Kit Field, the chair of the CPD Committee of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) looks at the revised national standards from the point of view of CPD.

CPD is a professional requirement

The latest draft of national standards for teachers at all stages of their career contains an expectation that CPD is undertaken and that, therefore, teachers should be held accountable for their own development.

At the same time, there is a requirement that Ofsted inspection reports include a comment on the extent to which schools provide opportunities for professional development. Performance management procedures are designed in part to identify aspects of a teacher’s performance in need of development and targets should be identified to enable teachers to build on and develop strong aspects of their performance.

There is, therefore, a growing expectation that teachers should continue to develop throughout their careers and that a range of opportunities and frameworks should be made available to enable this to happen.

Hindrances and helpers
On the other hand, the greater part of the funding which can be used for CPD purposes is not ring fenced. The inclusion of CPD requirements and expectations for CPD to be undertaken, and indeed supported, by teachers is, therefore, the responsibility of teachers themselves. Guidance is provided on the creative use of time and the need for much CPD to be work based and involving support in the form of in-house mentoring and coaching is embedded in the standards.

Progression
The nature of a teacher’s engagement with CPD does develop through the ‘scales’. Essentially, a mainscale teacher is expected to be open to mentoring and coaching and to have a capacity for professional learning and development. The potential to be awarded Masters level credits during the postgraduate training period is, therefore, most welcome. PGCE students/trainees will develop an expectation and capacity to develop and learn professionally throughout their careers. Senior/threshold teachers are expected to continue learning and developing but also to be able to support the professional learning of colleagues. Advanced Skills Teachers and Excellent Teachers have the professional learning and development of others at the very core of their work.

Progression through the standards means there is an ever-increasing requirement to play an active role in professional development. A ‘content analysis’ of the latest draft of the standards enables the extraction of all words and phrases related to CPD. These can easily be divided into two categories – content and process.

Content and processes of CPD
It appears that the content fits into a construct well established in the literature. The content of CPD ranges from being informed and kept up to date for practical reasons to developing a capacity to analyse, evaluate, reflect and respond. Each of the expectations contained in the standards can be ranked along this continuum, from practical to reflective.

The processes of CPD are concerned more with the scope of engagement. At the novice end of the spectrum, teachers are expected to focus on their own willingness and capacity to learn and develop professionally, ie to focus on themselves.

At the other extreme, there is an expectation to provide for others and on who can help to identify need and who can deliver CPD, model good practice and coach and mentor others.

The box on the opposite page is an attempt to show how the two continuums relate to each other, with process shown in light blue and content in light grey. The percentages shown represent the extent to which mention is made exclusively of a type of teacher.

It is no surprise that new and mainscale teachers are expected to develop practical skills and to focus on their own performance. Nor is it surprising that teachers classified as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Advanced Skills’ are expected to be analytical, reflective and focused on the development of others.

Analysis
What remains is how one is able to track the route of a teacher from novice to expert. By examining the frequency of expectation to ‘behave’ in a particular way as a professional one can make the assumption that a teacher should move from individual/practical to collective/practical to individual/reflective to collective/reflective.

An analysis of the pedagogy of professional learning might suggest that the route should be different. That is to say, shifting from individual/practical to individual/reflective and then to collective/ practical and finally to collective/reflective makes more sense.

That said, the recommended routes are not so distinctive and are open to different interpretations. A resolution, or at least a reflection, may help CPD leaders in schools consider how best use can be made of teachers as a CPD resource and indeed how the engagement of teachers in CPD will have the desired effect of making them better teachers and mentor/coaches for others.

Conclusions

The value and purposes of CPD are manifold. The EPPI reviews on CPD identify the impact of various forms of CPD and, coupled with the OfSTED surveys and reports, identify the types of CPD activities which lead to positive impact. There is, then, an emerging framework for CPD, which is designed to support school improvement, career development and to raise the profile of teaching as a profession.

One of the appeals of a ‘systems-led’ CPD is that it supports the implementation of new government-led strategies and promotes the use of a wider repertoire of teaching strategies. What is interesting about the national standards is that teachers themselves are encouraged to become the champions of professional learning and, therefore, indirectly promote and support the very strategies which are imposed upon the profession.

Evidence-based practice is, it seems, about generating and disseminating experiences and evaluations of the implementation of policy. It is less about forming and shaping policy in the first place.

This brief article has ended with a truism: CPD leads to better and more respected teachers. The inclusion of a requirement to engage in CPD within the new National Standards is also a blindingly obvious need. It is, however, only now that this professional duty has been considered necessary as an explicit obligation. The CPD community and stakeholders support the establishment of CPD as a core professional function.

