Over half of teachers surveyed agreed they aren’t receiving enough high-quality CPD (Continuing Professional Development), a new study has found.
Iris Connect asked their teachers if their school has provided sufficient high-quality CPD opportunities, to which 55% believed they hadn’t. This comes after a Teacher Tapp survey, which asked teachers to comment on the statement: “My school's professional development provision is helping me to become a better teacher” – to which only 34% of teachers agreed.
Interestingly, senior leaders did not agree with this statement, 66% of senior leaders and 76% of headteachers suggest that their CPD this year has been of a high quality.
Understandably, education settings want to provide the best CPD for their staff to further benefit their setting, and there is a desire within senior leaders to continue to improve CPD. CPD has been heavily adopted by schools to empower their teaching staff and strong teacher CPD can have gains of up to two years of attainment in pupils.
However, the data on teacher opinion shows that, in current CPD practices, there is a disjoint between educators’ and senior leaders’ perceptions of CPD. This shows that in some schools a shake-up in the way CPD is delivered is needed.
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So, what exactly is CPD?
Continuing Professional Development, or CPD, is an invaluable pillar of growth in the world of education, providing teachers and senior leaders with the tools and knowledge they need to continually enhance their skills and stay ahead of the curve.
Continuing Professional Development is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals engage in, to develop and enhance skills and abilities. From conducting research to attending a training session, watching a training video to completing a qualification, CPD encapsulates everything that involves learning and development in your job.
For educators, CPD means a commitment to lifelong learning, fostering a deep understanding of the latest teaching methodologies, pedagogical advances, and educational technologies. It's the path to becoming the best possible educators we can be!
Every teacher must do at least 30 hours of CPD a year, however, it is recommended that anyone working in education continues to develop their skills using CPD content.
For senior leaders and head teachers, CPD takes on a broader perspective, encompassing leadership skills, strategic planning, and educational policy insights. It's about equipping them to lead their institutions effectively, fostering an environment where both students and faculty can thrive and continue to learn through their careers.
What counts as CPD for teachers?
CPD must be logged to be credited for the time spent. Some examples of CPD include:
- Professional workshops and seminars: Attendance at workshops, seminars, and conferences focused on education-related topics.
- Online courses, videos and webinars: Participation in web-based courses, webinars, and e-learning modules that offer insights into specific educational subjects, behaviour management, or leadership development.
- Mentorship and coaching: Engaging in mentorship programs in which experienced educators guide and support less experienced colleagues in areas like classroom management, curriculum development, or leadership skills.
- Research and academic pursuits: Conducting research in the field of education, publishing articles, or pursuing advanced degrees, such as master's or doctoral programs, to deepen expertise and contribute to the field.
- Curriculum development: Collaborating with colleagues to create innovative and effective curriculum materials that align with educational standards and the needs of students, and that are engaging for them.
- In-house training: Participating in training sessions organised by the school or institution, which can include safety protocols, new technology tools, or school-specific initiatives.
- Observations and peer reviews: Engaging in the observation and evaluation of colleagues' teaching practices and receiving feedback to foster improvement.
- Educational leadership training: For senior leaders, engaging in leadership training that covers topics like strategic planning, policy development, staff management, and financial management.
- Educational technology integration: Learning how to effectively integrate technology into the classroom, including using digital tools and platforms to enhance teaching and learning.
- Personal growth and well-being: Recognising that personal development and well-being contribute to professional growth; activities like mindfulness training, stress management, and work-life balance can be part of CPD.
- Community involvement: Involvement in community projects, such as volunteering at educational charities, participating in school board activities, or contributing to local education initiatives.
What the topics are and how they are covered can be flexible, however, the government has set out CPD guidelines, stating that CPD must be:
- Focused on improving and evaluating pupil outcomes.
- Underpinned by robust evidence and expertise.
- Include collaboration and expert challenge.
- Sustained over time.
- Prioritised by leadership.
Finding the right CPD program for your team
CPD should not be a tick-box exercise, but something that evolves and grows with your team and continues to have a positive impact on your setting. Do you know how much CPD is completed by your team? Have you seen evidence of that CPD in practice? Is your CPD content dynamic, or a series of forms and PDFs that are gathering digital dust?
As Iris Connect’s article suggests, increasing professional autonomy and encouraging educators to make CPD choices that work for them is a great motivation tool. This freedom to choose could be combined with a model of an effective CPD plan or an example of results from CPD, to ensure your teachers still have that autonomy but are not lost.
Conversation is vital, and creating an open dialogue between senior leaders and educators will allow you to see where CPD can improve in your setting. Does your team prefer in-person training or doing things at their own pace? How much CPD can they complete with their current resources and time? Gain clarity by discussing individual needs, through one-to-one conversations or surveys, and set goals that are achievable for you and your team to implement.
Keep your CPD topics fresh and your educators engaged
CPD doesn’t have to be time-consuming! Educators are busier than ever, and although CPD should be of high importance, there’s no set-in-stone form that CPD needs to take. Bite-sized, engaging videos can be just the ticket to getting your educators engaged in CPD.
Try out a free service, such as the YouTube channel My-Progression, which offers free videos dedicated to education topics. The safeguarding series is an easy way to complete Level 1 Safeguarding, while their channel covers behaviour management, differentiation, lesson planning and more topics that the government’s teacher’s standard expects to see. My-Progression also offers free CPD certificates for evidencing learning. Combined with the channel this is an easy way to make CPD a weekly habit for your educators that they will enjoy doing.
In a landscape where a significant number of educators express concerns about the quality of the CPD they receive, finding the right CPD program can be transformative. Not only in terms of personal and professional development but also in positively impacting the educational experience for students and the overall success of an institution. Investing time into finding the right CPD for your team, inspiring them to take on individual learning and using dynamic content such as videos can be the key to unlocking CPD that really works, with real-world results.