Speed-Dating CPD: The Life Of A Deputy Headteacher

Reading time: 3


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

How can school leaders design effective and highly engaging CPD?

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?

Here, you will find a ready-to-go resource for you and your staff.


Today, I took a big 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. However, this evening, I led a staff CPD session that was the most innovative, creative, and engaging I have ever experienced!

Today, we offered teachers time to discuss teaching and driving grassroots pedagogy.

Of course, staff evaluations may speak for themselves. 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 and to have an immediate and direct impact in the classroom. With this in mind, you will find a resource ready for you and your staff to use tomorrow!

Speed Dating CPD:

Speed Dating CPD Bring and Brag

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

Setting up:

Behind the scenes, we set up our auditorium with exam desks around the entire room. Out of 110 teaching staff, we set up about 50 tables. On each side of a table were two seats facing each other. On each desk, there were two pencils and this speed-dating document.

Before this event, I had asked staff in briefings and newsletters to prepare and think about one idea they could bring and brag about it to the session to share with another staff member. One catch: they only had 30 seconds to do this, and 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, they 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

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 at 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 fun with this and ask one circle to move left and the other right etc.)

Of course, we offered three prizes (for the top 3 ideas) to stir the excitement further.


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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The most striking image for me, taken off-chance, is a shot of a newly qualified teacher speaking with our headteacher and 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!

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 CPD: 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.