By staff for staff – a simple and effective model of CPD

Tonight’s ukedchat prompted me to think about a really powerful model of professional development we introduced at my last school.   The school was in special measures when I took up the post of headteacher (my first – I figured there was only one way to go!) We came out of the category early and I was keen to keep up the impetus that saw us make such rapid gains in a short space of time.   We got involved in a project around thinking skills with a neighbouring school and this gave us a strong focus as we moved forward however it was the summer research project that I want to talk about here.

The Deputy and I felt that getting staff to engage in a short piece of research would be a great idea and hugely benefit staff individually and collectively.   We knew from observations and discussions, and the range of information we had from HMI the individual strengths and weaknesses of teachers so we looked at a range of books, journals and online support to find something bespoke to each teachers current needs.   We then met with each of them individually and agreed their personal area of research.   We collapsed some inset days to give time for everyone to work on their project; they read articles, discussed their research and we bought them each a book on their chosen area.   We asked that when they returned after the summer break they give a presentation on their research.   The first staff meeting in the September was given over to our first ‘researcher’ to share for 10 minutes their findings – it was as simple and straightforward as that.

We didn’t ask for handouts, or insist on presentations but to our delight that first staff meeting contained both.   It set the scene for the following few weeks of staff meetings when, one by one each teacher shared their findings in similar ways.   We covered a range of areas in those sessions and really developed professionally in that first half term.   Did the research have lasting impact? I believe it helped staff as practitioners and benefitted the children in the classrooms.   It also increased professional dialogue as teachers who hadn’t really engaged in a high level of educational discourse suddenly felt empowered to do so.  This approach to CPD really helped the school move forward, it was a powerful model that was very simple to execute and had a lasting impact on the practice of all involved.  What more could you ask for?


About smichael920

Headteacher of a large primary school in North West England. Helping me to blur the distinction between work and home, I am also father of five, covering most phases of education thus giving me the lowdown from within and without. Education is about enjoying today and preparing for tomorrow. This can't be done using the tools of the past. View all posts by smichael920

5 responses to “By staff for staff – a simple and effective model of CPD

  • Mr. Mitchell

    This sounds really interesting! How much input did you as a SLT give staff as to the subjects they researched? Did they have input? I could imagine this being successful at Heathfield. We have a young keen staff that would like this sort of opportunity. I’ll share this with Dianne!


    • smichael920

      Hi David

      We were pretty clear as to their areas of research as they were more or less dictated by issues identified through the HMI visits. If I did this again ( and I’m kern to at some point) I’d certainly link it to PM/school issues and personal choice where possible. It certainly hut the mark and did just what we hoped it would but obviously the more choice you’re able to give staff the more ownership and buy in you’d hope to get. Be good to talk more about this when we next meet.

      Sent from my iPhone

  • Kevin McLaughlin

    We are doing something very similar in our own school and like yours no one is expected to give out handouts or a presentation about their research although I expect many of us will. Our first feedback session will be during this term.

    • smichael920

      Thanks for the feedback Kevin. I hope your project is successful. We certainly gained a lot from it. If I can be of any help please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      Sent from my iPhone

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