Damian was an outstanding Head of Science quickly transforming a struggling department into one that consistently achieved at the highest levels. Through his leadership the department went from the bottom to the very top of Lancashire's value-added table.
He has a true passion for Science and chose to pursue a career in Science education rather than move into senior leadership where I have no doubt he would have been very successful.
Damian is driven by a strong desire to inspire and excite young people about science, and to make it fun, compelling and easy to learn. He keeps himself up to date with the latest developments in Science education, always looking for ways to make learning even more stimulating.
I can think of no-one more suited to monitoring, evaluating, guiding or advising those eager to develop into a dynamic force for learning.
Bill Hill, former Deputy Headteacher, Worden High School, Leyland and Headteacher, Tulketh High School, Preston
I was very sad to hear of Bill's sudden death in the summer of 2014 http://www.lep.co.uk/news/education/quiet-but-firm-headteacher-dies-suddenly-1-6809884
During the 10 years that I have been teaching, Damian has been an integral part of Blackpool Science. He has had a pivotal role in developing the Highfield Science department.
Damian has been instrumental in my career as a Science teacher. He has enabled me to develop areas of my teaching that ultimately led to my appointment as AST. His continued help, guidance and professionalism have also been invaluable on my journey to Assistant Headship.
His knowledge and understanding of education in general is exemplary. He has the ability to take cutting edge ideas and make them workable in the classroom.
He is an expert in data handling; he regularly helps Blackpool Schools use data effectively. His manipulation of complex data has enabled Science Departments to look more closely at how children learn. More importantly, he teaches departments how they can use data to target children enabling strategies to be developed to increase attainment.
Damian is an expert mentor and coach. His non-judgmental approach allows staff to flourish. His enthusiasm, passion, drive and determination make him an invaluable consultant to work with.
Chris Wardle, Science AST, recently appointed as Assistant Head Teacher, Collegiate High School, Blackpool
I have found Damian's support, knowledge, and advice invaluable. I feel confident that if I had any problems or needed any additional support I could ask him and I am always confident that he has answers.
Michelle Stephens, Head of Science, St George's CE High School, Blackpool
We are delighted with the support we received from Damian Ainscough. He helped us to develop and articulate our data systems in school to help raise attainment. Damian, since supporting the school, has made significant contributions to every stage of the data work at Palatine and ensured that a clear path was followed to successful completion. Damian, as the data consultant, has developed good working relationships with all staff and has delivered various training sessions to support all levels of teachers/middle leaders/SLT. These include Raise Online, FFT and use of Excel.
Damian has made a major contribution to the success of using data to improve results and he will be an asset to any team.
Emma Schofield, former Assistant Headteacher, Palatine Sports College, Blackpool
Damian Ainscough changed my mind about consultants. His warm and friendly manner enfolds a laser-like intellect that will drill down to the key issues in improving learning and raising attainment. When he looks at your data he usually surprises you with a trend, pattern or issue that you hadn't noticed.
Damian is a genuine enthusiast for science and learning; he is dedicated to enabling improvement in schools, science teams and students. He is a missionary for Afl, probably the most effective tool for raising results.
His range of contacts is extensive; from Nobel prize winners to leading policy influencers in the 'industry'.
He doesn't stop thinking when he leaves the building (its almost like “buy one get one free”!) And with my cheek stuffed full of tongue... "When the grades go down, and you wear a frown, who you gonna call? Ask Ainscough!"
Dean Eden, former Head of Science, Highfield Humanities College, Blackpool
Damian has supported Palatine for several years now and he has had significant impact upon developments within the school. Specifically he has supported the Science Faculty, and then at a whole-school level he has led on AfL and on how to make more intelligent use of data. His impact has been significant, Science results have improved hugely over this period whilst the overall results have increased to such an extent that the school was nominated in the Most Improved School category by SSAT. Damian's input has been integral to this; he is extremely articulate, he is able to analyse school needs wonderfully well, and he delivers his support with high levels of emotional intelligence - Damian is a fantastic professional.
Chris Powell, Headteacher, Palatine Sports College, Blackpool
I am delighted to be able to provide a testimonial for Damian after his many years of distinguished service supporting developments at St. Marys. St. Mary’s Catholic College is an 11-18 Catholic Comprehensive High School, of 1200 students, that serves the Catholic community of Blackpool and the Fylde. The school’s intake, as measured by NFER CAT scores, is fully comprehensive.
Damian’s work at the College goes back to July 2002 and continues today. He has worked very closely with staff at the College as one of the advisors on the Blackpool Assessment for Learning Network and has effectively supported us with this work. He has a superb working knowledge of Assessment for Learning and a fantastic manner with staff. He is able to engage equally with staff who are excited and keen to bring in new practices and colleagues who for a variety of reasons need additional support and encouragement. He was always very well organised, highly professional in his approach and has a confidence that enables him to bring out the best from people. His work is very well regarded across Blackpool and a number of schools, including those in more challenging circumstances, have sought the support of Damian in developing and implementing their assessment strategies.
