I experienced this idea on a smaller scale at my previous school but the sessions were sporadic and not always well attended. I myself had often been frustrated with numerous INSET days that allowed little time for reflection or development of practical applications.Reading this article from The Guardian on a new vision for professional development I was convinced by a need for schools to move away from a one-size fits all approach and provide a more varied and personalised programme.
When stepping into SLT for the first time in September 2013 my key responsibility was T&L. I strongly felt that the tools to ‘achieve excellence’ lay within our own staff and that increased opportunities to share best practice would support this. I was keen to reorganise the approach to CPD to include more opportunities for staff to develop their own CPD programme. Developing a programme of ‘tea-time tasters’ led by staff, for staff seemed to be fit perfectly.
In September 2013 all staff were surveyed on T&L using Googledocs. The initial idea was that staff would identify their own strengths and areas for development across teaching & learning. The findings were analysed and common key areas for development identified. Myself and members of the Extended SLT put in place a programme of tea-time sessions ranging from ‘Using ICT’ to ‘Showing progress’. We have approached staff to lead sessions and the Lead Learners in each faculty have also played a key role in planning and delivery.
These tea-time sessions have been held monthly and been led by teaching staff either individually or working in pairs. The sessions have proved popular with between 14-30 staff attending after school on average. During these sessions staff have presented research on the theme and then shared practical applications for the classroom. The advantages of this model for me are clear:
- Whole staff regularly contributing to teaching and learning
- A continuous focus on teaching and learning issues
- An opportunity to share best practice
- Staff take ownership of their professional development
This programme will be repeated in 2014-5 with some tweaks. Myself and my senior colleague will work together to identify the areas for development using lesson observation data that has been uploaded to Bluesky education. This bespoke programme of CPD will be further enhanced by the introduction of a coaching offer for all staff and the appointment of 4 Teaching and Learning coaches.
Thanks to Chris Hildrew for inspiring me to write my first blog!