5 Simple Steps to Effective CPD

How ready is your staff training for September?

With the summer holidays close by and exams over, now is the perfect time for you and your staff reflect on your training sessions and to use the information to identify your starting point for next year. Following these simple ‘5 steps to planning effective CPD’, you will be sure to hit the ground running in September with confidence.

Step 1- Know your audience

Before you break up, organise a short feedback session enabling staff to comment on ‘what went well’ and ‘even better if’ based on your in-school training from this year.

Tip: With 4 weeks to go this is an ideal time to ask staff to reflect on how they have moved forward this year and in what areas would they like to develop further? What new skills have they tried this year? What worked and what didn’t? In what ways have middle leaders gained confidence and where is the evidence?

Your session could include:

  • Speed dating – staff sharing how they have moved forward followed by
  • Group work – mixed subject groups review WWW/EBI for one area of training or teaching standard
  • Personal Pledge – 3 things I want to improve in my classroom/ leadership role next year (and take these in to inform you)

Step 2 – Build on this year’s foundations

Make sure your CPD programme in September builds on current skills from this year and doesn’t just begin afresh. In your training for the next academic year, plan to refer back to this year’s sessions.

Tip: For example, send your staff cohort email challenges to keep ideas from this year alive and begin your sessions with starter activities to remind staff of the good work they have already done. If you don’t remind your audience of the training sessions they have already attended, the likelihood is they will be forgotten and the impact of your hard work will be lost.

Your session could include:

  • In order for staff to value your CPD, prepare NOW how you will make links between the skills covered this academic year and those you are planning to cover in the next academic year. Keep a log of what session outcomes were most successful that you want to remind staff of them again.
  • Asking staff to write down the impact of their training on one side of A4 and take ‘facebook’ style photos of them to use in training sessions next year .

Step 3- Thank staff for this year’s input

End the summer term on a high and thank staff for their input into your CPD sessions … verbally and with cake! Perhaps ask your cohort to summarise the best 3 strategies they have used in an engaging lesson this year based on one of your training sessions. Keep the summarised cards and use them next year in a sharing good practice speed dating session, handing back people’s best techniques to remind them of their successes as the dark nights draw in once again, even just as a technique to warm people up.

Step 4- Know your impact

When planning your Autumn term sessions, always make sure your CPD has a clear outcome that will influence classroom practice the very next day.

Tip: End sessions with staff telling a colleague HOW they will apply the training tomorrow! Keep this thought at the forefront of your planning: if staff don’t leave with something they can use or plan to implement immediately in the classroom or with their teams, your session may lose its value.

Step 5- Think in cycles

Never view training sessions as isolated ideas. Always think about how one session builds on another and how the end of a session can be used to start the next one. We want our staff to retain skills and strategies from our sessions, much like we want our students to retain knowledge from lessons. This means revisiting discussion points/ debates/ ideas/ strategies many months later to keep the skills/ techniques and strategies alive and eventually embedded.         Tip: You could use audio recordings to record what your staff want and type up or play the quotes in your presentations during the course of the year as you address areas that your staff have requested. Let them see their thoughts are valued.


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