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Know Thy CPD Impact #SaturdayThunk

“Know thy impact” is the tag line for Visible Learning and the work of Professor John Hattie.  It is a useful mantra for each and every teacher and leader.  Last week I had the pleasure of hosting David Weston CEO of the Teacher Development Trust, at St. Mary’s Catholic Academy, as part of us evaluating our professional development.

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

Two years ago in October 2013 we had our first audit.  We scrapped a Bronze Award and whilst having a number of strengths in some areas I literally mean scrapped by the skin of our teeth.  Time and time again the issue of impact on pupils’ outcomes came back to haunt us.  We had evaluations of a number of our INSET Days but nothing which tracked changes in teachers’ practice 3, 6 or 12 months later and no data at all directly linking any professional development to improved pupil outcomes.  Have you any idea how the professional development you have delivered or paid for this year has impacted? 

Whilst it was clearly an issue for us to address we are not alone in failing to look at the impact of our professional development on improved pupil outcomes.  The quote below is taken from the final page of the Teaching Schools Evaluation Final Report (December 2015) by the National College for Teaching & Leadership:

 “Thus, teaching schools and their alliances can make and have made a marked difference to the sharing of good practice among schools and to enhancing the professional practice of many teachers and school leaders … However, as yet, the lack of measured overall effect on pupils’ academic outcomes within TSAs suggests that caution should be exercised in making claims concerning the potential contribution of the teaching school model to raising attainment in schools across the partnership.”

The first two lines struck me as quite a bold statement given the final sentence.

We are committed to developing our staff with fewer resources over the coming year.  Importantly we also want to limit teachers’ workload so can’t afford to waste time or money on vanity projects or fantasy improvement programmes.  There is a need for us to build on proven practice elsewhere particularly with respect to the design of professional development programmes.  Our first attempt of building on the principles of effective professional development Can We All Teach Like a Champion? #TLaC was based on a Teacher Development Trust commissioned document Developing Great Teaching (2015).

Whilst I haven’t yet seen the report, which will celebrate the good work we are doing as well as giving us some areas to focus on and further our practice, I sense we are in a spreading and embedding phase.  The early adopters are up and running with lesson study and looking at the impact of their leadership decisions but we are not yet consistent.  This is about evolving culture; a systematic approach to the development of staff to benefit pupils.

You can find out more about the Teacher Development Trust CPD Audit process hereCan you afford not to?

#SaturdayThunk is based on something I’ve been thinking about, discussing, working on or has been topical that week.  The thunk is designed to be bite sized and will deliberately be kept short.  It will take one small issue or an aspect of something much bigger.  The intention is for it to be read in two minutes as you’re relaxing or busy running around on your day off.



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