This issue is about encouraging staff to review what they have learned during the Autumn term, in order to help embed this learning in their practicepdf-9797125

CPD Week Info Sheet – End of term review.pdf

Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.
Henry L Doherty

Time to pause and reflect is essential for our effectiveness, and the end of the Autumn term is a great time to take that all-important step back. This week, we explore how to make the most of this exercise in looking for learning so that the new term kicks off with purpose.

CPD Update is taking a break from this week, but will be back in the Spring term. May I take this opportunity to wish you all a fun festive season and a very happy New Year!

Looking for learning – an end-of-term review
There’s no doubt that life in school, regardless of your role on the staff, is incredibly busy. That’s why taking time to identify the professional and personal learning you have achieved is such an essential part of anchoring that learning in your practice. Making explicit what’s implicit is what it’s all about! These ideas will help in developing that mindset in the staff you work with:

  • Encourage staff to acknowledge their learning from the term (this info sheet will help this process). Can they track progress from the start of term to the present? Where were they in September? Where are they now? What took them there? What helped? What hindered? What would they like regarding professional learning for the next term?
  • What new approaches to CPD did your school take this term? Is it too early to assess their effectiveness? What were the big successes? Were there any disappointments or surprises?
  • How clearly is professional learning linked to your school’s development plan? Has it been possible to discern the impact that professional learning has made so far on school development?
  • What about pupil progress – can you start to identify the ways in which professional learning may be impacting that?
  • Have you had an Ofsted inspection this term? In the post-inspection relief (regardless of outcome), did your school reflect on lessons learned and any highlighted areas of excellence and expertise which might be utilised in developing others on the staff? How can outstanding features of work in your school be disseminated effectively? If you haven’t had a chance to do this yet, make sure you do at some stage before the next term gets well and truly underway.
  • How well do you think staff have balanced subject-specific development with more generic, school-wide development (such as assessment for learning and behaviour)? Is the emphasis as it should be?
  • What has the last term taught you about the strategic planning for professional learning in your school? Have any needs emerged regarding resources and staff attitudes?
  • What has been your greatest success regarding professional and personal learning this term? What contributed to making it so successful?

Regardless of how many of these themes you choose to take up in your own reflections or those of your team, the key message is that they needn’t take long at all. Just a few minutes of formal acknowledgement can be enough to glean the kind of results which lead to positive outcomes for staff and students. That’s minimal cost for maximum benefit!

This e-bulletin issue was first published in December 2009

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.