The draft national standards

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) has reviewed the professional standards for classroom teachers in order to bring coherence and establish progressive expectations at all levels. It consulted widely in drawing up the draft standards and will in time consult on them. The draft standards can be downloaded from:
here.

Content and processes of CPD in the national standards

A content analysis of the latest draft of the standards enables the extraction of all words and phrases related to CPD. These can be divided into two categories – content and process. Content can be ranged on a continuum from practical to reflective. Process can be ranged on a continuum from individual to collective. The percentages show how much mention is made of a certain type of teacher. It is no surprise that induction and mainscale teachers are mentioned most at the practical/individual end of the spectrum while Excellent and Advanced Skills teachers are mentioned most at the reflective/collective end.

Reflective

Help coaching, mentoring, advise and feedback, provide, demonstrate effective practice, play an effective part in…, deepen knowledge, critical understanding, review practice, research, support development, take a lead, promote innovation, take a leading role, disseminate, evaluate, take responsibility, promote collaboration and teamwork, lead

Induction and Mainscale = 8% Performance Threshold = 22%

Excellent and Advanced Skills = 44%

Monitoring, attainment, reporting, assessment, literacy, innumeracy, ICT, Effectiveness, professional knowledge, environment and climate, subject specialism, practice, skills, CPD needs

Reflective/Collective

Help coaching, mentoring, advise and feedback, provide, demonstrate effective practice, play an effective part in…, deepen knowledge, critical understanding, review practice, research, support development, take a lead, promote innovation, take a leading role, disseminate, evaluate, take responsibility, promote collaboration and teamwork, lead

Induction and Mainscale = 3% Performance Threshold = 22%

Excellent and Advanced Skills = 69%

Behaviour, teaching, career, using support staff, teamwork, curriculum, teaching and learning, pedagogy, cross curricular, policies, change, improve, strategies, well being

Practical/Individual

Updating, open to coaching, open to mentoring, extend knowledge, refine skills, reflect, grow professionally, improve effectiveness, meet development needs, advise, guide, draw on research, contribute to development implementation and evaluation

Induction and Mainscale = 37% Performance Threshold = 50%

Excellent and Advanced Skills = 12%

Monitoring, attainment, reporting, assessment, literacy, innumeracy, ICT, effectiveness, professional knowledge, environment and climate, subject specialism, practice, skills, CPD needs

Practical/Collective

Updating, open to coaching, open to mentoring, extend knowledge, refine skills, reflect, grow professionally, improve effectiveness, meet development needs, advise, guide, draw on research, contribute to development implementation and evaluation

Induction and Mainscale = 8% Performance Threshold = 33%

Excellent and Advanced Skills = 58%

Behaviour, teaching, career, using support staff, teamwork, curriculum, teaching and learning, pedagogy, cross curricular, policies, change, improve, strategies, well being

Editor’s comment: making the connections

It is always helpful when someone provides you with some perspective from which to look at something that is about to have a considerable influence upon the way that you work. Others are doing this as well. CPD Update has learned that Lord Adonis, under-secretary of state for schools, is very alert to the possibilities of linking developments such as chartered science teacher to the national standards.

This is not surprising as earlier this year Ruth Kelly made it clear in her letter to the TDA that she saw the standards as key to the implementation of much of government education policy. I expect no change to this after her replacement by Alan Johnson.

It would help, though, if all the guidance material supposed to support the use of the revised standards was with leaders of CPD in plenty of time before the start of the next academic year. That is not likely. The delay is now approaching three months.

Ad hoc alliances and initiatives
It would also help if someone, somewhere, was maintaining an oversight of how the revised standards, the national strategies, NCSL programmes, the TLA, PPD and the work of the Subject Associations might look if they were presented as a wiring diagram designed to support the professional learning of teachers and others.

There are probably too many ad hoc alliances and initiatives that get in each other’s way and make the life of the leader of professional leadership more confusing than it needs to be. On the other hand, I don’t suppose a rigid set of relationships would be welcome either!

So, here is a task that you might find stimulating after a long day at work and a long evening preparing for yet another long day to follow. Draw up something like a wiring diagram for all the different initiatives (like the ones I mention above) you can think of (colour coded of course) and show how they can be made to work coherently to support the professional learning of your colleagues. CPD Update can offer a full-page spread for the best. And, who knows, Lord Adonis might be grateful.

Meanwhile, thanks to Kit Field for his useful insights and also for emphasising the value of CPD.

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