Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

A chain reaction?


I read recently that continuing professional development is most effective where senior leaders see it as a logical chain of procedures and fully understand the connections between each link. I have recently taken over responsibility for CPD. How do I set about the task - especially on a limited budget?

First and foremost, CPD must be a conscious and integral part of your strategic planning. In this way you have a chance of managing staff development efficiently and effectively. Performance management, departmental reviews, the self-evaluation form (SEF) and the development plan should all link together; you should also look to identify the individual needs of staff alongside the school's needs.

Resources for CPD are always going to be insufficient, but if you are very clear about development priorities, you are better able to argue for funding.

If you store identified CPD needs in a database, you can quickly identify CPD at a number of levels. Commercial programmes exist to support the task.

Be as wide-ranging as you can in defining CPD - share good practice within the school/college as well as going outside. Coaching and mentoring are very effective forms of CPD for both 'giver' and 'receiver'. Also, are you using the benefits of workforce reform to support the development of the whole workforce?

In the end, how do you know that CPD has been effective? If you are clear about the purpose of CPD from the outset, you have a far better chance of evaluating its impact and value for money.

Finally, to develop further, look out for details of ASCL's national one-day conferences on CPD in June in London and Birmingham.

Keith Cox is an Assistant Headteacher in West Yorkshire. He is on ASCL Council and represents ASCL on the TDA's National Reference Group.

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