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Overcoming barriers to powerful professional development (part 2)

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David Weston is the founder and chief executive of the Teacher Development Trust, the independent national charity for teachers’ professional development. He is a primary governor and former secondary teacher, author and consultant. Follow him on Twitter @informed_edu.

This is the second part of David's series of guest posts on issues highlighted by the Teacher Development Trust's annual report.

Part one of the series (accountability pressures) is available here.

Top down decision making processes

In 9 out of 10 schools, approval for CPD rests with senior leadership. At the same time, fewer than 50% of schools allow individual teachers to select the organisation which will support their professional development.

Reducing an individual teacher’s role in professional development makes it less likely that it will effectively and sustainably improve the quality of teaching in their classroom.

To avoid a “one size fits all” approach, I recommend engaging teachers at every stage of their professional learning:

  • Support staff to identify areas for development through careful consideration of their students’ learning and subsequent reflection on their own practice.
  • Allow staff time to engage with research, resources and activities that support, challenge, and allow them to embed changes to their practice in the long term.
  • Support staff to evaluate the impact of their professional learning on student outcomes and share practice with colleagues throughout the school and wider teaching community.

This will foster a culture in which every teacher values, is responsible for and is actively engaged in professional learning that impacts directly on their students.

-David Weston, Teacher Development Trust


Recommended reading on The Key for School Leaders

Next in part three of David's series: financial pressures

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