Give the troops a training tonic

21st March 2003 at 00:00
Ray Tarleton explains how you can involve all your staff in CPD

* Encourage a research culture in your school.

* Energise your performance management by allowing cross-curricular and peer-led classroom observations to feed into team leaders' annual reviews.

* Integrate initial teacher training and CPD.

* Remember that practising teachers are often the best trainers. There is a wealth of expertise to be shared through advanced skills teachers.

* New technology is transforming teaching and learning: some of our ASTs are at the forefront of developing work with ICT, digital cameras, audio systems and visualisation projects. They are breaking cross-curricular barriers. Commission them to research, plan and lead a training day.

* Look on the internet to see research taking place in a local networked learning community. Lots of teacher research is being carried out that is well worth sharing.

* There are opportunities within the National College for School Leadership to do research into leadership styles, e-learning and innovation. Heads owe it to their schools to get involved.

* Use your headteacher or LEA network to identify good practice locally.

Encourage staff to share local initiatives.

* Agree exchanges with other schools. A head of a strong department in one school can provide long-term mentoring for a less successful department in another. A small honorarium by the supported school can secure high-quality training. This is an excellent career development for the "expert" head of department.

* Assess the quality of external courses against the needs of staff to ensure value for money. Courses have proliferated as providers have realised that there is a market.

* Measure the teacher benefits of supply cover against the loss of learning to the children and the disruption to the school.

* For the cost of sending a teacher on a course, consider booking a trainer to deliver training to a department or group on site.

* Set up a system that enables staff to apply for courses through a school quality control mechanism: an application form which links training benefits to personal targets, departmental and school plans. Evaluation and feedback should be another requirement on return.

* Ensure that an administrator has a database of allocations for each member of staff (teaching and non-teaching).

* Share training days with local schools. Each school can showcase its best practice.

* Staff residential conferences can have an impact on attitudes and knowledge.

* There are materials devised by heads which have worked on INSET days. The National College Leadership Network will gather the best ideas and publish them in a user-friendly format, creating a good practice database.

* A good training day can transform a school's culture. King Edward VI community college in Totnes had the inspired idea of a day of African drumming; at South Dartmoor, a day on teacher creativity was led by the Forkbeard theatre company and a professional dance residency; it had long-term spin-offs.

* Prepare your staff for e-learning opportunities, downloading teacher research and joining online discussion forums.

* Let staff work to their strengths, and encourage self-evaluation.

Ray Tarleton is national co-ordinator of the NCSL leadership network and principal of South Dartmoor Community College, Ashburton, Devon

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