As we begin 2008, what are the essentials for carrying out our responsibilities for professional learning in schools? CPD Week provides the answers

We spoke to the General Teaching Council for England to get the experts’ views on what CPD coordinators might usefully keep track of in the coming weeks and months. We also take a look at issues surrounding the number of teachers leaving the profession to pursue alternative careers. It is with this in mind that we offer some key questions to ask at this stage of the academic year to enable you to launch into 2008 with as clear a direction as possible. We also take a brief look at the proposed curriculum review for primary schools.

Quote of the Week

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right”

Oprah Winfrey

Practical Tips As a leader of professional learning in your school, what will you need to get to grips with this year? The General Teaching Council for England suggests CPD leaders tackle the following issues.

Performance management and the identification of professional development needs

Performance management now includes a requirement to identify teachers’ CPD needs and the actions to be taken to address them. What skills and information will be needed by those carrying out and participating in the performance review process in your school?

Professional standards framework

Ask yourself: How should I be working with and raising awareness of the new professional standards framework? How can the standards be exemplified to support teachers’ development needs in my school? What kind of skills and knowledge should I develop in order to lead professional learning?

Supporting learning locally

Find out or review how local sources of CPD could meet the needs of teachers in your school. Looking within the school, what particular expertise and skills exist and how could they be shared within and beyond the school? Consider how you can promote a school culture that values and promotes professional learning.

Leading learning for the whole school

CPD leaders should be working to ensure that professional development brings together and addresses whole school and national priorities and the needs of individual teachers. That’s a lot to keep track of! It helps to break down learning needs into five core themes of:

  • context
  • specialism
  • leadership
  • pedagogy
  • professionalism.

Sharing and assessing professional development

The key tasks here are to:

  • Work out how to maximise the value of CPD by ensuring that learning is reflected on and shared widely both within and beyond your school
  • Identify the best methods for measuring and evaluating the impact of professional learning for teachers and pupils.

New developments

Aim to keep up to date with new developments in CPD and in education policy as a whole. Make sure you exploit all the resources available, for example:

  • national and local networks
  • subject associations
  • connections with other CPD leaders
  • teachernet
  • the GTC Connect network
  • websites and newsletters from education organisations including DCSF, TDA, NCSL.

Get involved

The GTCE is bringing together a group of CPD leaders from schools and local authorities who will meet three times this year to discuss current and emerging issues for CPD leaders. For more information email [email protected]

This e-bulletin issue was first published in January 2008

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being.