This week we venture into the realms of CPD policy review and offer practical tips on how to achieve this effectively

Reviewing any kind of school policy is always going to be an ongoing process. While it may seem logical to do this towards the end of an academic year, the sheer number of policies in schools now means that this is simply not feasible. A staggered approach is far more manageable. There is no right or wrong time in the year to review CPD policies. This can be a fruitful exercise at any stage with one or two provisos:

  • the review should be reflective
  • it should involve consultation with staff, senior leadership and governors, and ideally relevant professional associations
  • it should be respected within your school’s community as an important document of importance.

Going back to basics, the Training and Development Agency for Schools suggests that a CPD policy might have the following key features:

  • an introductory section which defines CPD
  • a statement of the school’s principles and philosophy relating to professional development. This should explain why the school regards CPD as being important for its staff
  • the procedures to be followed by staff in deciding on the CPD, evaluating it and disseminating the outcomes to colleagues
  • recognition that teachers should have a contractual entitlement to effective, sustained and relevant professional development throughout their careers.

If you will be starting the process of reviewing your school’s policy on CPD in the near future, here are some practical tips to get you started.

  • Take a look at how you are currently defining CPD. Do you need to expand this definition to take account of new media opportunities?
  • Can you fully identify your school’s key principles with regard to CPD?
  • Are your school’s principles and approach to CPD made crystal clear in your policy? It is so easy for a gulf to emerge between the reality of what happens in schools and the ideal outlined in policy documents. How close is the match between what happens and what you set out to achieve in your policy?
  • Does your CPD policy balance the needs and aspirations of the individual with the needs of the school, and the resources available?
  • Is CPD firmly embedded as part of your school’s annual cycles? This can help you to look back over what has been undertaken and look forward into the future of CPD at your school
  • It’s important to keep records of CPD and to develop personal portfolios of evidence of learning. Reviews of these processes are usefully done at the time of overall policy review. What improvements can be made to ensure effective record keeping over the coming cycle?
  • Do you have enough information to be able to assess the impact of CPD on each individual, on the school and on the outcomes of pupils?

Over to you

Have you recently been through a review process for your school’s CPD policy? What did you learn from the experience that you could pass on to others? What would you do differently in the future? Post your comments below and we may feature you and your school in a future issue of CPD Week.

Find out more

For more detailed guidance on how to go about reviewing your school’s policy on CPD, download a copy of Reviewing your school policy for CPD from the TDA website free of charge.

For twelve essential headings for a CPD policy click here.

Next steps for school support staff

Support staff in England have grown in number over the last ten years from 136,500 to 305,500 . This has le d to an obvious need for their voices to be heard more clearly in connection wi th all kinds of issues. . To help meet this need the Department for Children, Schools and Families has recently announced the establishment of a new body for support staff which will come into force next year. This new body will establish a separate negotiating forum for support staff pay and conditions. The forum will be formally launched in September 2008. We will bring you more information when it becomes available.

This e-bulletin issue was first published in October 2007

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes is the author of CPD Week