Reducing workload through organisation is a key way for schools to reduce stress on teachers.
When CPD is mentioned, however, it’s hard to think of that directed time reducing workload.
But it really can if it is set up right.
Quick listen: The truth about mental health in schools
Want to know more? Why teacher CPD should be a marathon, not a sprint
CPD has traditionally been a central exercise with all staff involved. More recently, though, there has been a shift towards CPD happening in departments.
Although whole-school meetings are important, schools need to ask whether the training opportunities that they are including in directed time are effective. Wasting people’s time increases workload and can lead to staff becoming disaffected.
Focusing CPD in departments allows teachers to hone their skills in their own context.
Pedagogy not admin
Focusing the time you have for CPD on pedagogy means that teachers get something out of the training (rather than focusing on admin messages).
If it can be emailed, just email it. There’s nothing worse than sitting through admin and then the person says, “Anyway, I’ll just email you all of this.”
If you’re directing teachers’ time, make sure that it is directed in a way that is beneficial for their classroom teaching and students’ learning.
Keep it simple
Too often when it comes to CPD, schools take a scattergun approach and react almost instinctively, sometimes year on year, sometimes month on month.
Having a clear, simple vision means that CPD can be focused, and departments and staff can focus their time accordingly.
If you move the goalposts or introduce too much, people will become overwhelmed and, in turn, the effect of the CPD will become dissipated. Keep new incentives to a minimum and allow staff time to master the ideas.
Moreover, give staff time to evaluate the impact of the CPD on their teaching, giving further opportunity for workload reduction through awareness.
In some institutions, it’s necessary for one person to be in charge of delivering CPD – sometimes there’s no choice. The problem is that this can lead to difficulty in getting everyone to buy in.
If your CPD is to be an effective use of time, you need to ensure that you have shared ownership. The wider the buy in, the more effective the CPD will be when it comes to application.
Encouraging more people to be involved in CPD and giving teachers opportunities to deliver content in turn creates a sense of shared responsibility.
The more that teachers are involved, ironically, the more their workload will reduce, as the effectiveness and efficiency of the whole school will improve.
Time is valuable for all teachers, from NQTs to senior leaders. Make sure their CPD reduces workload and doesn’t add to it.
Adam Riches is a senior leader for teaching and learning, specialist leader in education and head of English. He tweets @TeachMrRiches