The Training and Development Agency (TDA) is inviting applications for funds to support postgraduate professional development (PPD) programmes.

This funding round will focus on subject knowledge as the priority area and cover the years 2007-10.

For some time now it has been clear that government wished to focus more professional learning upon subject knowledge. It made this quite clear to the TDA when it agreed that its remit be expanded to include CPD.

In the June issue of CPD Update we brought news of the work being done by the TDA and the DfES to encourage subject associations to follow the lead of the Association of Science Educators (ASE) in developing a range of CPD initiatives such as chartered status, professional learning programmes and links with higher education leading to postgraduate accreditation. Many of them had already been moving in that direction.

Partnered working

Another theme of government CPD policy is collaborative or partnered working. This means that applications for PPD funds are much more likely to be successful when they come from groups or consortia that can show, for example, schools, local authorities and higher education institutions working together. And now the TDA is hoping that subject associations and subject advisers may join such groupings.

Programmes must be relevant to primary and secondary teachers and the applications will need to show how they are designed to develop ‘subject knowledge, knowledge of subject pedagogy and curriculum leadership’. There is also an overall set of criteria that must be addressed by all bids.

The TDA does not specify the way in which programmes and modules should be delivered or the kinds of assignments that should be set. It does, however, emphasise the usefulness of classroom-based models of action research.

While it acknowledges that many existing programmes and modules allow teachers to concentrate on many different areas of interest such as SEN, assessment and EAL, it makes the point that for this round of funding it wishes to see more evidence of a subject focus.

The budget available is £2m each year for three years. This is only a small part of the overall PPD budget and is unlikely to cover all of the costs of accredited programmes but it does mean that HE registration fees can be kept low.

The TDA has said that funding is available for all subject areas but that it would especially welcome applications for programmes that focus on science and mathematics. However, it has also said that in the end quality of applications will be the key success criterion.

CPD Update has spoken to the TDA about this bidding round and hopes to produce a more detailed article on the potential of PPD in a future issue.

Because accreditation is involved it might be an idea to contact the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) on tel: 0207 580 8000 or email: [email protected] They should be able to pass on to you contact details of your nearest HEI.

For further information on PPD, click here.

The Training and Development Testbed Project

Since the Training and Development Agency (TDA) acquired responsibility for CPD it has been systematically setting about finding out how continuing professional development in schools can operate in order to take forward government policy. The Testbed Project (previously known by the term ‘Pathfinder’) is an attempt to make sense of the ‘cultural change necessary in order to plan, develop, implement and evaluate a comprehensive training and development approach for the school workforce.’

The TDA is taking a research and development approach to the project, which involves 40 schools. Readers who have looked at the DfES’s Five Year Strategy for Children and Young people (available on the DfES website) will be aware of the intended link between workforce remodelling and the new professionalism. The Testbed Project schools ‘are setting out plans to foster a culture where every member of staff has an effective training and development plan which has the commitment of both the member of staff and the school.’

The project began last year and is scheduled to end in December 2007. We can expect to see an interim report shortly and CPD Update hopes to bring you more details during the autumn.

Meanwhile, it is useful to know that the themes that the TDA expects to see reflected in school CPD plans are as follows:

  • Coherence – in the planning of training and development, that is securing effective links between a school’s improvement plan and training and development plan.
  • Provision and quality of training – for example, greater emphasis on internal rather than external provision of training and development (and implications of this); disseminating, embedding and sustaining effective practice.
  • Impact evaluation – that is, how schools can measure the impact of training and development on individual staff and the contribution training and development makes to school improvement.
  • Performance development – how the needs of particular groups of staff are identified and met; how schools prepare for succession planning; how staff could benefit from new qualification routes and career pathways.
  • A comprehensive approach – how schools aim to meet the needs of hitherto ‘hidden’ groups of staff by, for example, clarifying line management structures, extending performance management to all staff and including all staff in any provision.
  • Curriculum innovation – what are the training and development implications of curriculum change and innovation?

For further information go to:
CPD Update has produced a number of articles about the construction of CPD policies. It might also be worth using the themes listed above as part of a checklist for developing policy.