December 2015

The know zone

  • Preventative measures
    The new Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a significant responsibility on schools and colleges and leaders need to ensure they have plans in place to help carry out their duty, says Anna Cole. More
  • Outstanding performance
    Expecting parents to show up out of a sense of duty to your open event no longer cuts the mustard. Every classroom has to be an ‘experience’ and the head’s speech must be a show-stopper, says Carl Smith. More
  • Laws of attraction
    The government has pledged to train an extra 17,500 maths and physics teachers over the next five years. Here, ASCL members share their views on what would work best to make this happen. More
  • Leaders' surgery
    Hotline advice expressed here, and in calls to us, is made in good faith to our members. Schools and colleges should always take formal HR or legal advice from their indemnified provider before acting. More
  • Know your options
    Stephen Casey explains the new laws on freedom and choice in pensions and highlights what you can do to boost your pension at retirement. More
  • A common purpose
    Much of the philosophy of ASCL’s Blueprint applies to both independent and state schools so we should join forces to deliver it, says Barbara Stanley. More
  • Quick CPD wins
    Ten top tips to help you plan and refresh your continuing professional development (CPD) curriculum for staff. More
  • Providing direction for the next generation
    Careermap is a leading new website for 16–24 year-old’s looking for a pathway into apprenticeships and early careers. Since its launch earlier this year, the website is rapidly becoming the go-to place for young people seeking new opportunities in all career sectors. More
  • Professional Learning
    When describing your school’s professional learning, how many of these points can you say yes to? More
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Ten top tips to help you plan and refresh your continuing professional development (CPD) curriculum for staff.

Quick CPD wins

1: Performance management – to link or not to link?

Schools and colleges will typically use performance management to help plan their CPD provision. Areas for staff improvement can be identified through the process, as can successes that should be shared more widely. The key here is needs analysis, not only at an individual level but also at the school (or group of schools) level and taking into account the needs of pupils. However it is done, finding out what CPD your staff need in order to drive improvement is crucial to the success of your planned curriculum.

2: Outcomes matter

The outcome of all CPD should concentrate on the impact on learners. However, there may be other outcomes that are important and this should equally be recognised. For example, attending a CPD session on ‘using data better’ may not impact directly on learners but will help those with responsibility for data to be more effective in their role.

3: Supporting all staff

All staff play a role in a successful school or college and providing equal opportunities in CPD for both teaching and non-teaching staff acknowledges this point. Don’t forget that collaboration between teaching and non-teaching staff can reap huge benefits for both groups. Providing joint CPD sessions also enables staff to widen their understanding of the different roles across a school, which can help with communication.

4: Expertise

Whether expertise comes from within your school or college, within your group of schools or externally, it is important to give staff a variety of different perspectives or challenges. It will encourage deeper reflection and is more likely to influence their practice. Engaging in external CPD activity exposes people to fresh, often national expertise that they may not have encountered before.

5: Right time, right place

Consider when and where your CPD curriculum will take place. Do you set aside a particular time? Does the activity always take place in school or does it take place off site or is it a case of being a mix of both? CPD out of school can help focus on specific areas, engage with new ideas and increase motivation.

6: Subject specific

Much CPD activity can be generic and it is worth remembering that subjectspecific CPD should form part of your mixed curriculum. The Sutton Trust report, What makes great teaching? (2014), noted that teachers’ content knowledge and quality of instruction can have a significant impact on learner attainment. Providing opportunities for subject-specific CPD can deepen teachers’ knowledge of the subjects they teach and help them understand how learners think about the content.

7: Working across schools

If you are working in a multi-academy trust (MAT), partnership or alliance, do you plan for joint CPD based on needs? Is there a culture of supportive trust among the group of schools working together that encourages a commitment across the whole group? If so, there will be opportunities for joint practice development (JPD) activities to work collaboratively and learn from one another to improve practice.

8: Dissemination

Think about your structures in school or college. Do you have clear expectations for staff for how they should disseminate what has been learnt through CPD? Is the impact of CPD on learner outcomes known and publicised? When staff want to engage in CPD activity, are they asked about how and to whom they will disseminate and can they identify the potential impact of the CPD?

9: Sharing successes

Personal responsibility for CPD and professional learning is variable between staff and depends on individual motivation and attitude. Build a culture where there is an expectation that individuals will engage in CPD, formal and informal, through their career and where CPD successes can be shared and celebrated.

10: Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate?

CPD activity requires funding and in times of tightening budgets, ensuring that you are getting value for money is important. So how will you measure its impact? Do we know when CPD is actually having an impact or is it a perceived impact? Identify what constitutes value for money and the strategies you will use to measure it.

Stop press! Coming soon

Watch out for our spring term series of three-hour sessions on ‘How to Weather the Financial Storm: Financial planning in a turbulent world, post CSR’. Book your place now at

How ASCL PD can help

ASCL Professional Development can help you review your CPD provision and develop a CPD curriculum for all your staff. It provides a wide range of support from one-day interventions to longer-term programmes, including a wholly bespoke service to match needs. To find out more please contact

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