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Overcoming barriers to powerful professional development (part 3)

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

You can read the previous posts in this series here:

Financial pressures

53.4% of school leaders in our survey found it harder to meet teachers’ development needs in the past twelve months because of financial pressures on their school. Some schools reported that no budget was available for teachers to access external support; overwhelmingly sessions are run internally.

This has created a gap in how schools strategically select external support, moving cost rather than impact on student attainment to the centre of many decisions affecting professional development.

Budget cuts are out of schools’ hands. Nevertheless, school leaders can alleviate their impact on staff’s professional development:

  • Base decisions on “value for money”, prioritising the projected impact of CPD rather than cost alone.
  • Maximise the impact of investments by allowing staff time and resources to not only attend training but also embed and evaluate changes to practice in the long term.
  • Ensure that all professional learning is disseminated throughout school. Encourage and allow staff time to collaborate and jointly reflect (through processes such as Lesson Study) so that understanding and practice can be shared and embedded.

By making the above changes, school leaders can mitigate the pressures of external factors and contribute to national improvements in teachers’ professional development.

-David Weston, Teacher Development Trust

Recommended reading on The Key for School Leaders

Next in the fourth and final part of David's series: mechanisms to select strategic support


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