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Our vision is to explore, innovate, evidence and share quality professional development. We work in partnership with individuals and organisations who can share their knowledge, models, expertise and proven track record that meet the progression needs of the learners as well as the teaching staff.

We establish need through local and national agenda, priority areas of need and research. All professional development programmes are evaluated in terms of quality and impact.

Professional Development Opportunities with Aspire

Current Programme
  • Leah Crawford: English Assessment Group
  • Leadership Network for Heads & Senior Leaders
  • Leah Crawford: Blended Reading for Mastery at Primary
  • Bob Cox: Mastery Teaching and Learning in English
  • Thinking Doing Talking Science
For further details and to book a place please download our Programme Brochure
Leadership through narrative flier reduced Leadership through Narrative

Aspire are promoting and supporting this deep and creative self-analysis process.  Overton as lead school of the alliance took part in the pilot project and echo the testimonials listed on the flier which is linked below.

If you wish to truly know the narrative of your organisation, then contact the L2N team.

Leadership Through Narrative flier

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Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA)

Begins July 2017

The Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) project aims to improve schools’ deployment of teaching assistants in classrooms and ensure they make a valuable contribution to learning. Overton, as Lead School of the Alliance, will be involved in the project from the outset.

The project is a collaboration between UCL Institute of Education, the University of East London and the London Leadership Strategy. It is funded by the Education Endowment Foundation.

The intervention is an innovative, comprehensive and coherent programme of strategic input and CPD for school leaders and classroom staff. School leaders will undertake the MITA school improvement course, supplemented by in-school consultancy from practicising National Leaders of Education. NLEs will support schools to review current practice and provide leadership teams with support and challenge on strategic planning and implementation.

TAs and teachers in each school will receive the Maximising the Practice of TAs training on effective interactions with pupils. TAs will be trained to use the scaffolding framework, designed to help improve pupil independence, and teachers will receive training on planning lessons and organising classrooms effectively to capitalise on TAs’ new skills.

The project will be conducted over the 2017/18 school year and will involve 100 primary schools participating in a randomised controlled trial.

Leah Crawford

8th February 2017 Launch Day

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Aspire Teaching School Alliance is currently collaborating with Leah Crawford and a cluster of schools wanting to rethink and refresh a coherent and principled, ‘blended’ reading provision. The launch day in February 2017 will be followed by 4 afternoon sessions providing valuable reflection on actions taken along with further input from Leah.

The group will explore:

  • The component skills of reading comprehension and how good readers construct meanings by activating and co-ordinating these skills with improved self-regulation over time.
  • The potential benefits and challenges of whole class reading sessions around a shared rich text.
  • The guided reading construct: in what contexts is it likely to be essential, effective, optional?
  • The importance of the reading culture, including teachers’ text selection, engagement and modelling of being a reader.

Leah has 15 years experience as a Local Authority English Inspector/Adviser, working across the primary and secondary phases. She was part of the team that developed the APP Speaking and Listening materials with QCA.

She is now Director of Thinktalk consultancy, is an Associate Tutor for the King’s College Let’s Think in English Cognitive Acceleration programme and is teaching and studying at Winchester University. Leah sits on the National Association for Teachers of English (NATE) Secondary Committee and is a governor at her local primary school.

Find out more about Leah by clicking on this link

If you interested in working with Aspire TSA who may host Leah for primary cluster professional development courses, contact us on

Bob Cox

Bob Cox award

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Overton CE Primary and Aspire TSA have been working with Bob Cox over the last few years on “Opening the Doors” to rich and engaging teaching and learning in English.

We are delighted that Bob received further national recognition by winning an Educational Resources Award in the educational book category for his Opening the Doors  series. Well done Bob! We are glad the testimonial for the judges from Overton CE as Lead School in the Aspire Teaching School Alliance captured the impact of your work on teachers and children.

A list of the winners can be found here:

Find out more about Bob and his work:

If you interested in working with Aspire TSA who may host Bob for professional development courses, contact us on

Professional Development Hosted by Aspire Teaching School Alliance

James Nottingham

28th November 2016

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 James Nottingham: Challenging Learning

one of the most talked about names in the world of school development.”

