“Having a well-planned, well-implemented, and well-resourced programme of professional development (PD) for staff is one of the most important things a school can do to enhance the learning of its pupils.”
Professor Robert Coe, EEF blog: Maximising professional development, Oct 2022
As a school leader, it is always difficult to prioritise your own professional learning and I always found it hard to find time to keep up to date with current research. So, when I joined Schools Alliance for Excellence, I was delighted to find we had membership to the Chartered College of Teaching (CCT). Like me, you may have already benefitted from accessing CCT’s Impact Journal as well as the regular professional learning webinars. However, it was not until last June that I realised the full potential that the Chartered College for Teaching can offer leaders, teachers and support staff in their professional learning.
One of SAfE’s values and a fundamental principle which underpins all of our professional learning, is that CPD is rooted in evidence informed practice. This chimes with the philosophy and vision of the work of the College and as part of my own professional development, I have undertaken the Chartered College of Teaching course to experience their training and accreditation process at first hand.
This short blog offers a snapshot view of my experience of evidence informed professional learning and accreditation through the CCT. If you are passionate about evidence informed learning, read on and join SAfE’s journey, bridging the research to practice void in 2023 through principled, accredited professional development.
Roxanne Gumbs, January 2023
School Improvement Advisor, Schools Alliance for Excellence
Having not engaged in any type of formal study in many years, I was a little nervous I would be able to keep up with the course, but the self-paced assessment unit is designed to be undertaken flexibly over about three months. The ‘MyPD’ Learning Platform guides you through the course keeping a track of your progress as you access the learning materials. What I loved about the content was the range of different ways you could engage with it and that it is presented with cognitive load in mind. There is expected reading, video content, supporting webinars, further reading suggestions but the part I liked the most were the padlets that allowed you to engage in debate with other professionals and reflect on different key elements of the course. I ear-marked a weekly slot in my diary so I could focus on the course without disruptions.
During the course, you are provided with trustworthy sources to support evidence-informed research, which has widened my scope beyond the Impact Journal and developed a better understanding of how to assess educational claims using critical thinking tools such as thatsaclaim.org/educational.
You then begin exploring key areas of research relating to education such as feedback, how pupils learn, mentoring and developing teachers to put these skills into action. I like the way you could choose areas that are appropriate to your role and context to really get most of the training.
All of this prepares you for the written assessed ‘debate’ at the end of the course. However, you can participate in the course without submitting the assessment. There are four different debate topics to choose from, to cater for specific interests and you can therefore choose one that is most relevant to your practice. I chose to focus my research and debate on ‘How useful is cognitive science for everyday classroom practice?’ This is something I felt quite familiar with, but I hadn’t really considered how the research may have a negative impact on classroom practice and through my research, it has made me reflect on how we present teaching approaches in our professional development to avoid ‘lethal mutations’ when research is put into practice in the classroom (If you want to find out more, please read my written debate response here). At first the word count seemed daunting but I became so engrossed in the research, I found myself editing the final draft to ensure I was within the required limit. You are provided with full assessment guidance as well as example assessment responses. I finally submitted my written debate on the day of the deadline in October and on the last day of the autumn term, I received notification I had passed!
I can highly recommend the Certificate of Evidence of Informed Practice as a foundation for anyone considering the Chartered Teacher accreditation as well as anyone who is keen to engage critically with education research. When you consider the four mechanisms recognised by the EEF review into effective professional development, you can see why the Chartered College of Teaching’s approach is effective and trusted by many educators.
SAfE is working to secure CCT partnership status and our ambition is to offer a 2023 professional learning and leadership programme which provides delegates with the opportunity to evidence their learning.
If you would like to find out more about the Chartered College Certificate of Evidence and their accreditation programme for teachers and leaders, please book your place to join me and colleagues from SAfE and CCT at a free SAfE online introductory session on February 2nd
For more information about the work of the Chartered College, please visit their website; https://chartered.college/