Research School Network: Evidence-driven CPD…. The ​‘Golden Thread’ running through the profession

Evidence-driven CPD…. The ​‘Golden Thread’ running through the profession

At her speech launching the Chartered College of Teaching in February, the Secretary of State was explicit in expressing her view of the importance of professional development:

I want CPD to run like a golden thread throughout teachers’ careers, with high-quality, evidence-based development available for all teachers, particularly in our most challenging schools.”

Justine Greening is a chartered accountant. She has trained and qualified into a profession with clear standing and status. Like doctors and lawyers, it is a self-governing profession which polices its own professional standards and sets expectations for professional development. An accountant is always an accountant when she keeps her training and practice up-to-date, and maintains her membership of her professional body.

So it is no surprise that she has a genuine desire to raise the status of teaching as a profession, and is encouraging the new College of Teaching as one way of bringing that about. She has supported the reform of the new National Professional Qualifications as a gold standard, setting a benchmark to lever up standards across all professional development. Teachers must be able to enter the profession as trainees, and then have a clear pathway to follow for their career.

No-one would disagree: so what’s new?

Firstly, we all know the urgency behind recruiting and retaining the very best graduates. Research shows that the Millenials look for two key factors in a career, the chance to make a contribution by doing work of value, and the expectation that they will be in leadership positions within three years. Our programmes need to reflect that.

Secondly, we have the means to facilitate high quality CPD in the form of Teaching Schools. We now have over 700 across the country, formed into thriving alliances. They are facilitating coaching, networks and courses – and they are making a difference.

Thirdly, we have learned a lot more about what works and what does not. Teaching Schools are charged with innovation, but only if it is disciplined and effective. That is why evidence-based practice is so important, and why Research Schools are so timely.

It is practice based in evidence that gives us our right to claim professional status. It is the life-blood of Teaching School Alliances and Research School Networks. It is what raises standards – welcome to the club!

Roger Pope CBE, Chair of the NCTL and Executive Principal Education South West

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