St Stephen’s Church of England

Leadership of Continuing Professional Development


Michelle MercerI have taught at 3 contrasting primary schools over the past 19 years. At Huncoat Primary I held a senior leadership position for two years, leading in Special Needs, IT and PE. We had a higher than average number of pupils eligible for pupil premium and a higher than average number receiving SEND support. It also served a fixed and roamer traveller community. My second was a full time teaching Deputy Headteacher post at Belmont Primary, a small rural primary school, which presented its own challenges and opportunities in leading a wide range of areas such as, Special Needs, IT, science and assessment. My current school, St Stephen’s Church of England, is a larger than average, mainly Muslim, EAL primary school, serving a community in one of the lowest bands of deprivation and a larger than average number of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium. All three schools have been valuable in providing me with varied experiences and a range of challenges that equip me with the knowledge, skills and understanding that are needed to support other schools and their individual circumstances.

I have been Deputy Headteacher at St Stephen’s for almost 7 years, playing a significant role in leading our school out of Special Measures and into the category of good. My role as assessment leader started when we were placed in Special Measures. I took the opportunity to immerse myself in data and seek ways in demonstrating to HMI and governors that our school was on an upward trend and our achievements across all year groups were sustainable and meeting or exceeding national expectations. Over the years I have ensured that our systems are robust and support our school in raising standards and improving the outcomes for our pupils. My presentations of data and training offered have supported our governors, SLT and staff with their analysis of school performance and identification of vulnerable groups and interventions required. I have also delivered assessment meetings in house and to our cluster group.

My role as school champion for our involvement with the Achievement for All programme has supported my developments in managing our pupil premium budget using school and external data, Sutton Trust research, other evidence based research and school monitoring to inform our decisions on spending and impact.

I have high expectations of myself and strive to deliver the best outcomes for my own school and others. My research, CPD, collaboration with consultants and colleagues, have helped me to design new systems, policies and non-negotiables for leading assessment in my school. I work very closely with my headteacher in setting targets based on FFT projections and prior attainment; contributing significantly to the formulation of our SDP and SEF. I have had responsibility for devising monitoring cycles, using findings from pupil progress meetings, appraisals, lesson observations, coaching and book scrutinies.

I am totally committed to ensuring all children exceed in life and work. Developing teaching and learning is key to providing our children with a hope for the future. I have coached, mentored worked alongside SLT, teachers, NQTs and students to develop their understanding and confidence in using data and raising standards in teaching and learning.

I enjoy leading assessment; identifying trends and vulnerable groups. It allows me to uphold my vision of every child deserving the best education. I aspire for every school to be great, to allow its pupils to have strong foundations for the future. I have great hopes for all of our children and know if we work as a TEAM we will endeavour to make Blackburn with Darwen a leading authority in education.