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Career pathways uncovered

There's a new map to help you plot your way through the labyrinth of continuing professional development. Jill Parkin navigates.

Teachers and schools wondering what development and training can do for them now have a user-friendly map, in the shape of the newly launched Teachers' Professional Learning Framework. It's a guide for schools and teachers at all stages of their careers, whether they are newly qualified, fast-trackers, management-bound or in their 31st year in the classroom.

The aim is to help teachers and schools plan their development by using policies, audits of what is available and performance review. The framework provides a map of training and access to every opportunity. It shows how CPD can be less isolated and more collaborative.

The framework - which will be sent to all schools and teachers - can be used:

* by team leaders and teachers to aid performance review;

* to create individual learning plans;

* to create development plans for teams, departments or schools;

* to consolidate experience and answer the question 'What next?'

Underpinning the framework is the intention that teachers should be able to identify their own needs for continuing professional development (CPD). Teachers need the opportunity to:

* be given time to learn;

* build learning into everyday practice;

* be aware of their learning needs;

* develop a learning plan and record;

* develop mentoring and modelling;

* keep up a dialogue with colleagues about learning.

Those are the fine words, but the framework intends to butter the parsnips too. CPD means more than being allowed the occasional awayday on a course. It can take many forms, and teachers are encouraged to:

* observe colleagues and talk to staff from other schools;

* share practice with teachers from other schools;

lself evaluate and peer review;

* analyse pupil feedback;

* use distance and web-based learning and higher education courses;

* use National College for School Leadership programmes;

* take secondments and sabbaticals.

The framework aims to improve links between teachers and specialist subject associations and between teachers and higher education providers.

It envisages online communities, both national and international, as well as a mixture of school-based, network and HE-based learning. The idea is that teachers should have time to reflect and test their classroom practice against their own experience and the latest evidence.

The GTC would like to hear your views.

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