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3 Steps to Effective CPD

Cost-effective and impactful CPD has never been more important as schools face ever tighter budgets in the face of a changing education landscape.  School leaders are having to make tough decisions, balancing the needs of their staff and students with depleting budgets.  Our 3 step approach to CPD planning will help you focus your thinking on how to get the best from your professional development provision.

Step One – Identify your ‘Why’

We need to…. so that our staff/students…

Having a laser-sharp focus on the purpose of your provision is crucial for designing a programme that will have a direct impact on your school improvement priorities.  Starting with a very clear purpose of the aim of your CPD provision (for example, to improve the effectiveness of formative assessment in school), will allow you to identify exactly what development your staff require. This will help you decide how best to meet this need.

Step Two – How will you judge its success?

We will know it’s been successful when our staff/students….

Having decided on the purpose of your provision, the next step should be to decide what outcome you want to achieve and how will you know it’s been successful.  This will depend very much on the context of your school, but a clear idea of how you will measure success will help you determine your next steps. Research suggests the most effective programmes recognise that true impact can only be achieved when staff are given the time and opportunity to practice, develop and collaborate, so a single objective over time can yield more results than one-off, episodic training events.

Step Three – What will it look like?

Many schools distribute leadership of CPD to Middle Leaders, SLEs, Lead Practitioners and/or exceptional teachers and thereby create ‘peer-led’ and collaborative CPD models.  Utilising existing talent in this way and providing valuable leadership development can build a sustainable system of efficient school improvement.  However, a broad and differentiated provision will often require some external provision and with this can come tough financial decisions. In this instance, a commitment to evidence-based training, and a shared vision on intended outcomes, will maximise the returns on the investment.  Looking at schools in your locality, or becoming involved in the work of a Teaching School Alliance, can help you achieve efficiencies, reduce costs and receive ongoing support with your programme and staff development.

Andrea Taylor – Director of Teaching School and CPD SLE