The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Elizabeth Holmes

‘A chance to develop and learn from the best’

The Teacher Development Trust is developing a compelling vision for teacher-led professional learning based on evidence, collaboration and entitlement. Elizabeth Holmes uncovers more about what the organisation is proposing via its annual report.

‘Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise.’ Horace

If there’s one thing you do towards your CPD this week, read the 2014 annual report from the Teacher Development Trust (TDT). Whether you’re committed to CPD yourself or have responsibilities for encouraging CPD in others, this gem will inform, educate and inspire. The TDT is a national charity seeking to create ‘effective professional development in schools’. Now in its third year, its successes to date include a distinct raising of awareness about the need for excellent-quality CPD and what that might look like, as well as deepening our understanding of what stands in the way of effective CPD. The importance of professional learning is beyond question. As the TDT report states: ‘Not only is great development disproportionately beneficial to disadvantaged students while engaging and supporting all young people more effectively; it also improves teacher morale, retention and enthusiasm.’

‘Utterly relevant’

David Weston David Weston

David Weston, chief executive and founder of the TDT and all-round champion for excellence in CPD, is keen for the organisation to be utterly relevant for each and every teacher. ‘We’re interested in determining why schools make the choices they make regarding CPD,’ he explains. ‘We can help to support those processes in three key ways: through our blogs and publications on what is great CPD; through the Good CPD Guide, our ‘Trip Advisor’ for CPD; and through our National Teacher Enquiry Network, a partnership of schools and colleges which are developing evidence-informed professional learning – a chance to develop and learn from the best.’ Great CPD – the kind that has a demonstrable impact on morale, teaching and learning – has a tough job to achieve. As David explains, it must change awareness of ideas and innovations, alter practice and thinking, inspire the embedding of new practice, and anchor the question: how do I improve what I do? Transformative CPD is collaborative, sustained over a period of time, and develops increasing awareness of what happens when children learn. Top-down, unsystematic CPD no longer serves and the TDT is successfully transforming attitudes. The annual report includes the TDT’s suggestions for what the government should do to support the creation of a system which prioritises CPD and in which teachers are fully engaged. This includes the funding of a national database of leading practice and a national communication drive to promote the findings from professional learning research, among others. The TDT also urges the government to prepare for a future entitlement to professional learning.

Banishing the barriers to effective CPD

However, research by the TDT has shown that CPD is limited in several significant ways. There are insufficient mechanisms to source external CPD; teachers’ individual needs can be sidelined by top-down decision-making; and accountability measures such as Ofsted and league tables exert unhelpful pressures, as do financial restrictions. Without banishing these barriers to effective CPD, the TDT warns that professional learning is likely to remain limited. The solution? The TDT’s three clear policy suggestions for what professional learning might look like in 10 years:

  1. Teachers engaged in CPD in order to help each young person they teach to succeed to the full.
  2. School leaders prioritising professional learning in order to help children succeed.
  3. Every school within a national network of professional learning.

To find out just how these recommendations might be achieved you’ll need to read the report. Suffice to say that the TDT has gifted the profession a clear focus and vision for professional learning and the government a timely nudge and effective guidance on how we might achieve this vision. I, for one, am extremely grateful.

Find out more…

 

Subscribe to Optimus Education's Blog

Join other educators and get the latest Optimus blogs direct to your inbox.
Your data is safe with us: Privacy Policy

Similar Posts

Damian Moore

'One happy family': sharing an emotional vocabulary

At the Holy Family School, designated provision for ASC gives parents and students alike the opportunity to talk emotions. The one group of parents that are likely to visit their children’s secondary school as much as they did their primary are the parents of pupils with SEND. This is the case at...
Read more...
Matthew Burgess

What does Brexit mean for international students?

As the UK prepares to leave the EU and Brexit negotiations continue, Matthew Burgess looks at the impact on international students. Brexit is likely to have multiple effects on those parts of the UK's education sector that welcome students from beyond these shores. What are these effects and why do...
Read more...
Lisa Griffin

MATs Summit 2017: four phases of school improvement

‘School improvement is strongest when schools work together.' Lisa Griffin reports back from the first day of our multi-academy trust event. Sir David Carter sets out his vision for the future of school improvement School improvement was the theme of the day as the third annual MATs Summit kicked...
Read more...