March 2014

The know zone

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  • Ensuring complete representation
    From time to time ASCL Council co-opts members from groups that are under-represented to ensure that the views of all types of members are taken into consideration when debating policy. More
  • ASCL PD events
    Whole School Leadership of Teaching and Learning, Student Voice Beyond Student Councils, and Strategic Behavioural Management that Works More
  • Analyse this...
    What systems, processes and people do you need to help your staff develop their skills and their careers? Sue Bull and Vicky Bishop explain. More
  • Virtually University
    Virtually University (VU) links schools and colleges with universities via videoconferencing to help inform and inspire students with their HE choices More
  • Adding value
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  • Poisoned chalice?
    Schools Minister David Laws recently announced a new programme to encourage ‘outstanding’ heads and school leaders to move into schools in challenging circumstances. Would you be willing to take on the challenge? Here, ASCL members share their views. More
  • Leaders' surgery
    The antidote to common leadership conundrums... More
  • Take Care?
    No matter the intention, what you call it or how you present it to students, Personal, Social, Citizenship and Health Education (PSCH More
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What systems, processes and people do you need to help your staff develop their skills and their careers? Sue Bull and Vicky Bishop explain.

Analyse this...

The ability to carry out robust needs’ analysis in order to identify training requirements will enable leaders to plan development and to develop their staff effectively’. Needs’ analysis can take many forms and can be done at the level of an institution, a department or an individual. Overseeing the process can provide leaders with invaluable information about the support and learning needs of the whole school.

So what constitutes an effective needs’ analysis?

The first question to ask is: Who is responsible for driving continuing professional development (CPD) in school or college? The role that this person plays in the CPD planning cycle is critical.

Does he/she know the CPD needs from individual staff through departments or is there a clear and coherent planning cycle and application process for CPD in the school? And is this the same for teaching and non-teaching staff?

Are personal development objectives for staff discussed with their line managers? Collecting CPD needs’ information can be through a formal process, such as performance management, but are there clearly defined links to the school’s CPD policy?

Carrying out a regular audit of needs with staff can provide a huge range of information and help with the planning of CPD programmes for the whole school staff. When planning a CPD programme, consider the following:

  • Are your staff encouraged to identify their CPD needs?
  • Is the CPD they engage in relevant to their current role and to their career aspirations?
  • Do staff carefully consider the appropriateness of the objectives and intended outcomes of CPD when applying for development activities?
  • Is there a variety of CPD opportunities available to staff, such as face-to-face, internal, external mentoring/ coaching, and action research?

Needs can also be assessed informally, through regular discussion and feedback with staff. Particularly important is the ability of staff to be encouraged and able to reflect on, share and disseminate outcomes of CPD they have engaged in or attended as this can often give rise to the identification of further needs.

The evaluation and effects of CPD they have been involved in should also be used to inform future planning. Are the effects of the CPD evaluated? If so how? Can the outcomes of CPD be measured at an individual, departmental, whole-school or student level?

Of course, the most difficult question is: When do the results show themselves? Is it immediate or later, once assimilated? Those responsible for CPD planning in schools should therefore plan for and support the evaluation of the CPD that their staff engage in.

Our approach to needs’ analysis

For all of our events we ask on the evaluation form: What further professional development or support would be most helpful to you now? How can ASCL Professional Development help?

This information is collected and analysed in order to provide information that feeds into our programme planning cycle. We would always encourage participants to complete our evaluation process, as this can determine the direction of the programme.

At our events, ASCL staff regularly discuss with participants what they think, not only about the specific event they are attending but CPD needs generally. A new introduction to our evaluation process for 2014 is a post-PD follow-up. Initially, for a sample of participants in our courses, conferences and consultancies, we will be asking what results of the CPD have evidenced themselves in terms of their work, their school and students. This information will be collected up to a term after attending the event.

ASCL PD’s link to members is through the new Professional Development Officer, Vicky Bishop, Principal of Sir Christopher Hatton Academy in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. Vicky will perform a vital role in gathering data relating to CPD needs from the wider ASCL membership.

You can contact Vicky via the professional development office if there is something you would like our CPD programme to cover.

Sue Bull is ASCL’s Director of Professional Development. Vicky Bishop is ASCL’s Professional Development Officer and a member of ASCL Council.