The toolkit you need to meet the new professional development standard

Michael Holland

What does the CPD standard mean for you?

There may be a new secretary of state at the Department for Education, but one of Nicky Morgan’s final announcements is sure to influence the education sector long after her departure. This summer, the DfE published a new standard for teacher’s professional development. It’s a huge opportunity for school leaders across the country.

The standard sets five clear expectations. Your CPD programmes need to be collaborative, sustained, evidence-based, focused on pupil outcomes, and supported by school leadership. This standard really raises the bar yet helping teachers to develop their practice is far from simple. It requires effort, expertise, careful planning and commitment from both leaders and teaching staff.

Working with experts to help you meet the CPD standard

Back in 2015, The Key started talking to schools about how we might help you to deliver excellent CPD. School leaders told us they struggle with three things: they lack the time, the resource and the expertise to develop high-quality materials in-house.

We worked with the experts drafting the CPD standard to explore how schools could overcome these challenges. And in response, we spent a lot of time creating our CPD Toolkit. We launched in April. It provides all of the resources, expertise and ideas you need to run high-impact, in-school training for teachers, leaders and support staff. The Toolkit includes modules on topics ranging from assessment to middle leadership. Each module is designed to be delivered by staff to staff to support deep learning that drives school improvement. 

We see this as a massive opportunity to shake-up how CPD is seen in the sector. We’re passionate about what the Toolkit can do to improve your school. This new approach is a game-changer.

Why will it make a difference in your school? Experts have helped us to create each module. We worked with CUREE to design our first module on effective feedback. Since CUREE co-authored the CPD standard, we knew that our module would help you to nail the criteria set out in the standard, but we wanted to make sure it worked for our member schools. We wanted to see them try it, and so we gave it to a small group of schools to pilot test. We went along to watch the sessions, and quizzed the staff delivering and receiving them.

We learnt A LOT! So what did we find out?

Measuring the impact of CPD in your school

Time and time again, we heard that schools are struggling to measure the impact of CPD. So we started to work on practical tools to assess where you’re at now, and then track the impact of changes on both individual and whole-school practice. You’ll be able to track the changes throughout the course of the module.

Watching the pilot sessions also helped us to appreciate how tricky it can be for teachers to translate research into classroom practice. It’s an ongoing struggle, as my colleague Alex discovered when he went along to ResearchED last weekend. We learnt that teachers found it really helpful to look at case studies of evidence-based strategies, and then consider how they might adapt them to fit their own practice. Seeing the evidence in action was a winner for our members, and so our final module features over thirty case studies!

School leaders also spoke to us about the challenges of getting teachers to trial and test new approaches. So, we worked on action research tools to help them to understand how to implement and evaluate the strategies explored in each session. With these tools, teachers can identify the evidence they’ll need to assess whether their chosen approach is improving outcomes for pupils.

Using coaching to drive collaborative professional development

Schools that pilot tested the first session of modules always wanted to go ahead and deliver the remaining sessions. This was a relief (we were getting it right!) and also a big learning opportunity. We quickly learnt about some of the challenges of maintaining momentum to drive deep professional learning between sessions.

Collaborative-coaching is key to maintaining this momentum. It helps colleagues to work with one another to embed the new knowledge and skills they have each developed during sessions. Coaching can play a critical role in supporting collaborative professional development and driving whole-school improvement. So, we decided to develop a new module on coaching. We want to help your staff to become highly effective coaches, capable of supporting colleagues to reach their full potential.

Providing outstanding support for in-school facilitators

Going out to schools and observing the sessions opened our eyes to the varying level of expertise and experience of the people delivering our modules. We made it our mission to provide as much support as possible to these people. We provided detailed facilitator notes, research summaries, and developed videos to help facilitators deliver the more challenging parts of each session.

But we didn’t stop there. Now, you can maximise the effectiveness of CPD in your school by using our Train the trainer module, developed with David Weston. David is the CEO of The Teacher Development Trust and he chaired the expert group that wrote the CPD standard. If you want your in-school training facilitators to plan, deliver and refine CPD for optimal impact, then this module is for you.

Train the trainer is just one more example of how we want to change the world of CPD, so that professional learning in your school is the very best it can be. There is lots more to come, and we want to see you try it.

Download the first session of the coaching module for free. Try it today! 

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