The valuable work done across the trust by Learning Provision support staff was highlighted at a special CET workshop.

More than 150 support staff gathered for the INSET programme. It was the first time so many members of staff had been able to meet in person since before the pandemic.

Learning Provision covers the largest staff group within CET – meaning its successful delivery is vitally important to all 11 academies.

The aim was to aid more collaborative working across the trust, identify high-priority training objectives and demonstrate the value of the whole team.

Taking the trust’s motto of ‘be the best you can be’, the session also had a focus on enhancing Learning Provision across the curriculum to improve outcomes for all.

The morning was opened by Chief Executive Lorrayne Hughes and led by Sue Newstead, CET’s Director of Learning Provision. She thanked all those present for their commitment, particularly during the difficulties of the last 18 months.

She said: “It was a big thank you from me and the whole of CET for everything that those in Learning Provision do for our pupils and students on a daily basis. They play an extremely important role at all of our academies and we wanted there to be a very clear message that we support them in their work and in their careers.”

The audience at the North Lakes Hotel in Penrith was reminded that learning provision was not easy and only as good as the individual’s skills, empathy, resilience and desire to go the extra mile.

Mrs Newstead added: “We want to ensure that we hear your voice so that our investment in you is purposeful and meets your needs and expectations. We want to ensure that the crossover of roles and responsibilities don’t hinder progress and that your career pathways are invested in.”

The session involved staff in group discussions and an interactive presentation on autism and autistic behaviour.

Delegates, who included apprentices, teaching and learning support assistants, senior teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants and engagement and well-being specialists, talked enthusiastically about the benefits of the session.

Jade Clulow, from Longtown Primary, said: “ It was a really useful morning of CPD. It was great to interact with staff from other CET schools again. My next step is to visit another school and see different strategies in action.”

Sarah Pattinson, from Workington Academy, added: “It was useful and informative to have CPD focussed directly on our roles. I found the autism training particularly useful.”

Lee Adams, from The Whitehaven Academy, said: “I loved the opportunity to work collaboratively across the trust.”

Chris Wilkins, CET’s Director of Primary Education, said: “At the beginning of a new term, post Covid, it was amazing to see staff pulling together and planning together with their experiences across Cumbria.

“Sue is expert and informative and she shared that knowledge for the benefit of more than 4,000 pupils and students.”