Take the opportunity of the new term to examine your role as CPD coordinator, including what your key professional development focus should be and how to enrich the role as a wholeword-4853140

CPD Week Info Sheet – Cascading Information.doc

Between stimulus and response is the freedom to choose.
Viktor Frankl

Whether you have taken on the role of CPD coordinator for the first time this term or are an old hand at the job, it’s well worth taking a moment to reflect on what you are hoping to achieve, what you consider to be the key focus of the role and how you can be the kind of facilitator who will lead learning in all the right directions. This issue helps you through those reflections and offers ideas for enriching your role and improving outcomes.

Spotlight on the coordinator’s role
Being a professional learning leader or CPD coordinator (however your school chooses to term it) is in many ways a critically important role. While the exact remit of those with that title will naturally vary from school to school, there are core purposes to the role which move it beyond one of mere gate-keeping and towards genuine facilitation of goals for individual members of staff and the school as a whole.

The following points will aid reflection at this stage of the term and academic year and help to make your CPD leadership as strategic as possible:

  • What’s your style of CPD leadership – motivational and ‘out there’, or quietly encouraging when required? Being visionary and affiliative – thriving in working relationships – is more likely to build commitment to professional learning than taking a ‘pacesetting’ approach built on targets and timescales. Professional learning needs to be solid enough to impact on work on the ground and knowing how to discern when less is actually more is will be of greatest value in the long run.
  • Professional learning leadership is ultimately about facilitating engagement in learning. We might assume that anyone involved in education would have a natural affinity for learning themselves but that’s not necessarily the case for a variety of reasons. Acknowledging the ‘sales’ aspect of the role will help to bridge the gap for any staff who are resistant to taking on new learning.
  • The role of cascading information to staff members is crucial and there are numerous ways of achieving this successfully. See this information sheet for the ‘how’, but do always keep in mind the ‘why’ – this is the facilitating dimension of the role.
  • What is the learning culture in your school? Is it possible to discern or is it so individualised that staff members dance to their own personal learning tunes? This is a great place to start when exploring the nature of your role and the potential impact you can have.
  • Does your school operate any form of distributed leadership? If so, can you borrow from any existing models for distributed leadership for CPD?
  • How anchored in performance management, professional standards for school staff and your school’s development plan for the coming year is your CPD planning? Build on cross-referencing, making links and connections, but don’t allow this to restrict in any way.
  • What do you consider to be a risk in your role as professional learning leader? What are the consequences of taking that risk? In what ways can your work be pushed beyond its current boundaries?

Find out more

  • This information sheet explores ways of cascading information to staff members so that everyone is kept informed about professional learning opportunities and CPD remains at the top of your school’s priorities.
  • If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of the strategic leadership of CPD in your school, take a look at the online unit created by the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services and the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA). Participants on Leadership Pathways can complete it as one of their online units and it is also a core unit for the TDA’s local authority-taught and Masters-level programmes as part of the national training and development programme for CPD leadership. See http://www.nationalcollege.org.uk/leadershippathways-cpd

This e-bulletin issue was first published in September 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.