a work meeting space and run along those principles. The ladies are super helpful and professional and always willing to help out. That’s why I like it, you don’t feel like you are on your own. 


To find out more about Wandsworth Professional Development Centre.

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Empowering Professionals

Diana Stovell: How to Maintain Your Mental Health in Winter

It’s that time of year again. 
The sun is setting earlier, the weather is getting colder, wetter, and windier. There are more coughs and sneezes with the threat of (ever-present) viruses. All this tends to mean we may spend more time indoors. These winter months can take a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. You may find yourself feeling more irritable, having low energy, or even struggling to do day to day routines. 

Maintaining your mental health through these winter months is important in supporting your overall health and sense of wellbeing. The following tips can help you beat the winter blues and manage those negative feelings:

Taking care of your mental health is a year-round practice. The winter doesn’t mean you have to be stuck indoors, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you enjoyed in the warmer months. While you may need to be a little more creative, you can certainly still connect with others, enjoy outside activities, and get that social interaction we all need to stay mentally healthy and happy. With these practices and healthy habits, it’s possible to see the sunnier side of winter.  

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Wandsworth Schools Need You: Governors Share Their Experiences

Wandsworth Schools need governors! And Wandsworth Governor Services is rethinking its approach to recruitment in support of our schools. To gain insights into what motivates people to become governors and what the role entails, we asked two highly regarded governors a series of questions. A video featuring the interviews with Andrea McDermott and Mark Holliday will be available soon. 

Mark is the chair of governors at a primary school in Wandsworth. He became a governor because he wanted to have a connection with his local school and make a difference to the lives of children in his community. He also had some previous experience of being a co-opted governor.

When Mark first started as a governor, he felt overwhelmed by the amount of preparation and reading he needed to do. However, he found the support from Wandsworth Governor Services invaluable. He also enjoyed networking and learning from other governors.

Now, as chair of governors, Mark is able to set the tone of the governing board. He has led a restructure of the committees to reduce the bureaucratic side and focus more on the children and their families.

Mark says that the highlights of his experience as a governor have been visiting the school to meet staff, pupils, and parents, as well as attending events and celebrations. He also feels a great sense of pride and privilege in being able to make a difference to the lives of children and their families.

Here are some of the benefits and rewards of becoming a school governor:

  • Making a positive difference to the lives of children and their families
  • Feeling proud and privileged to be part of the local community.
  • Gaining valuable skills and experience, such as leadership, decision-making, and teamwork
  • Networking with other governors and professionals in the education sector
  • Attending school events and celebrations
  • Seeing children learn and grow.

If you are interested in becoming a school governor, Wandsworth Governor Services can help. They offer a variety of support and training to support governors in their roles. Visit the Wandsworth Governor Services website to learn more about becoming a Governor. If you need any support with governor recruitment,  please book a Head-to-Head meeting to discuss how we can help.

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