This is the cover of our newly published CPD booklet that sets out our master plan for next year. ‘Continuing’ has somehow morphed into ‘Continual’ which I rather like! I’m thrilled that, after some consultation with parents, governors have approved our new built-in CPD approach. This follows the model used at John Tomsett’s Huntington School in York where, every fortnight, school finishes an hour early and staff have a two-hour CPD session. On that day, all the lessons are 10 minutes shorter, registration and lunch are 5 minutes shorter, so we create an hour spare whilst giving students their normal structure. Combined with the weekly meeting time, we have two golden hours every two weeks to get stuck into some proper professional learning. It’s going to make such a big difference.
This model promises to deliver on several of the findings outlined in the superb report from the Teacher Development Trust Developing Great Teaching. Based on research conducted by TDT, CUREE, the IoE and Durham University, it sets out the key features of effective and ineffective CPD. The need for a rhythm and proper time for CPD is a key finding; time for reflection, to build alignment with teachers’ values and attitudes and to evaluate against student outcomes. If you’re going to do CPD, you might as well do it properly – so that’s what we’re trying to do.
In our model, we’ve carved out 18 of these fortnightly sessions. 12 of them belong to departments. These will be the engine room of school improvement. We recognise that subject-specific pedagogical learning is the most important element of CPD. Each session will include reflection on the previous learning, new input and action planning. Departments have scope to plan these sessions to suit their individual and collective development needs. I suspect that a common feature in the next year will be assessment: moderating and designing assessments to align with all the recent curriculum developments. There will also be scope to explore specific content areas to share and develop subject knowledge. Designing effective two-hour CPD sessions is something we’ll be working on throughout the year. Unlike meetings (which still happen in the alternate weeks), the CPD sessions will focus on professional learning and we’ll be explicit about the need to generate alignment – a process that is missing all too often.
The other 6 half-termly sessions are designed to provide some other strands of CPD that run across departments. Teachers and support staff have to choose one strand to follow for the year.
The 18 sessions are in addition to our five INSET days that each have a specific purpose. In May, one INSET day will include our annual Festival of Learning with a TeachMeet section and market place section. Everyone has to share their learning from the year so far.
The elective strands are outlined here:
Strand 2 is an opportunity to develop behaviour management skills.
Strand 3 will help teachers to deliver structured speech events in class as part of our push on rhetoric and spoken literacy
Strand 4 will provide a forum for us to develop our policy on literacy including reading.
Strand 5 gives an opportunity to develop ideas about e-learning, very much at an early stage at HGS.
Strand 6 is an opportunity to learn more about aspects of SEN provision.
Strand 7 is delivered in partnership with the IoE giving participants the opportunity to undertake action research projects within the school.
All very exciting!
In addition to these strands, we run a comprehensive ITT programme and we’re introducing two new programmes for aspiring middle leaders and aspiring senior leaders. On each of these programmes the participants are allocated a mentor and a bespoke programme is designed for them alongside some additional CPD opportunities. The Senior Leadership programme is illustrated here:
In addition to this, we have a number of CPD opportunities for support staff. They each have specific job roles, often with professional qualifications routes to follow, and that is all included.
Crucially, we need to evaluate all of this and that will be a challenge. Part of the work this year will be to devise effective evaluation tools. When we hosted the NTEN Annual Conference earlier this month, Professor Rob Coe asked this challenging question: “How will your students’ learning be different if your learning has been successful?” That’s going to drive our thinking. Ultimately, it all needs to feed into student outcomes and we need to find ways to measure and evaluate that process.
Many thanks to Adrienne Bottomley, Sara Stafford and Vicky Dale for their work on this, alongside the workshop leaders indicated.