CPD at West Earlham Junior School

3 June 2018

We were recently lucky enough to meet and talk to Helen Edwards, Deputy Headteacher at West Earlham Junior School, about their approach to CPD. Helen writes about it here. We previously featured a blog post by one of her colleagues about using the Parkrun to motivate pupils and engage parents and carers here.

In primary phase, it’s quite unusual, in my experience, for schools to have a named person to take responsibility for Continuing Professional Development who isn’t the head teacher. But CPD is a high priority at West Earlham Junior School. Our Head Teacher reflected this by creating my role, a key part of which is to act as CPD lead.

For the last few years, we have been participating in Lesson Study. Teachers and HLTAs are put into groups of three, (which change every two terms, to increase the amount of communication across staff). Together they select an inquiry question to investigate linked to a given SIDP priority, plan a lesson, teach the lesson and review it. They have the chance to do this three times over a term, and for each lesson that is taught, an hour out of class is given to read, research, plan and review. Finally all staff come together to share their learning and developments in their work. Whilst highly effective in creating a culture of discussing practise, it is highly demanding of time, cover and human resources to make it possible for all three staff to be out together. We use a combination of external supply and in house cover to make it work and staff really appreciate the time given to this.

We found out about Lesson Study from the Teacher Development Trust Network. This has proved a rich resource. They have carried out two audits of our CPD (we were recently awarded the Silver award) and I am participating in the Leading CPD course, which has been part of my own professional development. I am also able, as an out – of-class Deputy Head to spend a considerable amount of time working with teaching staff. I do this in a variety of ways – spending time in the classrooms, team teaching, offering feedback and opportunities to discuss the lesson, as well as working with teachers during their PPA as an additional voice in the planning and assessment process. In addition, teachers come to me with their individual aspects of their practise that they want support with. I don’t offer myself as a paragon of experience and answers, more as somebody to discuss, coach and try things out with.

Our key message from the audits has been that we need to put just as much effort into the professional development of support staff as we do for teachers, so we have more recently started training sessions after school focussing on various different aspects that have been identified by the staff themselves or SLT as needing work. In addition, to collect more evidence, I have begun sending out a termly online survey asking staff for their reflections on the CPD that term.

As well as appointing someone with a specific oversight over CPD, there has been heavy investment in terms of time and finances. Each aspect of the SIDP has links to the training that will need to be carried out. Performance Management targets include, for each person, a target linked to a whole school development priority as well as a personal development priority, based on something observed in class, or something that the member of staff wants to work on. Weekly staff meetings are exclusively about CPD themes, mainly developing subject knowledge, and give middle leaders a chance to develop their skills of training others.

We are open to staff pursuing their interests if they can show us how it will work for the school too. We are really lucky that the governors and head teacher choose to prioritise CPD because it means that staff are constantly developing and learning. There is no time for being complacent at WEJS!

Posted on 3 June 2018
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