Maximising The Effectiveness Of School CPD
Truly effective continuing professional development (CPD) must have a clear measurable and direct impact within school. Helping schools to achieve this is extremely rewarding.
“I wondered if you would be kind enough to pass on a sincere note of thanks to Bruce McAlpine. I attended his 3 day course in May of this year and worked hard to implement many of the suggestions, especially the multifilter trackers for subjects. At the end of June we were given an outstanding judgement by Ofsted! This is in no small measure due to the superb training I received on the course. As a result, I am now supporting not only my school, but also another local school in difficulty- this is because of the skills gained from the course- many thanks again,”
(Quote from a participant on inspection skills for headteachers)
So how do you ensure that training courses and CPD have maximum impact?
For schools, the purpose of continuing professional development must ultimately be to improve the overall performance of the school and raise attainment. Effective CPD begins with the school development plan which will clearly identify areas for improvement. CPD should then focus on closing the gaps that have been identified. The performance management cycle can then be used in conjunction with the school development plan to identify the development needs of each individual teacher. What knowledge and skills does each teacher need in order to teach more effectively and raise attainment within their class room? By identifying professional development needs in this way, schools can be sure that the CPD is targeted and focused where it meets the needs of the overall school and the individual.
Selecting the right course
Once the focus area has been identified it is important to select courses carefully, based upon a clear written description which identifies the learning objectives and expected outcomes. Finding a course and workshop that closely matches the professional development needs of the individual maximises the effectiveness of the development and ensures that valuable resources in terms of time and money are not wasted.
“The best training I have attended as a headteacher- Everything was useful.”
(Quote from a participant on a PBM course)
Extending and updating skills and knowledge
An effective CPD course or workshop places the same emphasis on extending knowledge, skills and understanding of the teacher as teachers place on extending the knowledge, skills and understanding of pupils within their classroom. Participants should leave a course with a reignited enthusiasm and a drive to return to school and use their newly acquired knowledge and skills.
“The best training I have attended as a headteacher- Everything was useful. I am really looking forward to cascading it to my SLT. Exactly what we needed at this point in our school development. Thank you I will use you again.” (Quote from a participant on a PBM course)
Building participant confidence
Effective CPD should also provide teachers, headteachers and other participants with increased confidence. Training that clarifies information or extends skills will ultimately boost confidence enabling participants to carry out their role with increased efficiency and effectiveness. For example if a senior leader is unsure about judgement criteria when observing a lesson then how can they be sure that judgements are accurate. As soon as this information is clarified and lesson observation skills are practiced within a training environment, they will have the confidence to return to school and observe lessons accurately and effectively.
“Very clear, structured explanation guiding through principles. It made logical sense and built up well to the bigger picture…I feel I have a good handle now on collecting data and will be able to collate/ interpret it confidently”. (Quote from a participant on a PBM course: How to use RAISEonline effectively in the primary school)
No question is too trivial
Effective CPD should engage with participants giving them the opportunity to ask questions and build on their existing knowledge and skills. This is where the training environment and the course structure become important. A course which just ‘talks at’ can never be as effective as a course that engages participants and where appropriate includes tasks and activities that enable them to apply and practise the skills that are being taught and developed.
“Tutor was clearly well experienced and dealt very well with questions and making some difficult content user-friendly. The tasks linked well to the programme and allowed learning to be consolidated.”
“No question was deemed too trivial…Have recommended this course to many colleagues! Great venue…and food!!”
Successful, high quality CPD does make a difference.
“Just to say a big thank you. I came to your Lesson Observation course last year and not only enjoyed it very much but also got a great deal of support, particularly on data around pupil progress. It was a fantastic help to me and we were able to quickly put into place what was needed to ensure that we had meaningful data prepared for our Ofsted, which finally came in November. A colleague from a different nursery school in our area also came on the same day and found it useful as she was expecting an inspection too. The result of both inspections was ‘Outstanding’ and I know that without that input we would have struggled to be as prepared to demonstrate pupil progress as in the event we were. Thanks again”.
For more information about the courses that we provide please visit our website www.pbm-group.co.uk.