How do you know if professional development is any good in your school?
Based on some of the schools that I have worked with, from primary, secondary, independent and state schools, free schools, grammars, academies and international schools, here are how schools are meeting the challenges of professional development.
- CPD is protected
- It is calendared for the academic year
- There are clear programmes of study, linked to whole school priorities
- Accessing educational research has a grassroots approach
- The leadership team take a step back, but interestingly always take part
- Teaching and learning ideas are presented, interpreted and evaluated; teachers discuss how ideas work in the classroom
- Discussions are honest, non-threatening and reflective
- There is collegiality, with external visitors and partnership schools collaborating
- Support staff are catered for; they stand up in front of the teaching colleagues and present on things they have learnt
- Membership to organisations such as the Chartered College of Teaching, subject associations, unions is encouraged
- One per cent of the school’s overall budget is protected
- Schools offer a mixture of morning, lunch and after-school sessions to meet the needs of all their staff, including those with flexible working conditions
- Absent and part-time staff have a follow-up session
- Childcare facilities, diversity, gender as well as research, are high on the agenda
- Gone are the days of one person at the front, reading Powerpoint slides
- Traditional isolated days are disaggregated and time throughout the year is offered for a more rhythm
- Lesson reflection is paramount, with some developing an alternative approach where teachers build up their own portfolio of evidence
- Appraisal has moved swiftly from performance management to research enquiry More details and research explained in my forthcoming book.
We are a good way off these ideas taking place in all of our schools; funding, policies and support from external agencies matter, but teachers and schools are generally best-placed to get the best out of pupils. We need to empower them to do so …