All UK teachers are required to undergo 30 hours of professional development per year, with some teachers suggesting the value of establishing a National Teaching Institute to ensure high-quality, regulated continuing professional development and training within the industry.
Undeniably, CPD in education is important. Surveys conducted by Manchester Metropolitan University revealed that many teachers thought ‘CPD had directly enhanced their promotion prospects’. Even more sceptical respondents acknowledged the value of accredited CPD courses to current and potential employers.
In a profession that focuses on learning and knowledge, it is all too important for teachers to set aside time for continuing professional development – CPD.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) section of the UK National Education Union states that CPD for teachers can incorporate:
There is also a high degree of choice available regarding professional development, enabling teachers to tailor their CPD to areas in which they feel they need to improve, areas suggested by fellow staff members or areas of general interest.
Curiously in a sector where knowledge, learning and development is of paramount significance, the value of CPD in education has been the source of much controversy.
It is widely recognised that undertaking beneficial CPD for teachers is easier said than done, because long days dedicated to your pupils’ development can mean that it can be difficult to make time for your own.
The same survey by Manchester Metropolitan University revealed that many teachers find CPD to have a negative effect on their work, as it simply represents ‘more plates to juggle’ instead of an opportunity to benefit their career.
Some teachers also described the effect of CPD on their self-confidence as ‘negative’. Only 24% said that CPD had had a ‘very significant impact’ on their professional development.
Bearing this in mind, it is vital to secure CPD that will have a positive impact on your teaching practice, career goals and emotional well-being.
CPD courses for teachers are relevant to a wide variety of areas in education, including:
Online courses, discussion groups and webinars are also available for those whose ability to travel is restricted.
If you are considering a particular course, first check that it is accredited by the UK Continuing Professional Development Service (CPDUK) in order to ensure that the CPD you receive is of the highest possible quality.
Not all CPD need be external. A survey undertaken by IRIS Connect of over 250 teachers indicates that four times as many teachers prefer in-situ classroom-based CPD to external courses.
The same poll also shows that 85% of teachers value teachers sharing best practice is a valuable learning strategy. With this in mind, organising lesson shadowing is a simple, cost-efficient and highly effective internal means of professional development.
The Guardian describes CPD as ‘a gloomy picture in most schools’, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Teachers committed to ongoing self-development who source CPD courses wisely will find the process enjoyable and rewarding.