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Professional development

In Derbyshire we believe that one of the most effective ways to improve learning outcomes for children is to ensure all staff have access to high quality professional development opportunities to remain at the cutting edge of educational provision.

The link between staff continually learning, through training, and improvements in children’s achievement are paramount in ensuring the journey to excellence continues to accelerate across the county.

When successful professional development is effective it is highly likely that educational pedagogy will improve across schools. A range of research evidence is now available to support this view.

As a result the process of improving pedagogy through effective professional development will undoubtedly lead to improved pupil learning, achievement and well-being. Although we continue to provide a high quality professional development programme a growing number of schools are joining together to engage in joint professional development opportunities. This joint approach is something that we continue to promote and support in strengthening all schools across the county.

Effective professional development

Strong leadership

Leaders who promote and participate in professional development ensure it features strongly within school. Strong and effective leaders ensure professional development makes a difference to all personnel, including children, across the school. The most successful schools are those with a strong focus on training and support enabling key personnel to sharpen and refine their skills and expertise

Always begin with the outcome in mind

Start by analysing what pupils need to do to improve their learning and progress and ask "What have I, as the teacher, got to change or learn?2 Decide how the impact will be measured and evaluated using measurable data to support judgements.

Challenge thinking to change practice

Ask "Why is one strategy more effective than another?" Remember 'if you carry out the same action you will inevitably get the same result!' The most powerful professional learning will challenge embedded assumptions and encourage you to develop new thinking, new ideas and new theories.

Is based on assessment of individual and school needs

Be reflective and honest about professional performance. Discuss with colleagues to promote ownership and relevance of professional learning required. 'If you don’t own it then it's not yours' and impact will suffer.

Involves connecting work-based learning and external expertise

CPD is most effective when it is linked and applied to classroom practice. Hypothesising, experimenting and reviewing with a professional colleague are important. Use external expertise to support school-led and school-focused work.

Learning opportunities are varied and sustainable

Ensure appropriate timescales are planned – sustained and intensive will yield more success than brief and sporadic

Uses action research and enquiry as key tools 

Positively engaging with and using research will help to improve practice. Developing structured collaborative partnerships between schools and with researchers increases your involvement in and with the use of research.

Collaborative learning and joint practice development 

One of the most powerful ways to improve professional expertise and skills is to work with and learn from others within and between schools. Mutual engagement allows sharing of existing challenges but more importantly constructs new ways of working. Is there a school or a colleague in another school who you would like to work with?

Create professional learning communities within and between schools

Collaborative professional learning communities ensure that professional development occurs within sustainable learning cultures and environments. If focused on improving learning outcomes, you can develop and integrate new learning into existing practice.

Primary and secondary NQTs and mentors

Information about NQT conference and further training opportunities for NQTs can be found using the course search.

Feedback from NQTs has been very positive, particularly commenting that it was good to be able to access a personalised programme of training from a programme of high quality workshops