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Leadership Musings– what should CPD look like?

2014-03-02 18.05.25

Vision and imagination can get you a long way.  These are just some thoughts, not in anyway original, about CPD.  What follows is a blend of ideas from Bay House School, TLAB14 and conversations with others.  There may be some of me in there too. My view is that effective and well focused CPD is the most important factor in moving a school forward.  If it doesn’t make a lot of sense, don’t worry – it’s a thought dump for me to return to.  Not in any particular order.

1. Create the school’s own version of what constitutes a great lesson / learning.  Use this, not Ofsted, to self-assess where teachers are. CPD to be individualised by middle leaders. And before you go ape about measuring teachers, read what I wrote here about using monitoring to develop teaching and learning.  I really think that teachers and school can be trusted to figure it out, and therefore own teaching and learning.

2. Make changes to learning based upon research.  Have a ‘researcher in residence’ to drive, conduct, share and support Action Research and Lesson Study approaches.  Ensure that CPD starts by considering the desired impact on student outcomes. Stop the school from being a political / Ofsted football but basing decisions on sound research on what’s best for young people rather than make decisions that are intended to jump through the relative short-term demands of the latest change to the accountability measures.  Come to think about it, this research would feed into the idea above.

3. Make time for directed CPD by ending lessons early on a day.  The most important resource a school has are its teachers.  Time is needed to develop and embed real change.  I’ve noticed that quite a few teachers I’ve worked with like being told what to do rather the challenged to develop a way that is fit for purpose and works.

4. Ensure there’s time for staff to plan together, share ideas and research and observe each other’s lessons.  Not to judge, but to learn.  People should be in and out of each other’s lessons all the time.  I used to mark and plan whilst other people taught in a room – you pick things up.  I’m yet to enter any classroom and leave without learning something myself.  Drive staff development through a coaching culture, giving time and support to allow it to work.

5. Let CPD ask and tackle hard questions, that are generated by the school.

Where is the student involvement I hear you ask?  Read this and this.  To me, student involvement is just a given. We’re all a mixed ability set of learners.

Anyhow.  War and Peace it ain’t, but I can feel a manifesto brewing…..


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