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: l Coherence – in the planning of training and development, that is securing effective links between a school’s improvement plan and training and development plan. l 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. l 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. l 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. l 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.

l Curriculum innovation – what are the training and development implications of curriculum change and innovation?

For further information go to: www.tda.gov.uk/upload/resources/doc/t/tda_testbed.doc.
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.

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