Could new CPD standards unlock career paths in our schools?

The recently published standards for teacher professional development put in place a much needed framework for teaching schools and training providers to work with.

It also clarified things for all who work in our schools, spelling out exactly what they should expect from professional development. The key messages from these standards, which I won’t repeat as they can be read elsewhere, won’t be a surprise to anyone.

However, the new standards do shine a light, once again, on the development of the school-led system. In years past agencies such as the TDA, TTA, CWDC and NCTL provided a suite of government funded programmes that schools and educators could access as a key part of their professional development.

These could be complemented by the schools own programmes of professional development, as well as training offered by the local authority.

But with the decline in funding and the shrinking role of the local authority the onus is now on the school-led system and training providers to fill the gaps.

Schools and multi-academy trusts often talk about being an employer of choice. There is no doubt that in order to achieve this ambition they will all need to put in place an effective professional and leadership development strategy that gives new recruits and existing staff a clear career path. The standards could be of great help here if they are considered as part of a coherent strategy. Here are some points to consider:

  1. Give staff the CPD they need
    What are the needs of your staff and how do you identify them? There are plenty of standards out there that you can measure against - leadership standards from NCTL, teacher standards and support staff standards. Our online review toolkit allows staff to measure themselves against these standards and for schools and trusts to get organisation-wide reporting.
  2. Link CPD clearly to professional standards
    Develop a training programme linked to the professional development standards by:
    • accessing nationally recognised programmes and qualifications such as the national professional qualifications (for example NPQH and NPQML)
    • working with your local teaching school alliance
    • Capitalising on the expertise of your own staff by getting them to devise and deliver CPD
  3. Expertise can save money and time
    Can you save money and resources by bringing in training expertise? This is a good option for multi-academy trusts. Significant discounts are available if you bring in a licensed provider to deliver NPQML for, say, 15 middle leaders in a trust. This will almost certainly be more cost effective and less time-consuming than sending these colleagues to an external training session. It also gives you flexibility to focus training on very specific areas and bring in expertise to deliver it, such as the NPQH closing the gap module.
  4. Measure the impact of your CPD
    Whatever your programme looks like you have to assess its effectiveness in moving your colleagues on in their development and improving teaching and learning. Without that interrogation of impact you won’t have a clear idea which CPD works and which doesn’t. And your colleagues won’t know if their CPD is making a tangible difference to their practice. That could be a great demotivator and also costly in financial terms. Our review toolkit can help to give you a clear picture of that impact.

Visit www.schoolandtrust.co.uk to find out more about Best Practice Network’s online diagnostic toolkit, part of a new trust improvement model.

Phil Haslett
Business Development Director, Best Practice Network.

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