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Strategies for Innovative Teacher CPD: Insights from a Teaching School

We caught up with Teaching School Director, Jennifer Murphy to find out more about the approach that Wade Deacon Trust takes towards teacher CPD.

What does collaboration look like in your Teacher CPD Strategy?

JM: Collaboration has proved really important for us as we have developed as a Teaching School, a Multi-Academy Trust and as a National Support School. We work with partners across all phases and are finding that the school led system can be very powerful. A prime example is where our FE colleagues have visited some of our primary schools to understand the foundations and building blocks of how teaching and learning takes place at that level – with some excellent examples of pedagogy that can be transferred to the FE sector. We have a strategic board which additionally includes our HE provider and LA colleagues and so we are constantly focused on the local priorities and how we can address those through local CPD provision, sharing best practice or through more formal qualifications.

How have you developed subject specific networks?

JM: These network meetings are becoming so powerful. We started with small groups of subject leaders and primary leaders meeting from our Trust schools. Through our relationships with our LA and other Multi-Academy Trusts, we have extended those meetings to colleagues outside of our own alliance, so that we can share best practice. This has also led to cross moderation, collaborative planning and assessment and sharing of resources. The network meetings have a long way to go, but already practitioners are able to articulate the benefits of collaborative working.

Does your organisation offer National Professional Qualifications?

JM: We have a very strong relationship with the Best Practice Network and the Outstanding Leaders Partnership and through this collaboration, we have been able to extend our CPD provision to include their accredited programmes. In addition to this, we have also been able to train facilitators for these programmes, which offers a unique professional development opportunity and following on from this, we will be training NPQ moderators. Through the NPQ funding opportunities that have been on offer for the schools in our region, we have been able to access significant amounts of CPD at no cost, to support the development of our leaders of today and tomorrow.

What aspects of Teacher CPD have you found most beneficial?

JM: Our CPD journey in school has changed over the years. We have offered mostly weekly CPD in a plethora of topics, some taken from school priorities, some more fluid based on the outcomes from learning walks and lesson observations. More recently we have moved the CPD to target different career stages, to ensure we offer effective CPD to staff who are just starting their journey and to staff who have been teaching 25+ years. This year we have launched the CPD ship – where staff are focused on research groups.  Groups of staff take part in a small research project of their choice and follow this through the year, culminating in a presentation of their findings at the end of the year. This is proving both popular and useful, with some of the work helping to reenergise staff and encourage them to take risks to improve their teaching and learning.

Read more about workforce development in our Handbook.

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