Teachers need more than ‘stale and irrelevant’ professional development, experts warn

New government guidance says school leaders must prioritise teachers’ CPD

School leaders should prioritise teachers’ professional development and should make sure this work is focused on evaluating and improving pupils’ outcomes, according to new government guidance.

The guidance, published today by the Department for Education, is based on the recommendations of an expert group chaired by David Weston, chief executive of the Teacher Development Trust. It was tasked by ministers with producing a new standard for teachers’ professional development.

The group warned in a letter to schools minister Nick Gibb that although there were “pockets” of excellent teacher development across the country, some was “narrow” and made up of “stale, irrelevant and one-off events”.

“[Teachers] need readier access to evidence and expertise to allow them to make informed decisions about their professional development,” the letter to Mr Gibb said. “They need clear opportunities to develop their careers and be recognised for greater knowledge and expertise.”

Five rules for CPD

In response, Mr Gibb has today published the new guidance, which says professional development for teachers should follow a new standard based on five rules:

  1. It should focus on improving and evaluating pupils’ outcomes
  2. It should be underpinned by robust evidence and expertise
  3. It should include collaboration and expert challenge
  4. Programmes should be sustained over time
  5. Professional development must be prioritised by school leadership

In a letter to Mr Weston, Mr Gibb said: “Every teacher deserves access to high-quality and purposeful development opportunities throughout their career. We hope that this new standard for teachers’ professional development will play a major role in ensuring that this becomes a reality for all teachers in all our schools.”

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