Introducing the Tes Institute draft CPD standards

Introducing the Tes Institute draft CPD standards

Putting the new DfE Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development in context

Most teachers have a love-hate relationship with continuing professional development (CPD) and it’s often because they feel unsatisfied with existing CPD methods. We all know professional development for teachers is important and when it’s well delivered and thought out it can be inspiring, energising and impactful. But we regularly hear dissatisfied teachers’ complaints that the training isn’t relevant or personalised enough, and that CPD is a time consuming box ticking exercise.

Arguably, the frustration around CPD training is caused by a lack of formal guidance on what good CPD looks like. This makes it extremely difficult for schools and teachers to identify and pick good high quality CPD that’s relevant for individual needs and career progression. The good news is that, thanks to the excellent work that David Weston and the Teachers’ Professional Development Expert Group have been doing, there is now a strong, shared definition for effective CPD. These standards focus on the quality of CPD, but by design don’t focus on linking CPD specifically to the specific needs that education professionals face at different stages of their careers, and in different roles.

With little to no formal guidance available on how teachers can, and should, use professional development, we’ve created our own draft set of teacher CPD standards within a progressive framework. We’ll be using these standards within our own course development and delivery, but our standards are designed to help any teachers and schools to identify knowledge gaps and plot relevant CPD learning to ensure individualised development and progression. These standards will dovetail with the new Department for Education (DfE) Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development, providing a training based framework for effective professional development.

What are the Tes Institute CPD standards for teachers?

Created as a set of non-compulsory national guidelines, our continuing professional development for teachers standards define a minimum level of practice expected of teachers and support staff at different stages of their career. The standards cover:

  • High level teaching assistants (HLTA)
  • Newly qualified teachers (NQT)
  • Early career teachers
  • Middle leaders
  • Senior leaders
  • Instructors

The standards can be used in a range of settings including schools, academies, special schools, independent schools and further education.

The aim of our CPD standards for teachers

One of the big bugbears among teachers is how to evidence CPD training and ensure that it’s recognised and valued by their school. Our standards enable teachers and schools to recognise, value and publicise the impactful professional development that is ongoing as part of their existing day-to-day roles and responsibilities. The standards offer a national framework that schools and teachers can use to standardise CPD training to ensure that no matter how large or small the development, it’s plotted against the standards, recognised and valued.

The framework provides a supportive and progressive approach that allows professional development pathways and suggested CPD learning to be visualised, planned and executed for the benefit of learners. It encourages CPD learning that enables practitioners from all contexts and subjects – creative, physical and more formal – to develop and demonstrate their professional knowledge, as well as to measure the impact of this on pupil’s learning through a variety of measures and evidence, not just examination outcomes.

Why have we developed the standards framework?

For professional development to have impact, teachers need to be able to reflect on their classroom and the learning occurring within it, as well as identifying areas for development that can lead to improvement. We also know that professional development opportunities that are carefully designed and have a strong focus on pupil outcomes have a significant impact on pupils’ achievement (Developing Great Teaching Report, The Teachers Development Trust). But what many teachers don’t know is how they should use good quality professional development to progress and develop their teaching and what specific CPD is required for particular roles and stages of their career.

Our standards are design to help teachers pick the right CPD for them and to provide guidance on what they will be expected to be able to demonstrate and evidence to meet the standards at each stage and progress.

How did we develop our teacher professional development standards?

We’ve been working with senior school professional development leaders and headteachers to create, pilot and refine our CPD standards framework to ensure it is relevant for the full range of school roles and contexts and that they fill a gap in the current system, providing a cohesive structure that schools can use to focus the professional development of their staff from High Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA) to leading practitioners.

The Tes Institute Advisory Board, overseeing the development of the standards, includes senior colleagues and lead practitioners from schools, further education and higher education institutions, and CPD trusts, working together to ensure sector-wide functionality, progression and durability.

