Continuing Professional Development in Education – Creating a sustainable strategy for curriculum and pedagogy

by | Sep 7, 2021 | Curriculum

Growing your own Unique Continuing Professional Development Strategy

Continuing Professional Development in Education

Here at Learning Cultures we are noticing a significant difference in how schools and colleges are thinking about Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for the coming academic year and beyond.

We have always known that the pivotal role in a school or college is that of the middle and the subject leader. They are essential in how they work with the senior leadership team to interpret and translate the curriculum intent. It is their role to communicate the school or college vision into a carefully crafted strategy for successful delivery of a rich and deep curriculum that is taught by outstanding practitioners and leads to measurable and tangible impact for all.

Creating a sustainable strategy for curriculum and pedagogy

Senior leaders in schools and colleges are looking to their middle leadership teams to create the road map for learning that will deliver powerful curriculum outcomes and high-quality pedagogy that is sustainable and cost effective.

The events that have disrupted part of two academic years have given all those who play a part in educating our next generation with pause for thought. It is essential that we do not dwell on the past but look to the future to develop highly innovative strategies that will foster confidence, deepen learning and build the right pedagogy to ensure learners can fill gaps where they exist and use their experiences from their time learning from home.

The Role of the Middle and Subject Leader is Pivotal

OFSTED’s research into curriculum design makes it very clear that the way forward is to build teams that can work together in order to plan for curriculum coherence. The only way to do this is to create a culture where senior, subject and middle leaders work together to plan the curriculum. Senior

Middle and subject leaders need to weave a coherent strategy to create a tapestry of learning

leaders must make sure that those they have appointed to manage the process have the knowledge, skills and resilience to work with their teams to ensure that the curriculum intent can be translated into meaningful outcomes for all learners.

Leaders in schools that prioritise the curriculum make it their business to ensure that the planned curriculum is implemented successfully across a wide range of subjects so that curriculum quality is high.

By doing this, they ensure curriculum coherence………..

OFSTED January 2019 phased research into curriculum design

Building this coherence requires definitive structures that will lead to a consistent strategy that will work across all subjects and to embrace cross-curricular conceptual themes. Those involved need to have the skills to empower, to influence and to manage change.

Continuing professional development for curriculum coherence

There is profound evidence that we as a nation are not particularly good at articulating the nuances that create a curriculum that delivers sequential learning, builds on prior learning and is carefully planned towards clearly defined end points that lead to positive and measurable impact.

Working together through the development of professional learning communities

The Learning Cultures’ curriculum team have the expertise, the outstanding course materials and a wealth of research to support schools and colleges to ensure that their teams have the skills they need to implement a relevant and rich curriculum.

Here are three examples of how we have developed bespoke programmes for individual organisations who want to strengthen their middle leadership teams to support senior leadership and build outstanding teachers and support staff.

An Academy in Nottingham focusing on continuing professional development

An academy in Nottingham asked us to develop a coaching programme for all the staff in the school.

They already have a team of coaches and to save on the cost of the day four of the coaches joined the trainer for a separate online training session to develop their skills in facilitating two of the three groups we were planning to work with.

We then worked with the CPD lead to plan a day where all the staff were together for the first session to focus on goal setting linked to the school vision and intent.

We then worked in three groups, teachers, Teaching Assistants and support staff and SLT/HODs.

We focused on the different roles and how each can play their part in ensuring the school is delivering what it says it wants to achieve. This was an outstanding day; we feel that all the staff are now very clear as to their way forward.

A new school in Manchester using 360 degree reviews and coaching

Professional conversations that challenge all staff to achieve beyond their potential

2) A brand new school in Manchester who will this year have its first full cohort of learners is working with us to develop a coaching model over two years.

In the first year we are conducting 360 degree reviews with senior and middle leaders and then embarking on an opportunity to coach individual managers and leaders to support them in determining their goals for ensuring there is a collective goal for achieving excellence across the whole school.

Following this initial phase, we plan to train the same team in how to use coaching to work closely with their teams to make sure that everyone in the school has the same vision and the skills and resources to deliver it.

360 degree review process. Creating a culture of excellence and improvement

A grammar school in London using blended learning strategies

3) The third example does show the flexibility that we have been able to build into our courses as we have all learnt the power, efficacy and cost effectiveness of online training and communication.

This grammar school in London is embarking on six twilight sessions, three online and three face to face to introduce a coaching model for their senior and middle leaders. several other members of the senior and middle teams are attending some of our other coaching training to complement the group training.

The aim is to develop the coaching skills of the teams to create a culture where professional learning communities can build a consensus on curriculum cohesion, the delivery of outstanding pedagogy and opportunities to evaluate learning and achievement over time.

The future of professional development has to be collaboration, learning through coaching and sharing and cascading good and outstanding practice.

The genie is out of the bottle and won’t go back in. Translating intent into implementation is an essential part of creating an outstanding platform for learning. Intent is not a wish list it is a blue-print for excellence.

Coaching is without a doubt the way forward in the pursuance of change and challenge and successful outcomes for all.

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