Teaching is a career that actively encourages professional and personal development for its staff. CPD opportunities can range from one-day courses to longer-term MA programmes, with a wide selection available across subject, role and phase. Teachers can also make use of online professional development resources, such as webinars and research, allowing for greater flexibly and freedom in managing their own CPD.

What is CPD?

CPD includes professional training, education and support, all of which contributes to and helps develop teachers’ knowledge and skills. From NQTs to those aspiring to become head teachers, CPD has relevancy at all career stages, and is an essential part of every teacher’s career.

The Government has outlined the relationship between a school’s development plan (SDP) and CPD, with CPD being one of the ways in which schools work to raise standards. Training and development opportunities for teachers typically tie in with a school’s overall performance management and improvement objectives.

 When considering CPD goals, factor in how your professional development can benefit the school as a whole. So how can your CPD help the school to reach its targets.

 CPD isn’t just for teachers, non-teaching staff can also benefit from CPD. Courses and training programmes are regularly available to enhance and develop the skills of support staff, too.

How CPD can benefit your career

Personally and professionally, CPD is said to raise teachers’ self-esteem and confidence in their work. Teachers who are engaged in on-going learning are in a better position to share skills and knowledge with colleagues, which can be motivating and empowering.

 Maintaining an active interest and commitment to professional development helps keep your CV and any job applications you make fresh and relevant, while also showing schools you are motivated to progress and develop as a teacher.

 It is also worth remembering that when you apply for jobs, application forms will ask for evidence of your commitment to CPD. Keep a record of courses and training you have completed, along with further studies and research, which you can reference in your application form and draw-on during your interview.

Government initiatives

Mathematics and physics teachers who have left teaching and are now considering returning to the profession can avail of a range of resources specifically designed to support a smooth transition back into the classroom. Visit the DfE’s website, linked to under the ‘Useful links’ section at the bottom of the page for further information and resources.

The DfE has funded the ‘Quick Start Computing’ project which includes a CPD toolkit for primary and secondary school teachers. The professional development resource aims to help teachers confidently deliver the new computing curriculum.

‘Researchers in Schools’ offers PhD graduates the opportunity to apply for the tailored teacher training and professional development programme (ITTP) with the goal of becoming effective teachers and future subject leaders. The programme allows researchers to continue studying while training by providing time and financial support.

In July 2015, the Government announced that over the next five years, £24 million will be made available to up-skill 15,000 current non-specialist maths and physics teachers. Former teachers who wish to specialise in maths or physics can also apply for the free training. Details of training opportunities are available via the ‘Teacher subject specialism training directory’ document, linked to under the ‘Useful links’ section

Finding CPD opportunities

A good place to start is with the staff notice board. Take a few minutes to read through new courses as they are placed on the board to see if there is anything suitable. You can also talk to your school’s CPD-coordinator or head of department to discuss training opportunities as and when they arise.

Independently, you can become a member of a subject teachers association, e.g. Association of Teachers of Mathematics, PSHE Association, and Computing At School (CAS), to name but a few of the many associations available.

You can also stay up to date with news, professional development and networking opportunities by registering, and attending annual conferences run by your association.

Subject associations offer numerous benefits for members, and with professional resources available in your chosen subject, there is the opportunity to continue learning and developing as a teacher.

You can also stay up to date with news, professional development and networking opportunities by registering, and attending annual conferences run by your association.

Find out more about subject associations by visiting the Council for Subject Association’s website, available under the ‘Useful links’ section at the foot of the page.

Local authorities, exam boards and teachers’ unions also offer CPD and professional learning opportunities, some of which are free to attend. Join mailing lists to stay up to date on what’s available.

Supply teachers can discuss CPD opportunities with their recruitment agency, in addition to looking for appropriate courses through the relevant local authority and teachers’ union.

Those aspiring to become head teachers can find details on the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), the criteria to apply and guidance for applicants. The ‘Tips for NPQH applicants’ document details the approach of successful applicants who were offered a place on the NPQH assessment day.

Useful links and resources

The links below have been referenced in the article as CPD opportunities and resources. They include current Government initiatives which may have deadlines for applying, further details of which can be found on the respective website.

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