In addition to his work on Assessment for Learning, he has provided substantial support for the Science Department across a whole range of issues. His knowledge of the subject is excellent and he is a very skilful coach, drawing out great ideas from within people that can then be put into practice in the classroom. He has worked across Blackpool schools on a number of Science related networks and projects including an unforgettable Science Day that included Sir Harry Kroto, the Nobel Prize Winner.
In conclusion I would recommend without reservation Damian if you are looking for support with assessment or your Science Department. I am happy for you to contact me at the College to clarify any aspect of this testimonial and discuss Damian’s work in greater detail.
Stephen Tierney, Headteacher, St Mary’s Catholic College, Blackpool
I am delighted to be able to add a testimonial for Damian who has ably led the LSN Triple Science Network for Blackpool schools for the last 2 years. Damian has always had the needs and interests of the Science teachers at heart, and has worked tirelessly to support them across both the Local Authorty and North West. He has a deep understanding of teaching and learning across the board, and not simply within the context of Science. His enthusiasm for Science is naturally at the forefront of much of his work and because of this and his other skills, he is able to engage and motivate those he works with.
As TS Network Leader, Damian produced Case Studies of best practice and shared these at national level through the Triple Science Community website. He liaised with Science leaders across the NW and nationally and was always willing to both listen and share as well as contribute to the wider agenda. It has been a pleasure to work with him, and I hope we will be able to continue to do so in the future.
Ann Simkins, LSN Triple Science Network Consultant (NW) / Training and Education Adviser.
Damian Ainscough has worked in Blackpool for over nine years as a senior adviser/consultant. Although his main specialism is in science, he has developed extensive knowledge and skills in assessment of pupils’ learning and the teaching approaches and strategies to improve the achievements and understanding of pupils.
Damian’s expertise in teaching is based on his successful experience as head of department and a resolute commitment to pupils experiencing the excitement and enjoyment of science. His role as consultant/adviser working with schools across the local authority have enhanced this conviction and have led to his intensive researching to discover practical opportunities that can safely engage children and young people in initiating scientific enquiries and designing experiments. Damian has sought out specialists scientists from schools, colleges, universities and industry. He has used their experience and expertise to take pupils and their teachers into the heart of scientific enquiry and generated a real enthusiasm for science.
Throughout his work in the wider role of adviser/consultant, Damian brings his skills as a scientist to provide high levels of precision and attention to detail. As assessment has developed he has seized the opportunity to map out the progressive steps pupils have to make in their learning to systematically develop their knowledge and understanding and plan the practical experiences to apply them in different situations and to extend their own learning. The relevance of this work involves learning across the curriculum as a whole and has effectively accelerated pupils learning and understanding. Damian was invited to contribute at regional and national levels to disseminate his work and thoughts. This led to extensive involvement with the National Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) that engaged him in visiting schools and colleges across the country where leading practice had been identified. He then prepared reports which contributed to national publications. Through the growing requests for his time, the local authority was aware of the very high regard QCA, schools, teachers and fellow professionals had for Damian and their appreciation of the impact of his work and his high levels of professionalism and commitment.
Damian made sure that the benefits of this work were brought back to his own schools in the local authority. This enhanced further the respect and trust of teachers and leaders in schools in him as a colleague and leader. His commitment to getting the best out of everything always focused on the benefits for pupils and this is always the ultimate measure he uses. He has always proved reliable and determined to see things through whatever the demands and to meet deadlines when required. His enthusiasm and inquisitive outlook spreads quickly to others, colleagues, teachers and pupils. They find themselves involved, their views sought and valued and inevitably they are caught up in whatever is next on the agenda.
These personal skills have led to Damian’s engagement with headteachers and senior leaders in schools and the local authority. They respect the level of expertise and genuine enthusiasm he brings and his ability to bring logic and common sense to planning developments or resolving issues. His complete integrity and sensitivity lead to a natural trust and respect and allows the views and opinions of others to be considered openly and honestly.
Damian can therefore be recommended without reservation.
Stephen Toon, former Principal Adviser, Learning and Schools Division, Blackpool LA
Recent training event evaluation comments [Post 16 'Stretch and Challenge']:
'Thank you for your work yesterday. I have had very good feedback and you were described as inspirational.'
'Useful to make classes more interesting'
'Once again, a very good presentation and training'
'Very useful practical strategies for teaching and learning'
Damian has significant expertise and experience across all aspects of secondary science education and whole school assessment (including assessment for learning and the use of pupil data).
He is a highly skilled coach and provider of CPD.
Charlotte Clarke, Head of School Improvement, Blackpool Council
Damian provided well considered advice and guidance to those who he supported in schools and across Local Authorities.
He is a very reflective thinker about what works in the classroom and in project development.
I would recommend him to other professionals unreservedly.
Des Dunne, former National Director for Science, National Strategies; current Vice Chair of the Association for Science Education