CPD for Primary and Secondary School Teachers

CPD for Primary and Secondary School Teachers

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30th December 21

The teaching profession is built around learning and knowledge. Teachers are challenged to not just pass on information but instil a genuine sense of understanding in their pupils or students. It’s a challenging yet rewarding job. However, in order to stay motivated and capable of delivering the best possible lessons, teachers need teaching too.

Continuing Professional Development (or CPD) is essential to remaining a competent, effective, and innovative educator. That applies to all teachers, whether you’re primary, secondary or a university lecturer.

Setting time aside to invest in your own learning can help to reinvigorate your career or even take it in a new and unexpected direction. The importance of CPD for teachers can’t be understated – hence its emphasis during appraisals. Essentially your school sees the value in your personal development, so you should too.

Fortunately, there is a huge amount of choice when it comes to CPD courses for teachers. So, you’ll have no trouble finding a CPD training programme that can meet your personal and professional requirements.

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Why is CPD Important for Teachers?

Any Headteacher worth their salt fully sees the importance of CPD accreditation and the value in their teachers investing in themselves. It improves teaching outcomes, improves grades and enriches the schools as a whole.

However, most primary and secondary schools only allocate around 0.5% of their budget to CPD certification. A survey of 20,000 teachers indicated that their schools had zero budget for CPD. Budget cuts and time constraints add up and it can create an environment in which personal development gets put (eternally) on the back burner.

This can lead to burnout and stale teaching practices, not to mention poor student achievement. CPD training is essential to both primary and secondary teachers to build learning strategies, develop interaction skills and develop specialist knowledge to support children.

The investment in yourself in this way can help with motivation, confidence and renew your commitment to teaching. The skills you learn can introduce you to entirely new ways of teaching, pastoral care and ways of engaging students with their learning.

As CPD training is available in many different formats, covering a host of different subjects, there is a course available to meet almost any personal development goal, which is essentially the point. It is designed to help you continually improve in your career, improve the quality of your teaching and foster excellence among your pupils or students.

It will also allow you to develop your confidence and presentation skills as you can present back what you’ve learned to your colleagues. In this way everyone benefits from your investment.

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What is CPD for Teachers?

CPD courses for teachers are designed to give you the tools you need to deliver your lessons as effectively as possible in an increasingly challenging environment. Education is constantly changing either through political or social pressures so keeping pace with best practices and leading-edge teaching methods is key.

The Department for Education (DfE) doesn’t actually outline any specific requirement for content, duration or method for any of the Teacher CPD programmes the school adopts. It is up to each school to determine what qualifies as CPD for teachers and how to implement it.

Some schools may decide to administrate this at the department level – allow department heads to identify with their team what courses would be beneficial. In other schools this is handled by a dedicated CPD training co-ordinator. Either way, the school has quite a lot of autonomy when it comes to defining CPD meaning.

The DfE, however, are clear that personal development of teachers must be a partnership between teachers, headteachers and leadership teams. They outline a set of criteria to measure the success of this collaboration:

  • CPD training should focus on improving and evaluating pupil outcomes
  • Your CPD training should be underpinned by robust evidence and expertise
  • It should include collaboration and expert challenge
  • Development programmes should be sustained over time
  • Professional development must be prioritised by school leadership

Ofsted has a similar definition, stating that CPD courses should be “aligned with the curriculum, and the extent to which this develops teachers’ content knowledge and teaching content knowledge over time, so that they are able to deliver better teaching for pupils.”

In other words, CPD accreditation should help to make you a better Teacher, which is pretty reasonable considering the objective of any training course is to make you better at something.

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What Counts as CPD for Teachers?

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) section of the UK National Education Union states that CPD for primary and secondary school teachers can incorporate:

  • Training courses and workshops
  • Studying for a qualification or accreditation
  • Online courses/webinars/podcasts
  • Observation and shadowing
  • Mentoring
  • Peer group exchanges
  • Attending exhibitions and conferences
  • International exchanges
  • Self-reflection, personal reading or research

For CPD training to be effective, it has to be:

  • Evidence-based – what research underpins the training?
  • Practical – how can you apply what you’ve learned?
  • Affordable – budgets are tight so you need to spend the school’s money responsibly
  • Enjoyable – it has to be worth your time not only from a practical standpoint, but you need to have found the experience valuable too

It’s not always easy to find a course that ticks all the boxes, not least because a lot of CPD providers are in it for the money, rather than to produce something of value. This can be frustrating for teachers and Senior Leadership Teams alike as schools can’t afford to waste money on CPD courses that won’t provide value.

