A vast array of courses covering topics from good leadership to bad behaviour is on offer to teaching staff, says Gerald Haigh
ONCE there was no such thing as Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
There was just going on courses. The best ones were put on by HMI - you could get to spend an idyllic week, as a fellow head once did, walking round the city of Durham sketching door-knockers.
Now everything is planned around the twin, complementary demands of your developing career and the needs of your school. There's more accreditation, more rigour, and, of course, there are more providers. An event such as the Education Show provides an opportunity to talk to CPD providers and find out what they are offering.
For many teachers looking to advance their careers, first call will be the National College for School Leadership, which provides a range of qualifications that assumes leadership to be necessary at all levels in school. At the core of its work is a structure of five levels of leadership - emergent leadership, established leadership, entry to headship, advanced leadership and consultant leadership.
Qualifications such as the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) and the Leadership Programme for Serving Head Teachers (LPSH) sit, with other courses and programmes, within this structure. The whole is intended to cater for staff at all levels from classroom teacher to the experienced head who is able to act as an adviser and consultant to other colleagues.
At the start of the year the National College launched a new set of Online Communities (www.talk2learn.com) which enable teachers and leaders to exchange views and learn from each other's experience.
Use of the internet for professional training is bound to increase and it could be the answer for teachers who want to work to their own timetables.
A good example of this is the National Association of Head Teachers' Online Training programme. It has been running for some months, with 12 courses available. This month, a further set of 12 starts to arrive on a wide range of school-based subjects.
All, though, address current concerns such as behaviour. One new course is "Managing behaviour positively", while another is "Supporting the child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder."
The NAHT also runs a range of face-to-face courses, as does the Secondary Heads' Association, whose Management and Professional Services programme is highly regarded.
For curriculum-focused ICT training, look at Granada Learning Professional Development courses. There is a programme of day courses aimed at a wide audience - primary, secondary and special needs teachers as well as for senior management team members. Importantly, too, there is ICT training for classroom assistants.
Also on Granada Learning Group's stand you can see books published by David Fulton, now part of Granada Learning. Fulton's list has always been aimed at helping teachers to do their jobs, and there is particular attention paid to teachers of children with special educational needs.
Still with the printed word,PfP Publishing offers the Primary Leadership File (essentially a subscription resource, but you can buy parts individually) as well as its new Positive Behaviour Handbook.
So varied and numerous are the sources of training and development for teachers that whoever manages CPD in a school is in danger of being overwhelmed. That is why anyone who does the job should take a look at Ascon Education's Staff Developer - software that takes care of tracking teachers' CPD progress, and keeps their professional portfolios to hand.
Schools could find it particularly useful when it comes to managing performance reviews, for instance.
John Preston, headteacher at Sir Charles Parsons special school in Newcastle, says: "With the Staff Developer you get an analysis of what you're spending your money on and who's done what. And teachers can pursue their own professional development - that information is there at the click of a button now."
It's all a far cry from the door knockers of Durham.
National College for School Leadership Stand w40X40
NAHT Stand M32
Ascon Stand A20
Granada Learning and David Fulton Stand PV116
PfP Publishing Stand PV12