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Five key components of any successful school CPD plan

“Effective teaching requires considerable knowledge and skill, which should be developed as teachers’ careers progress”.

And that’s not just coming from us! It is stated in the Department for Education’s Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development document published in 2016.

Quality Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teaching staff is widely recognised as playing a key role in school improvement. We have first-hand experience of seeing how our programme of high-quality and targeted CPD helps to develop schools by developing teachers.

Yet thousands of teachers are working in schools with zero or no budget for providing CPD, and 60% of teachers feel they don’t have enough time and space in their working week to access the CPD they need.

This research paints a negative picture for the future of CPD and its role in attracting and retaining the best teaching talent, as well as the potential impact on attainment and improvement levels for pupils.

So, how can schools and school leaders make sure CPD is effective, supports their school development plan, and delivers meaningful impact?

1 – Explore whether professional development is positioned as part of an on-going development cycle, or as a remedial intervention?

How do you ensure your CPD strategy enables alignment between staff development and the SDP?

2- Explore teachers’ current perceptions of how professional development quantity and quality are balanced

Surveying staff will give you a detailed and honest appraisal of the ‘mood’. Don’t just assume that staff are keen to engage in CPD because it’s good for the school.

3 – Reflect with leaders and teachers about the links between professional learning, pedagogy, pupil progress and their development as people

How would you manage this in your school? What process allows for this reflection to have genuine action and development?

4 – Explore how to make explicit links to the school development plan, plus the teachers’ own development plans

Do you allow time for staff to draft, edit and adapt their development plans whilst making explicit links to the SDP? How are staff encouraged to take ownership of their development plans?

5 – Ensure the professional development is, where possible, part of an ongoing process over time, and incremental.

How many times have we been sent on a standalone course that has no relevance to our personal development or that does not enable follow-on learning? Is there an ongoing strategy plan for each member of staff and their CPD which develops over time, growing and developing?


We are experienced in helping schools assess and develop their plans, and work in partnership with school leaders to identify the best quality and cost-effective CPD courses that delivers real school improvement.

You can explore our range or CPD courses for teachers, or you can contact Iain to arrange a discussion with your SLT to develop a programme of CPD that supports your school development plan.

Throughout December 2020 and January 2021 we are also offering free sessions to discuss your school’s or Trust’s CPD plan and how it supports your SDPs. Click here to arrange your school’s free consultation.