The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

CPD

Maureen Nash

Rethinking, not recruiting: how to make the most of your TAs

Teaching assistants are integral to better learning outcomes, but not always a valued and fully utilised member of staff. According to government statistics , there are 388,000 TAs working in schools in England. This represents a total cost of around £4.4 billion each year . These figures alone...
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Verity Jones

Reducing the distance: are MOOCs the future of CPD?

Out with the old, in with the digital? Verity Jones explains why online platforms for professional learning have become so popular. Schools have to set a limit for the professional development of their staff. Even where they have joined forces to offer Inset days, twilights and the odd TeachMeet-...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Teachers: does your professional learning have purpose?

To guarantee the 'C' in CPD, teachers should always be asking questions of the research they carry out or the training they receive. Karl Bentley is a senior lecturer and programme director for PGCE 7-14 at Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent. After a career in power and control engineering...
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Elizabeth Holmes

'Serious potential': David Weston on the benefits of lesson study

Across the country, schools are using lesson study to explore the 'what next' of learning. Elizabeth Holmes caught up with David Weston to discuss the growing popularity of this imported approach. The continuing personal and professional development of teachers will always be of the utmost...
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Joanne Miles

The challenges of sustaining joined-up CPD

When coordinating a whole-school development cycle for all staff to get behind, there are several common pitfalls to be aware of. This year I have written online materials and organised workshops for Optimus on the thorny issue of joining up continuing professional development (CPD) cycles with...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND provision: a three-stage plan for school improvement

The 'assess, plan, do, review' model is worth keeping at the centre of any efforts to improve a school's SEND provision. Here's an example of how it can be put into practice. Occasionally I’m asked to visit schools and support them with SEND provision as part of a whole-school review. I don’t do...
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Nickii Messer

SBMs: what do you mean 'it’s difficult'?

School business management is no picnic, but what do we mean when we dismiss a challenge as 'difficult'? I’m constantly wrestling with how school business managers can best equip themselves for the challenges ahead. We know that: budgets will continue to be squeezed maintained schools face...
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Alex Masters

Are you feeling underappreciated? This needs to stop!

Many SBMs have positive relations with their heads. However, others continue to suffer misunderstanding and disrespect. ‘I love my head!’ one SBM told me. ‘He’s at the forefront of education but still cares about every child and every member of staff. A rare breed.’ ‘Mine is amazing!’ another...
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Owen Carter

Quiz: how much do you really know about CPD?

Think you know your stuff about professional development? Can you tell your Hattie from your has-beens? Take the quiz to find out! Developing teachers is one of the most important ways to make an impact on pupils. But getting it right is hard! We're way less effective at developing teachers than we...
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Nickii Messer

Driving change and getting staff on board

One of the most certain things in schools is that nothing remains certain for long! Ensure you are communicating change clearly and effectively. Change happens all the time, and business managers and leaders constantly have to manage not only the change, but the people who are (or think they will...
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