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Hands off my acronyms

Do you find people who run courses talk in Klingon? Martin Whittaker tries to decode training language

How would you like some CPD?

You mean the human form of mad cow disease? No thanks!

No, no, no. Not CJD - CPD: Continuing Professional Development.

Oh that - yes, please! What exactly is continuing professional development anyway?

Well, Cardiff University's Centre for Lifelong Learning describes it as "a commitment to a structured approach to learning in order to develop the personal qualities, skills and knowledge necessary throughout your working life".

So, it's accumulating skills and knowledge. Can't we call it that?

Not really - just spell it out. ASK. It makes far too much sense. We'll stick with plain old CPD if it's okay with you. Continuing professional development is a buzz phrase at the moment, particularly as the GTCE outlines teachers' entitlement to CPD in its new TPLF.

Now just hold on! Could you run that past me again?

Sorry, that should have read "as the General Teaching Council for England sets out what professional development teachers are entitled to in its new Teachers' Professional Learning Framework." The GTC believes that CPD should be an entitlement throughout teachers' careers, irrespective of where they are based or whether they're part-time or supply teachers.

Thanks to the GTC's advice, many CPD schemes funded by the DfES have become available to teachers, particularly initiatives like EPDs, BPRS and ASTs.

This is getting silly - now I'm completely lost! WHT the BGGRY R. U. TLKNG ABT?

EPD is the Early Professional Development Scheme, BPRS is the Best Practice Research Scholarship and ASTs are Advanced Skills Teachers. Don't you know anything?

Actually when you take the time to decipher it, this does sound rather good. You mean I can go off and get a Best Practice Research Scholarship?

Not exactly. You see, the Best Practice Research Scholarship is being dropped by the DfES from the end of 2004, as they aim to put money for professional development directly into schools.

What about some Early Professional Development?

Er - same story. That only runs until July 2004.

But what about ASTs?

Similar again - the money's going directly to schools, though the AST scheme will continue. Here's what the Government says in defence of its plans. "The Government continues to place a high priority on ASTs and there are sufficient resources "to fund expansion of the AST scheme where this is desired by schools and LEAs".

What do the unions say?

Oddly they seem to disagree. The National Union of Teachers says: "It's a disaster that something which we'd fought for for years - that individual teachers should have an entitlement to professional development as well as schools having a call on their training needs - has now disappeared. As an initiative, it's there one day and goneanother."

Well that's a bit of a blow. Still, you have to look on the bright side - at least it will pave the way for FBA.

And that is?

Fewer Bloody Acronyms!

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