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Teachers unite to end weekend CPD 'burden'

Event planned for 2020 inset day to avoid workload and childcare challenges of Saturday conferences

CPD

Event planned for 2020 inset day to avoid workload and childcare challenges of Saturday conferences

A ‘National Teacher Learning Day’ is being held to prevent teachers from having to do continuing professional development in their spare time.

The organisers say they have already got more than 100 schools signed up across five regions for the event, which will take place on an inset day in July 2020.

The day is the brainchild of Debra Kidd, the teacher and author who set up the Northern Rocks education conference in 2013.

Earlier this year, Ms Kidd announced that the 2018 conference – which took place on Saturday – would be the last Northern Rocks, because she was concerned that holding the event on a weekend had created “an additional workload burden” for teachers.

Speaking to Tes, Ms Kidd said that when she set up Northern Rocks, there were "probably about two or three Saturday [CPD] events across the year", and that teachers organising their own CPD "felt really empowering".

"Since then it's absolutely exploded," she said. "Every Saturday, you can see events happening."

As well as contributing to workload, Ms Kidd said she has been contacted by teachers who were disappointed they could not attend weekend events because they had caring responsibilities or were unable to arrange childcare.

The idea behind the new National Teacher Learning Day is that it will happen during the week on an allocated inset day. Events will take place across the country serving a range of needs, such as subject specialist training, SEND, behaviour, research into pedagogy and curriculum, and child psychology.

Events will either be free or low cost, with no event costing more than £40 per person.

Ms Kidd said that "all headteachers have to do is save the date" and "let go a little bit and say 'my staff can choose the events they want'".

She said more than 100 schools have so far signed up across five provisional regions – the East of England, Yorkshire, South West, Midlands and South East Coast. The intention is also to hold similar events in Scotland and Wales.

Ms Kidd said she was speaking to the Chartered College of Teaching and the Teacher Development Trust to try to coordinate efforts. 

Asked whether she would welcome the Department for Education throwing its weight behind the day, she said, "Absolutely."

She also said the day would not cater to a single educational philosophy but would be "completely balanced". Teachers would be able to listen to both proponents of 'progressive' and 'knowledge-rich' education speak according to their own preference, she said.

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