When you book someone from outside of your school or organisation to come and work with your leaders and teachers, it's hard to know who you're going to get, or how they are going to work with you. I'm very grateful to all the leaders and teachers who have taken time to write testimonials about my work which I can now share with you so that you can get a better idea of who I am and how I operate.
I do not come and do the work for you, I do it with you - at all times I will be working alongside staff, discussing, co-preparing, co-researching and co-writing your curriculum.
"Aidan has worked with staff to produce our DT, Art and History curriculum so far."
"He works collaboratively with all staff putting them at ease whilst never lowering his standards."
I Build Relationships
There is no productive collaboration without relationship. I seek to quickly develop a good relationship with those who I am working with as I know this is the foundation for future success.
"Aidan and I instantly built up a great working relationship due to Aidan's working style of always knowing which key questions to ask to unlock the curriculum ideas I was trying to portray in my documents."
"His positivity is infectious and he can put even the most anxious member of staff at ease."
"Throughout the process, Aidan has been professional, personable and reliable."
Part of relationship-building and collaboration is ensuring that everyone involved feels able to take part - reassurance is key here, although it is tricky to define how its done as it varies from person to person. Suffice to say I wouldn't want anyone to feel out of their depth, and would always adjust my approach to ensure that they are an integral part of the development process.
"I was nervous prior to working with you, purely due to the fact that I had no experience in designing a curriculum and did not know what to expect. It was such a fantastic opportunity to get to work with you, you are very knowledgeable about teaching and learning, and designing a curriculum.You reassured me every step of the way and answered all questions honestly, even the ones I was worried were silly!"
My job isn't to tell anyone exactly what to do. One of the reasons for this is that I do not know the context as well as the school staff I'm working with. Although I bring my knowledge and experience of curriculum design to the table, I know there is knowledge and experience that the school staff have which I don't have.
"He is extremely knowledgeable and guided staff with key questions regarding the intent and the themes and concepts chosen across each curriculum subject."
I seek to pass on my knowledge and experience - I am open and generous with what I know. Not only do I want schools to have a good curriculum document, I also want them to have teahers and leaders who have been developed through the process of working with me. Some of my work involves showing staff members new things, or things that have always been there that they hadn't noticed before.
"The process was enlightening and I appreciated the experience and insight you were able to give."
Although I guide and enlighten, it is sometimes my place to advise - this is particularly when I use my knowledge and experience of what works and what doesn't to ensure that schools are making the best decisions about their curriculum.
"Aidan has the ability to ‘think outside the box’ and provide advice and solutions which are realistic and actionable."
"He has a very good eye for detail and has a thorough knowledge of the Primary curriculum which has been invaluable."
Perhaps this sums up all my points so far - I work supportively, not judgmentally, but developmentally, in such a way that puts teachers and leaders at ease, generating a balanced feeling of having done the work themselves, but without the dangers and worries of having to do it alone.
"We now have a fully sequenced curriculum from Reception to Y11 that is sequenced and reflects the values and ethos with the school. We wouldn’t be in this position in such a short space of time without the support, guidance and challenge from Aidan."
Too often, when working with a consultant or an outsider, teachers and leaders can feel like they couldn't possibly do what the expert could do - my aim is to show them that the role they have is one that they can do well, long after my departure.
"Staff have all given excellent feedback and felt empowered by the sessions, with a real ownership and knowledge of their curriculum subjects and the choices that were made."
"The experience brought some real clarity and depth to the work we did. Staff were empowered to think constructively and take ownership of the issues facing them."
I Challenge Supportively
Sometimes, things need to change; to be done differently than they were before. Every curriculum decision that is made needs to be an excellent one. I have very high standards for my own work, and that extends to the work that I do with others. I want to be proud of what I create with schools, and I want them to be proud of it too. More importantly, I want the best deal for the children in that school. This means that challenge is necessary - there may be some slightly uncomfortable moments, but the challenge always gives way to the satisfaction of a decision well-made.
"Along the way, Aidan continued to challenge their thinking, while supporting decisions..."
"Aidan is a joy to work with. He is values driven and offers challenge in a positive and strategic manner."
I'm excited about curriculm development and my enthusiasm rubs off. Although there is logic and method to how I develop curriculum alongside staff, it is rooted in the intrinsic enjoyment of creating something new, and of doing excellent work that children will benefit from.
"...and all sessions were engaging as well as enjoyable."
Although I might work with a member of staff for a day or two, so much of the work we do is about making sure that they are prepared for all the days when I'm not there - for the times when they have to deliver training to their colleagues, or give a presentation to governors, or be part of an Ofsted deep dive. I explain and explore processes, thoughts and decisions, ensuring that I don't go away with all the knowledge, but that the staff member does instead.
"You ensured that I was clear and confident about my vision for DT, in turn helping me to develop a plan going forward for our curriculum."
I Instill Knowledge
I don't just bring my knowledge, and I don't just share it, I ensure that it is installed in the minds of the staff members who I work with. My whole way of working is intended to ensure that eventually I am not needed by that member of staff, or by that school - developing in-house expertise permeates all aspects of my working method.
"I am able to look at the curriculum with a greater overall knowledge and insight across both Key Stages, allowing me to create a unique curriculum for our school."
I Instill Confidence
The in-depth work that I do with leaders automatically ensures that they know more about their subject, which naturally leads to an improved confidence. We discuss next steps and action plans, ensuring that teachers and leaders know exactly what they need to do to continue the development work.
"The impact has resulted in detailed, coherent schemes of work which staff are confident in their implementation and how to measure the impact of these subjects at our school."
"Going forward I feel confident to design the DT curriculum for our school, I feel confident creating progression maps, and monitoring the subject, ensuring it is being championed in our school."
With thanks to all those who have written a testimonial for me. You can read the ones I've quoted, and others, over at my Testimonials page.