Effective CPD Provision


By Guest Writer
on 29 May, 2016

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Summary of CUREE’s CPD research

The Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) has re-published its Evaluation of CPD Report for School Leaders this month.

Although it is based on research of provision in 2011, it offers sound advice for schools about how to choose CPD, and where it stands in relation to the evidence base on effective CPD. The research has benchmarked CPD against four key elements: needs analysis; the impact of the CPD on children’s outcomes; collaborative approaches; and reflective practice. It is disappointing that most CPD in schools stays at informing/influencing practice with only 10% going beyond into embedding and transforming practice.

Although most CPD provision has collaboration in place during the training event itself, very little was evident back in school. It is activities such as action research projects, having at least two colleagues trained at a time, and establishing mentors that really take practice to embedded and transforming development.

Reflective practice in the main was evident but needed much more depth than was found in the sample studied. When CPD failed to provide a deep understanding of why and how things work, the level of adoption remains only surface level.

The impact of the CPD on children’s outcomes was not evident in the research. Although there is a high level of generic references to school context and learners, only 16% of providers delivered CPD that was capable of embedding practice, for example by asking delegates to consider what they would do in their context. Least developed of all is needs analysis by training providers.

But don’t let these reported low levels of the impact of CPD put you off, there are some good ideas in this report which will support you to provide or commission the most effective CPD and this summarised checklist might also support you.

Planning effective CPD

  • Probe providers (whether in-house or not) on content and the learning processes, particularly in the four areas discussed in the CUREE report: needs analysis; the impact of the CPD on learner outcomes; collaborative approaches; and reflective practice
  • Explore how providers will support and encourage collaboration in school once they’ve gone? Ask them how both of you can provide for peer support
  • When your staff return from CPD do you ask them to make connections between their changing practice and their learners? Are there examples of CPD that your staff have experienced where there have been useful activities and resources for explaining impacts on learners which you could use more widely?
  • Do you make links between your staff development needs and the selection process for CPD? Do you explicitly match CPD with identified needs in performance reviews?
  • Do your colleagues return from CPD able to explain the theory and underlying rationale for the practice that they have been introduced to? Do you provide dissemination opportunities where your staff can be briefed by their colleagues?

Authored by Jane Sowerby

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