Speed-Dating: The Life Of A Deputy Headteacher

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Speed Dating CPD Bring and Brag


In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account through which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday...
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Two weeks ago when we moved into a new building, our headteacher asked our staff; What were we all going to do differently in the new building? We were also asked; what were we going to do to reinvent ourselves? Here, you will find a resource ready-to-go for you and your own staff.


Today I took a risk leading staff CPD.  Previously, in two other schools where I have led whole-school CPD, I have limited the creative options in training sessions for staff. Perhaps I am at fault for my own set of expectations; plus the context of the school and the school priorities of that time should be kept in mind, but this evening, I led a staff CPD session that was innovative, creative and engaging. Today, we offered teachers time to talk about teaching and drive grassroots pedagogy.

Of course staff evaluations may speak for itself. I did ask staff very clearly, that if this session was of no value to them, then they must let me know so that I can ensure that we develop our CPD vision to become more meaningful to them; to have immediate and direct impact in the classroom. With this in mind, and with the two questions posed at the beginning of this blog, here you will read and find a resource ready-to-go for you and your own staff to use tomorrow!

Speed Dating CPD:

What better opportunity to get staff together, by using a speed-dating format where teachers can rapidly exchange dialogue, moving from one space to another; to share teaching and learning ideas.

Speed Dating CPD Bring and Brag

Setting up:

Behind the scenes, we set up our auditorium with exam desks around the entire room. From a total of 110 teaching staff, we set up about 50 tables in total. On each side of a table, were two seats facing each other. On each desk, there were two pencils and the following document:

Speed Dating CPD Bring and Brag

Prior to this event, I had asked staff in briefings and newsletters, to prepare and think about one idea that they could bring and brag to the session, to share with another member of staff. There was one catch, they only had 30 seconds to do this and that the idea was presented verbally, visually or physically.

Now, I will confess that I’ve never been to a speed-dating session before, but I had done my research and managed to set up our CPD session in such a fashion that a speed dating style event could take place and facilitate teachers talking about teaching and sharing classroom ideas. As staff arrived, the signed in and were pre-allocated a number on a sticky label. We played this popular song to get staff in the mood!

Speed Dating CPD Bring and Brag


  1. Have your own idea ready to share …
  2. 30 seconds to pitch what you have.
  3. Listen to the other person for 30 seconds.
  4. On your sheet, privately record your vote with a (tick) or a (cross).

Before the whistle started the session, staff were informed that a cowbell signalled that it was time to stop talking and listen to the other member of staff on their desk. Following another 30 seconds, this jingle was played to ask staff to move seats. I asked staff on the outer ring to move one seat to their left. (You can have all sorts of fun with this and ask one circle to move left and the other right etc.)


Of course, to stir the excitement even further and towards fever-pitch, we offered three prizes. Third place being a large box of chocolates; second-place another big box of chocolates and an educational book (see below) and finally, first place; the winning member of staff would receive a £25 Amazon voucher, a box of chocolates and I made a public promise, that whatever the idea, that we would aim to roll the winner’s idea out to all classrooms across the school and do what we can to facilitate it working whole-school.

Speed Dating CPD Bring and Brag


You can see from the following photographs, staff taking part in speed-dating CPD.

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The most striking image for me, taken off-chance, is a shot of a newly qualified teacher, speaking with our headteacher; sharing ideas. This is exactly how meaningful CPD should be designed: to give everybody a voice and forum to be heard. To give every member of staff, regardless of experience, the opportunity to share and discuss what works in the classroom with their peers.


This presentation is ready to go! All that I ask, is that if you do click the image below to download the Powerpoint file, is that you click the link right here and spread the word. Thank you.

Bring and Brag Speed Dating CPD - Presentation by @TeacherToolkit
I hope that you find the speed-dating resource of value and of use in your own school. If you do, then please let me know how you get on.


Book Club:

We also started our reading book club tonight. I previously blogged about this here. 100 teaching staff divide themselves into 15 reading groups to discuss classroom practice and theory, gathered from reading their books in small forums. I will report back on this next half-term once I gather initial feedback.

*a special thank you to Asmy.


11 thoughts on “Speed-Dating: The Life Of A Deputy Headteacher

  1. This is a great idea, such a simple and effective way to share great practice. Im booked in for 6th May to deliver at our school!

  2. Like this concept as good teachers usually can’t pinpoint why they are held in such high regard. Listening to others helps them identify their own abilities and perhaps seek promotion as confidence grows. Will read ofsted.

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