Improving learner outcomes

Effective teacher CPD and how to get it right

Maria Buttuller

Author Maria Buttuller

Date 27th Jan 2020


When we think of continuing professional development (CPD), it’s often the one-off training courses that first spring to mind, but effective professional development is so much more than something that is delivered to teachers. As the DfE’s Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development  explains, "effective professional development for teachers is a core part of securing effective teaching".

Here we discuss exactly what effective CPD looks like, why it’s important and how to choose the right type of development for your school.

What is teacher CPD?

CPD is a process of recording and reflecting on learning and development; it’s basically a record of what teacher’s learn, experience, learn and then apply. According to the standards for teachers’ professional development, teacher CPD needs to:

  1. Be focused on improving and evaluating pupil outcomes
  2. Be underpinned by robust evidence and expertise
  3. Include collaboration and expert challenge
  4. Be sustained over time
  5. Be prioritised by leadership


Why is CPD important?

CPD helps teachers to manage their own development on an ongoing basis. It should not be a tick-box document recording the training they have completed. CPD should help teachers:  

  • Ensure they keep pace with the current standards in education
  • Keep their knowledge and skills current so they can deliver high-quality teaching and impact positively on pupil outcomes
  • Help them advance in their career and move into new positions where they can lead, manage, influence, coach and mentor others
  • Open them up to new knowledge and skills
  • Lead to increased confidence in themselves, others and the teaching profession as a whole


How to choose the right type of CPD

When you’re sifting through CPD options, asking the following questions will help you to gauge whether what you are choosing is likely to give the best results:

Clear outcomes: Is the information about the outcomes clearly stated? Does it include the skills and practical strategies learned by participants and the intended effect on the pupils in the classroom?

Relevant and targeted: Is it carefully pitched to meet the needs of specific groups of teachers? Does it meet your staff development needs? Does it match what’s been outlined as areas for development?

Expertly informed: Has it been created by expert practitioners in the education field? How highly regarded are these experts among peers?

Highly engaging: Does it sound engaging for participants? Does it include interactive elements, case studies, practical strategies and actively promote collaboration with peers?

High-impact: Is there evidence that it has an impact on the skill levels of teachers and the learning of pupils? Can its success in transforming practice be measured?

Follow up: Is it ‘one off’, or is the training sustained over time? Can the learning be revisited as and when needed? The standard “one-day training” is all too familiar. Most of the time, effective professional learning requires input beyond a single session.

How OLT can help:

OLT has been supporting teachers to develop their knowledge and skills since 2008, enabling them to meet the individual needs of learners in their own classrooms, and we're delighted to see the principles underpinning our courses reflected in the current DfE standards.

Each of our courses provides an understanding of a specific SEN, plus we use real life case studies, expert content, engaging animations, practical assessment ideas and intervention strategies that can be used immediately.

Our supported online courses enable our participants to set clear outcomes for pupils they support and improve and evaluate outcomes through pre and post evaluations and SMART goal setting. Courses are also CPD certified for 20 hours learning. 

Talk to us today about how we can help support your school and find out more about our range of supported online courses.







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