The National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), which champions school-led teacher training and development, has appointed a new Executive Director following the retirement of Martin Thompson after over 17 years with the organisation.
Emma Hollis, who has been a Trustee at NASBTT for the past 18 months alongside her roles as Head of Educational Strategy at the Inspiring Futures Through Learning multi-academy trust and Head of the Milton Keynes Teaching School Alliance, formally took up her new position as Executive Director on 1st September.
With nationwide issues around teacher recruitment and retention in the public eye, Emma said she was “privileged” to accept the opportunity to lead NASBTT and ensure that it makes a direct impact on the challenges facing the sector. “Whatever happens around us, and whatever the political climate, we must remain focused on our core purpose – which is to support providers and represent the interests of school-led training provision,” she explained. “This is a non-negotiable; the absolute bedrock of what we stand for and wherever the future may take us, this purpose remains constant and unchanging. We are already well placed to make our views heard and will continue to foster the relationships we have with key players so that our members’ interests are considered. However, what we ultimately need to help the government achieve is stability and clarity in the ITT system. A brief skim through the history books of teacher training shows that the preference for university-led v school-led provision has swung back and forth like a pendulum. I believe that NASBTT should support a simplification of the system and continue to encourage partnerships of schools and HEIs to work together. It should not be an either or approach.”
NASBTT will directly input to current discussions around apprenticeships for teacher training, strengthening QTS and high-quality CPD programmes for teacher educators, and ensure that its members are well placed to benefit from these developments, Emma revealed. “What is really exciting about taking on this role is the fact that I know just how much of this groundwork has already been laid by the fantastic work of Martin and his team,” she said. “They have already laid so much track that we have been able to travel a huge distance already in a relatively short period of time. I am always in awe of the fact that Martin started as one of a handful of people around a table and has brought us to where we are now – with a membership of 178, representing 86% of SCITTs and almost 7,000 individual trainees. That is a huge achievement and I have felt so privileged to have worked alongside this team and learn about the journey that NASBTT has taken so far.”
Emma said that NASBTT would seek to have even greater influence on the sector going forward. “At the heart of the challenge – and opportunity – is how can we ensure that we have a sustained, and quality, teacher workforce that meet the needs of schools? We could, and should, be instrumental in ensuring that current ITT routes remain rigorous and train excellent practitioners for the future,” she added.
Outgoing Executive Director Martin Thompson, who will continue his association with NASBTT as Strategy Consultant, welcomed Emma’s appointment. “Firstly, I would like to express my deep gratitude to everyone we have worked with to establish NASBTT as such an integral part of the ITT landscape,” he said. “What started as a fledgling organisation now holds its head up high in the annals of power – in the past few months alone we have worked rigorously with the Department for Education and are benefitting in terms of early involvement in their initiatives. I am delighted that Emma has taken up the reins. She has demonstrated that she is most certainly the right choice to move the organisation forward and I am so pleased that I can pass the baton on into her secure grip.”