When was the last time you did some CPD that was targeted to your personal needs as a teacher?

Especially if you’re past your first few years of teaching it may be a long time! Research from Marketing Advice for Schools in 2018 found that only 11% of UK schools offered personal teacher CPD budgets with the rest offering whole school or team training(1).

Research also backs up the common-sense assumption that generic CPD is less likely to lead to improvements in teaching and learning. Research by Edurio in 2019 found that 19% of teachers have ‘no confidence’ that their school leadership understand the professional challenges they are facing, and a similar number are only ‘slightly confident’(2).

Many of those present in a whole-school INSET session will already be aware of the ideas being proposed and may have implemented them already – for others a new teaching and learning technique might be irrelevant because they have more basic development needs such as behaviour management. And it’s very hard to quantify the impact of advice or training across different departments or year groups given all the other changes and innovations happening in a school.


19% of teachers have ‘no confidence’ that their school leadership understand the professional challenges they are facing, and a similar number are only ‘slightly confident

 So, what can you do to get the training you need? Here are five cost-effective ideas for you and your school to consider…

1. Letting teams and individuals within schools choose their CPD

The Teacher Development Trust is clear that ‘teachers are more likely to improve when their experience, needs and their vision of pupils’ success are taken into account during development processes’(3). Department, pastoral and other teams within schools often have clear understanding of where they would like to develop – but even being asked will improve engagement with the process.

2. Providing support for external CPD

An increasing amount of high-quality CPD is offered outside schools – through events such as researchED or SouthernRocks(4) or through subject associations such as the ASE (for Science)(5) or Geographical Association(6). Many schools offer support now for these by paying for travel or cover costs in return for delegates sharing their findings internally – could your school benefit this way?

3. Subscribing to online courses

Online training is a huge growth area, set to reach $325 billion by 2025 according to one report. There is therefore a huge amount of content for teachers available. Some excellent content is free – check out Future Learn for example(7), while other training providers such as Optimus Education(8) have a subscription model that allows schools to access a huge amount of useful training.

4. Engaging with the latest research

One of the huge benefits of the new Chartered College of Teaching(9) is the access it offers to the latest research – action research from schools reported in the College’s magazine Impact as well as academic research which you can access via a deal with the University of Bristol. Just having one member from your school gives access to a huge amount of useful material to circulate and discuss.

5. Creating your own CPD through lesson observations

The most personal forms of CPD are surely direct feedback on your own lessons and the chance to observe your peers teaching your classes. We’ve written about the concept of Lesson Study in a previous blog, but at ONVU Learning we’re taking this to a higher level. At schools that have a number of our camera systems, teachers come together regularly in teams to share actual lesson footage and highlight areas for advice.

If you’d like to explore the potential of 360-degree video observation for enhanced and personal CPD, please get in touch on Twitter.

Next week we’ll be talking about “How to use video observation to enhance CPD”. Don’t miss a thing, sign up for our newsletter!

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The School of the Future Guide is aimed at helping school leaders and teachers make informed choices when designing the learning environments of the future using existing and upcoming technologies, as they seek to prepare children for the rest of the 21st century – the result is a more efficient and competitive school.

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