The Logical Chain: Continuing Professional Development in Effective Schools

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This report from Ofsted is based on a survey into the impact in schools of the government’s strategy for continuing professional development (CPD). The strategy was introduced in 2001 and subsequently relaunched in 2005. It aims to promote the benefits of CPD, help teachers make the most of the choices available, and build schools’ capacity for effective professional development so that they use effectively the funding delegated to them.

The survey was carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI). Between the summer of 2005 and the spring of 2006, they visited 13 secondary, 14 primary and 2 special schools whose Section 10 inspections had identified good practice in managing and using CPD. The evidence from the HMI survey was supplemented during the same period by evidence from Ofsted’s surveys of National Curriculum subjects in over 130 schools. On these visits, inspectors considered the effectiveness of CPD in the subject they were inspecting.

This report describes the CPD arrangements in the survey schools as a logical chain of procedures which entails identifying school and staff needs, planning to meet those needs, providing varied and relevant activities, involving support staff alongside teachers, monitoring progress and evaluating the impact of the professional development. Overall, CPD was found to be most effective in the schools where the senior managers fully understood the connections between each link in the chain. They recognised the potential of CPD for raising standards and therefore gave it a central role in planning for improvement.

Although senior managers identified their school’s needs systematically and accurately, the identification of individual teachers’ needs was not always so rigorous. As a result, planning for the professional development of individuals was often weak. Few schools evaluated the impact of CPD on teaching and learning successfully, largely because they failed to identify, at the planning stage, its intended outcomes and suitable evaluation methods. Headteachers did not know how to assess the value for money of their CPD policy.

[b]Report contents[/b]:
*Executive summary
*Key findings
*Recommendations
*Identifying the staff’s development needs
*Providing high-quality CPD
*Restructuring the workforce
*Evaluating impact
*The impact of CPD
*Conclusion

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