Knowledge Bank - Professional Development

Principles for training and developing staff

I am responsible for training and development in our school. What advice can you give me?

Congratulations! It’s not an easy responsibility to take on. Usually with a limited budget and expected to meet all wishes and needs, you can soon discover you’re spreading resources too thinly. 

Staff should have opportunity annually to have their training and development needs reviewed. These might have been identified through your coaching and mentoring process, through observations or data analysis. At these times there should also be opportunity for staff to indicate if they have any particular development needs they would like to pursue themselves. These might be ones that aren’t as closely linked to your school improvement plan but can be just as important for maintaining staff motivation and enthusiasm. 

It’s not always just about developing practical skills. Developing a personal philosophy of education and deciding what you believe good teaching and learning are about is crucial.  Professor Bill Boyle and Marie Charles look at the issue of having your own philosophy to approach your work in the classroom. 

With the move away from university-based teacher training and more on-site initial training it will become even more important that schools give young teachers the opportunity to visit different settings and work within different partnerships. With the lower profile of the LA, schools might find themselves searching further afield for courses and selecting from different providers for training. Some of these might be other local schools with the development of Teaching Schools in the same model as Teaching Hospitals. 

It’s not only about delivering your training. You must also ensure that the training that staff access is having an impact. Ofsted will expect to see that there is some way of checking on how effective your professional development has been. One article which looks at this issue is ‘What difference does it make?’ by Sara Bubb and Peter Earley. Their article concludes that what is most important is that there is some follow-up to training in school in order to maximise impact. Activities that span a period of time are more likely to be effective than one-offs. 

Planning INSET days can be something of a nightmare. In the article by Sue Kelly she suggests a step-by-step approach to good practice.  

It’s important to remember that it’s not just the teaching staff who need development. Your teaching assistants and support staff should all have professional development opportunities. A training log can help you plan the future training needs of your TAs. Other practical materials for helping plan and record INSET are identified in our library through the links below. 

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