James is the founder and executive director of Challenging Learning. His passion is in transforming the most up-to-date research into strategies that really work in the classroom.  His first book, Challenging Learning has been published in 5 languages and has received widespread critical acclaim. Internationally James is known for his work on challenge, progress, Philosophy for Children and the Learning Pit. In 2009, James was listed among the Future 500 – a “definitive list of the UK’s most forward-thinking and brightest innovators.”

James shared his wealth of knowledge and strategies on

  • “Challenge” and “Surface to Deep-Developing Dialogue”
  • Ensuring ALL pupils are challenged appropriately, leading to higher levels of engagement and progress
  • Deepening understanding of dialogue as one of the most effective ways to give feedback, guidance and challenge
  • Practical ideas on how to help pupils make decisions, manage themselves and develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge they need for life beyond the classroom.

Bob Cox

10th October 2016

Bob Cox at Aspire

Message from Bob Cox after his day with Aspire and local teachers and leaders:
“Time at last to thank you for the privilege of presenting for Aspire and to work with some inspiring teachers!
Great venue!
Many thanks for your participation and enthusiasm on Monday!
Keep pioneering!” Bob Cox

A great day with Bob sharing his wealth of knowledge, practical resources and strategies from his  newly published books on helping teachers “Open Doors” to English.

Bob Cox presenting

Bob’s first book “Opening Doors to Famous Poetry and Prose” has been featured in ‘The Times Educational Supplement’, reviewed widely and is being used by teachers across the UK. Two new titles “Opening Doors to Quality writing inspired by great writers for ages 6 to 9” and “Opening Doors to Quality writing inspired by great writers for ages 10 to 13” were published in July 2016

Caroline Clissold

12th September 2016

Caroline Clissold pic

Caroline Clissold: Mastery, Fluency and Depth in Mathematics

Caroline is a former primary teacher and primary/numeracy consultant with Richmond Education Authority, training staff to improve standards in schools. For nine years, she was responsible for implementing the National Numeracy Strategy into schools. She worked as a coordinator with the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics) and then as a Maths Hub link adviser.

Bob Cox

19th January 2016


28th April 2016

bob cox pic

Bob Cox: Opening Doors to Deeper Learning in English

Since becoming a freelance educational consultant, Bob has supported a range of schools cross-phase and has delivered Inset at national, international and county conferences, often in a leading capacity.  He has now supported almost 400 schools in their “search for excellence”.  Bob Cox is an advanced skills teacher with 23 years teaching experience and most of his ideas have been used in his own workshop sessions with pupils.

Bob has just released the book “Opening Doors to Famous Poetry and Prose” which has been featured in ‘The Times Educational Supplement’ and reviewed widely.


24th November 2015:

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Representatives from 10 schools attended a free twilight session to learn more about the theory and concepts of Thrive and how it can be used to support children and young people in their settings.

Current brain science shows that for many young people in school, their stress management, emotional regulation and seeking /exploring systems are not yet sufficiently developed for them to access learning.  The Thrive Approach has been developed to address these needs.  It equips staff to see and understand behaviour as communication and it gives them the tools and techniques to support the emotional and social development needed to access learning.

Visit the THRIVE website for more information:

shirley clarke

Shirley Clarke

16th November 2015:

80 teachers and school leaders from 36 schools attended the Hampshire Court Hotel where Aspire were hosting Shirley Clarke’s regional 1 day course on Outstanding Formative Assessment.  Shirley shared her wealth of experience and research on feedback, nurturing a growth mindset, lesson design and whole school approaches to outstanding formative assessment.

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18th September 2015  Mastery in Maths: Hampshire Court Hotel

Led by the National Centre for the Excellence in Teaching of Mathematics

Attended by representatives of 34 schools.


  • To gain an insight into mastery in mathematics for the National Curriculum
  • To consider what changes in school are needed to ensure mastery for all pupils
  • To understand how to design lessons for deep learning