The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) delivered its revised draft of the professional standards for classroom teachers to the secretary of state for education on 7 April, following extensive consultation.

It is intended that the standards will underpin or lever up professional development (see CPD Update, March). The DfES will undertake consultation on the standards in due course. What did not appear on 7 April were the details of how performance management reviews (PMRs) are intended to work. This activity was previously referred to as ‘teaching and learning reviews’, but the abbreviation TLR coincided with the one for ‘teaching and learning responsibilities’ (see CPD Update, April). For the moment the name is PMR but, the DfES tell us, there is no guarantee that this will not change. The reason for the delay is that discussions continue to take place with the Rewards and Incentives Group (RIG) and the Workforce Agreement Monitoring Group (WAMG). As a result of the delay there will be no published material until the summer. As a consequence, if there are any surprises, leaders of CPD will have very little time in which to adjust to them.

Nevertheless, we can form a pretty good idea of how it is intended that discussion relating to standards and professional development will take place. The TDA have re-posted exemplar material for Sencos to illustrate how the new standards are expected to work. If all the exemplar material follows the same format there will be six sections. They will show how to use the national standards to:

  • carry out performance reviews
  • deploy staff effectively
  • recruit
  • inform policy and practice at school level and to evaluate effectiveness
  • inform training
  • inform strategic planning at regional level.

The document is not new and it is likely that CPD leaders will already have access to it.~ Kit Field, the chair of the UCET CPD Committee, recently spoke about the standards to CPD Update. He suggested: 1. Picking out all the CPD words in the standards and listing them in order, showing progression from individual gain to collective benefit. 2. Picking out the supposed outcomes of such CPD and listing them from the practical to the reflective. 3. Devising a matrix linking CPD demands to stages of career.

4. Then considering how you help colleagues move from one quadrant to the next.

If he turns this into an instrument for the use of leaders of CPD we have his promise that readers of CPD Update will be the first to see it.

Learning and Skills Network (LSN) and Key Skills Support Programme

From the end of March 2006 the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) has become two organisations: the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) and the Learning and Skills Network (LSN).

Under the banner of LSN, the Key Skills Support Programme (KSSP) continues to support the delivery and implementation of key skills and Skills for Life within schools, colleges, work-based learning and adult learning. The programme provides the same services, delivered by the same skilled people and supports learners, teachers, trainers and managers by offering:

  • advice and information
  • consultancy
  • training
  • resources.

The website has nine case studies on delivering key skills. The studies say why the centres began delivering key skills; what they do; what issues had to be faced; outcomes for staff and learners; and tips for anyone planning to follow the same route. There are also a number of KSSP development projects involving 42 centres, including schools, colleges, young offenders’ institutions, pupil referral units and adult community education centres. Each project is aiming to develop elements of practice which will help them deliver key skills or Skills for Life more effectively. Case studies together with learning and training materials which result from the projects will be made available on the LSN website at the end of the academic year.

GTCE looks at the needs of small schools

There is now an awareness that teachers in small schools can find it hard to get the professional development they need because of issues such as small numbers of staff and budgetary restraints. On 28 April the General Teaching Council for England held an event entitled ‘Perfectly formed: an event for leaders of small schools’. The purpose of the day was for the GTCE to hear the views and understand the needs of small schools. It provided networking opportunities and highlighted ways to enhance the CPD opportunities of teachers and school leaders.

The links between CPD, the national standards, pay, promotion and the very survival of a school are now becoming very clear. It is often the case that policy makers have in mind a relatively large secondary school when they begin formulate their ideas. In small schools, however, the decision-making structures, professional relationships and access to resources can be very different.