We’ve also been working in consultation with the Expert Subject Advisory Group (ESAG) and the standards embody the principles set out in their rationale ‘The issues and principles to consider in establishing and maintaining National Professional Teaching Standards’ (ESAG 2015, Revised 2016), which aims to secure the optimum educational achievement and well-being of all learners. These principles include a focus on valuing teachers and the work they do and encouraging teachers to take responsibility for developing their own professional knowledge, skills and practice through promoting reflection, collaboration, inspirational curiosity and creativity.

How do the standards work?

The standards framework is designed to help identify gaps in knowledge or skills, define next step targets, and suggest CPD learning to support development and close the gaps. Evidence of progress should be seen through the impact on pupils’ learning and through a full range of supporting evidence – including case studies, teaching resources, personal reflections, examples of pupils’ work, plans and schemes of work, digital forums and collaboration. 

The framework allows schools to match effective professional development to individual teachers and practitioners, as well as providing overall cohesion across the school. Teachers can work with school staff to develop strategic approaches to professional development that dovetail with the whole school improvement focus.

Compiling individual, phase, departmental or whole school mapping will provide a clear overall picture of status, gaps and next step targets across the school so a coherent and cohesive CPD plan can be devised. Schools could work together to identify strengths and gaps, and then target areas for improvement collaboratively.

We’re currently developing exemplar models and building partnerships to ensure that practice is evidence-based. One of these partnerships is with The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), who will be using the framework to demonstrate effective CPD to teachers throughout their career.

Example 1: Standard Tes Institute CPD framework  

Our standard CPD framework includes a complete picture across the career progression ladder within a school and further education context, for easy identification of skills and knowledge gaps and next step targets.

Below are two examples of where the framework has been used to plot CPD learning to support on-going development for an early career teacher and a primary teacher.

Example 2: Early career teacher example

This example illustrates how an early career teacher can use ou r framework to plot their own strengths and areas for professional development against the standards.

Example 3: Primary teacher example

This example illustrates how a primary teacher holding a TLR 1 has identified targets and learning episodes in a needs driven approach to professional development, balancing both their own development needs and their School Improvement Plan.

Piloting our CPD standards framework for teachers

Currently four schools are piloting their continuing professional development against our new standards and framework. We’re expecting feedback by the end of the calendar year on how effective they’ve been in providing a more structured professional and learning journey.

Schools taking part in the pilot include:

  • Writtle Junior School, Chelmsford
  • Highlands Primary School , Ilford
  • Roding Valley High School, Loughton
  • St Clere’s Cooperative Academy Trust, Stanford-le-Hope

These schools are focused on a variety of needs driven professional development journeys including accelerating progress in reading, safeguarding, assessment for learning, effective use of Google classroom and aspects within leading from the middle.

New Department for Education standards for CPD

The Department for Education (DfE) has recognised that there are no formal guidelines for CPD providers or schools that identify what high quality CPD looks like or how providers should be developing it.

In order to address this the DfE published a Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development report on 12th July 2016 that provides a clear description of what makes effective professional development, ineffective practice and expectations among teachers, schools and providers. In particular they clarify what effective CPD for teachers in the early years of their career should be, as recommended in the recently published Framework of core content for ITT report. The Tes Institute CPD Standards framework supports the progress of NQTs and early career teachers as well as strengthening the link between ITT and effective professional development.

The DfE standards are non-compulsory, with schools continuing to define their own approach to professional development, according to their own needs. However, teachers and schools can tie their chosen continuing professional development to the Tes Institute standards framework to identify gaps and areas for development in order to progress.

We want your feedback

Your thoughts and feedback are extremely important to us. Send us your feedback on our proposed continuing professional development standards framework for teachers and how they might be used in your school or context.

To view the example and leave your comments, click here.

Online peer-to-peer CPD courses

If you’re looking for engaging online CPD training click here and take a look at our award-winning continuing professional development courses. They’re designed to help teachers and school staff to up-skill and become confident in new teaching concepts and areas of the curriculum.

Covering innovative teaching techniques, practices and resources, these flexible, 100% online CPD courses encourage peer-to-peer learning and allow teachers to fit CPD around their existing school and personal commitments.

We’ve partnered with the best educators and institutions so that teachers can learn from high quality tutors, but the most important learning happens in discussions with the other teachers on the course. For more information, click here.