Chloe Cawthorne

Be Bold Network, Dr Sam Sims and instructional coaching

Chloe Cawthorne provides a round up of the Be Bold network's first ever event.

Dr Sam Sims is a pretty big name in education and after agreeing to speak at the first ever event of our new network, Be Bold, we were just a little bit over excited. Keep reading to hear more about who the Be Bold network is, how the event went and why Sam believes instructional coaching is the only CPD our teacher should be doing.

Classroom excellence and developing teachers 

The Be Bold network are now four months old and for such a youthful network, they certainly aren’t taking it easy. Made up of ambassadors in west London they know exactly what they want to achieve - classroom excellence and developing teachers.  

This is something they feel is often overlooked. They also are pretty sure that if every school opened their door when they ran a CPD session and let a few more people in, the (educational) world would be a better place.  

“Development” stops once their ITT provider hands them a certificate  

Teacher wellbeing is on the front pages, retention issues aren’t going anywhere, and teachers feel that their development stops once their Initial Teacher Training provider hands them a certificate. Plus, the understanding of what ‘good’ is within teaching is plain confusing and what we’re ‘meant’ to be doing is just as bad. Look to Twitter and you’ll find two perfectly qualified professionals totally disagree on what good teaching is, how it should be done and what you should be doing. It’s enough to make any classroom teacher hide in a wifi blocked pit. Plus, not every classroom teacher is looking to develop into leadership. They want to improve their practice and master their craft. The provisions to do so need to be better, more available and accessible.  

That’s where Be Bold comes in. The network is here to help by bringing research and experts to the classroom teachers. They’ve been holding twilight events for free while simultaneously recording them for a future podcast. They plan to turn them into downloadable podcasts with the help of Evidence Based Education (thanks Jess), making sure every teacher can access them. Really rather good, aren’t they? 

Event with Dr Sam Sims 

Their first event took place on 29 October with Dr Sam Sims focusing on his ideas and practical suggestions on making instructional coaching doable in schools. How did it go? Well you should guess by now that we love a Teach First ambassador Twitter takeover so you can see for yourself. But here are the highlights.

  • 50 people attended, a mix of Teach First ambassadors and teachers in the community 
  • Sam ran through the research on how instructional coaching is the ‘best bet’ for teacher development and school improvement 
  • Instructional coaching requires a range of active ingredients and, to actually change practice, you need to make sure these happen.  
  • He made it very clear that mentoring is not the same as instructional coaching.
  • Recognising it can be expensive in time but it’s also very doable. This led to a long debate amongst the crowd and not everyone was convinced, but certainly got people talking. 
  • Ended with a lovely biscuit and a chat over a coffee, before politely heading to the pub next door (no pictures for that, obviously).


After all of that you wouldn’t blame them for having a few weeks off, but no.  

What’s next?

They have since had two more events. One on the 12 November with Lucy Crehan looking at ‘How other schools achieve excellence globally’. Followed by a history specific event on 18 November led by Professor Jonathan Phillips on Medieval and Early Modern history subject knowledge CPD.

If you’re anxious to make sure you don’t miss any more, follow them on Twitter or sign up to their mailing list

Any other questions about Be Bold, contact Chloe!

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