For this reason, it’s always advised to check the CPD course provider is accredited in some way. Reputable distance learning providers like learndirect have to jump through the same hoops as schools do when it comes to their courses. So, they’re a good place to start.

What CPD Courses for Primary and Secondary Teachers Need to Provide

When planning your CPD accreditation, you need to ensure that any CPD course you take will be effective and add value to you and the school. Before enrolling on to any CPD course you should consider the following to ensure it’s going to deliver on its promises:

Identified Need – Does it meet an identified requirement or school objective? If the CPD course description is vague and woolly then chances are the course will be the same

Relevance – Is it relevant to your learning outcomes or area of specialism? Not every CPD course is going to be suitable, and they shouldn’t be one size fits all. Be discerning so you get the most value out of the experience

Ongoing Learning – Many courses are useful but give you nowhere to go once you’ve finished. The best CPD courses are the ones that encourage you to develop your learning further. Either through additional courses or independent research and learning

Tutor Support – The CPD course providers should provide you with tutor support throughout the course and – ideally – afterwards too

Transferrable Skills – The CPD course material should be easily digestible and transferable. While teaching is a solitary profession at times, schools are at their best when knowledge is shared.

The CPD course should encourage you to share what you’ve learned with your colleagues, as opposed to making sure the whole school has to enrol to get the benefit.

Can You Request CPD?

Schools will generally outline their CPD accreditation policies and make such documentation available to all staff. It will also outline how to request CPD provision.

While your school may have a CPD lead or CPD training co-ordinator, you are within your rights to identify and request a specific CPD course, especially if it relates to an objective set out following your performance review.

To give yourself the best chance of getting your application approved, try to link the CPD course outcomes with the school’s development plan. Or indicate how it will positively impact your teaching and your students. You should also include any research or other evidence that demonstrates the value of the course. Where there is a cost, include that too.

If your chosen CPD course is online, then it is easier to work around time allocated to teaching. Otherwise, you will also have to include the impact of staffing and how you propose to mitigate that.

CPD Core Subjects for Teachers

CPD certification helps teachers keep pace with the current standards, best practices and approaches to teaching. It helps to keep your knowledge and skills current so you can develop better lessons that impact positively on students and pupils.

CPD for teachers can also help you progress in your career as you will have deeper levels of knowledge in your subject or specific elements of student welfare. For example, completing CPD around safeguarding, the impact of abuse and other related courses can help you move into a safeguarding role within your school. You can also train and mentor others in these areas too.

CPD courses help you to refocus on your goals and what you want from your teaching career and where you might be able to improve. Equally, they open you up to new opportunities that you perhaps hadn’t considered before.

If you’re unsure what subjects to focus on, there are a host of CPD courses for teachers relevant to a wide variety of areas in education, many of which are CACHE courses. You can focus on:

Mental Health Support in the Classroom

A number of courses are available that will help you understand the individual needs of students and pupils experiencing different mental health issues and enduring disorders.

Providing Specialist Support

Get the skills to provide direct and effective support for the children and young people of all abilities in your classroom by taking SEN courses UK and those that focus on autism awareness.

Leadership Skills

Learn how to take charge, drive change and handle any situation that comes your way in a school environment by studying courses in communicating performance expectations, leadership styles and qualities and more.

Behavioural Management

You could study behaviour that challenges in children, bullying in schools, courses that explore classroom behaviour or those that focus on managing challenging behaviour effectively.

Time Management

You could improve these skills through a course like using outlook for time management.

Coaching and Motivational Skills

You can gain coaching skills online or learn effective techniques to inspire productivity like motivation by rewards.

Other subject examples of CPD for teachers include revision strategy training, effective teaching assistant use, subject leader training and subject knowledge enhancement.

Study CPD Courses for Teachers Online

CPD training is an essential yet rewarding experience when you find the right course. It allows you to grapple with new information, new skills and new approaches. It also gives you the opportunity to reflect on your career and – through the knowledge you’ve gained – decide what the next steps are.

As such, it’s an empowering and rewarding experience that should be seized upon.

The prevalence of distance learning providers makes CPD courses more accessible too. It also solves the problem of having to be in two places at once. Because study can happen around teaching hours, you don’t have to find cover for your lessons or any of the other headaches taking a day out of school brings.

learndirect is a leading provider of online courses, offering a wide range of online CPD training and teaching and educational courses for teachers. Find out more about the CPD courses for teachers we offer and how they can benefit your teaching career by calling 01202 006 464 to speak to our Course Executives. Alternatively, contact us online or click below to learn more!

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