Answering our list of questions could help you to define your role as CPD coordinator.
If the job of CPD coordinator/leader is to be the hub of a range of activities such as those in the diagram below, what might the job description and the person specification look like? Rather than propose a definition of the role let’s ask some questions. Perhaps your answers to those questions will help you to devise your own job description.
Q1 What should be the relationship of the CPD leader to senior leaders/managers and governors?
For example, should a leader of CPD be responsible for drafting the CPD policy, whether individually or as a member of a group? Should the leader of CPD write and present an annual evaluation report on the impact of CPD to the school governors and colleagues? Should this inform the SEF? Or, to put it more strongly, should it be the duty of the leader of CPD to ensure that there is no statement within the SEF that cannot be supported by evidence that the school and its staff have developed as professionals?
Q2 What facilities should be made available to the CPD leader? This might be an office, administrative support and/or a computer. It might also be guaranteed access to senior management.
Q3 How much dedicated time should there be for the role?
Perhaps this depends on the size of the school but, since the role of CPD coordinator is turning into that of CPD leader, should not a decision on the time made available take into account that, for example, mentoring and coaching are more labour intensive than counting the courses undertaken by colleagues?
Q4 How much power to make budgetary decisions should be allowed?
First of all, you might wish to know how much public money comes into your school raised specifically for CPD. It is worth remembering, however, that CPD takes place all of the time and often without colleagues realising it. It is not simply events.
Q5 What experience and expertise would help to make a good leader of CPD?
If your school sees the job as simply counting courses then maybe that is all you need to be able to do. The changes taking place, however, suggest a need to operate like the head of a cross-curricular department combined with a strong pastoral responsibility and a full set of interpersonal skills. They also suggest a clear need for the ability to think strategically. CPD Update has in the past suggested that the leader of CPD should have an understanding of the part played by evidence in the professional lives of colleagues and be able to offer support for action research. It is likely that such skills will dovetail with those needed for mentoring and coaching.
Q6 What should be the relationship between the leader of CPD and other colleagues who hold specific responsibilities?
We have heard a lot from government and the TDA about the requirement for some teachers to take more responsibility for their own and others’ CPD. It is also clear that teacher learning reviews within performance management will involve a number of colleagues. Exactly how this will take shape in each school is not certain. In addition, many schools already have staff that act as mentors to students training to become teachers and increasingly there are schools with staff acting as verifiers for the GTCE’s Teacher Learning Academy. It seems best, therefore, to try to describe and set out these relationships within the CPD policy and to take into account the guidance available on mentoring and coaching.
Q7 What about the CPD of the leader of CPD?
A leader of CPD who selflessly provides for and supports others without nourishing the inner professional self might lose motivation and become out of date. It will be important to ensure that this is not an area to be neglected.
It is unlikely that you won’t be able to think up some more questions for yourself (particularly to do with pay perhaps) so we will stop the list here.
Earlier this year Paul Williamson wrote about a week in his life as CPD coordinator. CPD Update drew the conclusion that policy makers at national level would benefit from insight into the actual, daily professional life of someone doing a job like this that makes such varied demands upon time, resources and patience. It would be very interesting to hear from you on this topic. It would also be very interesting to know how many people carry out this role without any definition, description or support.