Coaching of staff in schools: What can we learn from the new role of the Masters in Teaching and Learning in-school coach for schools and the higher education tutors working alongside them?
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The MTL is a practice-based professional master's qualification, aimed at attracting Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) to National Challenge schools in order to help improve outcomes. The MTL programme was also developed as a continuation of a teacher's PGCE and subsequent induction year. A key element of the MTL is the tripartite relationship of HEI tutor, school-based coach and MTL student, with funding weighted towards schools (60%) and the HEI (40%). The role of the HEI was to be quality assurance and assessment, with the in-school coach doing most of the programme delivery. The project reported here is based on interviews with in-school MTL coaches to explore, firstly, how their role had developed within the MTL. Coaches are typically without a formal master's qualification themselves, so a second aim of this study was to examine the consequences of this in and on practice. Finally, we explored the effect on all involved as flaws in the model emerged. Formal case-study interviews were the main empirical research data upon which this study is based, although they are supplemented by additional data. Where the MTL coach enjoyed a level of success, we suggest that this was primarily because of the attitudes of the coach in school and the HEI staff working alongside them. The lack of a master's-level qualification amongst coaches had some negative impact, but the most significant issue we contest is that to create true working partnerships with school, the HEI has to be able to share assessment procedures with school-based colleagues. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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