Something for everyone

21st March 2003 at 00:00
Courses for teachers are mushrooming. The problem is finding the training that best suits your needs. Martin Whittaker guides you through the maze of schemes on offer


A pilot for second and third-year teachers, the scheme is funded by the Department for Education and Skills. This and other elements of the DfES strategy were set up on the advice of the General Teaching Council. The scheme involves 12 authorities: Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Cornwall, Croydon, Cumbria, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hampshire, Kensington and Chelsea, Lewisham, Newham, Stoke-on-Trent and Wakefield. It provides CPDfunding for teachers in these areas and is scheduled to run until July 2004.


A chance for teachers to take a salaried six-week sabbatical to focus on professional development. This is for teachers with five years' teaching experience as at September 2001, in schools with 50 per cent or more free school meals. The central funding for the scheme will end in 2004. See the website


Teachers in England can get up to pound;2,500 to do research projects. The closing date for applications was February 28, 2003. Teachers awarded a scholarship this year will get financial support until completion of their research in December 2004. The DfES will not be operating the scheme after this. See or ring the BPRS helpline on 0161 491 8452.


A pound;500 grant for teachers in their fourth and fifth year in the job to help them achieve performance management objectives, reach the pay threshold and boost their development. Award winners (including teaching assistants) can claim a bursary. Those eligible include qualified teachers, advanced skills teachers, assistant and deputy heads who work in a maintained school or non-maintained special school. See developmentopportunitiesbursaries


This is a deferred repayment bank loan. Teachers can borrow pound;300-pound;8,000 to pay for vocational courses of up two years, plus up to a year's work experience if it is part of the course. Loans can cover up to 80 per cent of course fees, plus the cost of books, materials and expenses including travel and childcare. Living expenses can be considered for full-time courses. Call 0800 585 505 for details.


ASTs support other teachers' professional development. A fifth of their time is spent working with teachers in other schools. They must pass a national assessment to qualify. From 2004-05, support will no longer be provided via the Standards Fund, but the Government says this does not spell the end for the scheme. It says an increase in spending for 2004-05 includes funds for this training, but believes funding decisions should go to schools and LEAs. See


The NCSLoffers courses for school leaders at its new pound;28 million centre in Nottingham, or through study at home or at school. There are courses for heads, assistant heads, deputies, middle managers and bursars. NCSL also runs the Networked Learning Communities programme; more than 500 schools have formed networks across the UK to improve standards.



Subject associations run a range of courses. See the following websites:

* Association for Language Learning;

* Association of Teachers of Mathematics;

* Joint Mathematical Council of the UK;

* Professional Council for Religious Education;

* The Mathematical Association;

* British Educational Communications and Technology;


The National Union of Teachers runs a comprehensive professional development programme, including Teacher2Teacher, in which teachers work in pairs through residential seminars and peer coaching, residential workshops, and one-day conferences. See The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers runs a range of training events and seminars for members and non-members, ranging from Dealing With Difficult Children to Applying for Middle Management. For more information, see The Association of Teachers and Lecturers runs a programme of training courses for 2003. Contact their training unit on 0207 782 1505 or 0207 782 1582; or e-mail

The Professional Association of Teachers also runs professional development training courses. See


The DfES also funds a variety of other providers - these are mainly universities, but they are often in partnership with LEAs, subject associations and so on - to run postgraduate award-bearing in-service programmes for qualified teachers. A good source of information on professional development courses generally is The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers publishes profiles of its member universities and schools of education in the UK which include details of CPD courses. See the website


The GTC for Wales put forward its vision of high-quality professional development entitlement throughout teachers' careers to the Welsh Assembly in April 2002. A range of CPD pilot projects has since been available, including bursaries, international visits and exchanges, research scholarships and teacher sabbaticals. By the end of January 2003 nearly pound;4 million had been allocated to fund CPD projects in Wales and more than 7,000 teachers have taken part. In its next phase of funding, from April 2003, the Assembly has made pound;5 million available and aims to offer professional development to 8,000 teachers.


Professional development is offered by a wide range of providers in Scotland - LEAs, further and higher education, and private providers. From August 2003 teachers in Scotland must complete 35 hours of CPD a year, following the McCrone report on teachers' pay and conditions, but arrangements will be flexible to suit teachers, schools and authorities.

The Scottish Executive is making available pound;15 million a year from this year for professional development opportunities. McCrone also made provision for the new grade of chartered teacher, a standard accredited by the GTC in Scotland which teachers can work towards over a number of years.

Scotland's GTC is also looking at setting up a panel to assess claims for accreditation of prior learning.


This programme gives 2,500 teachers a year an opportunity to experience good practice in action in other countries. The programme aims to establish networks of schools, teachers and LEAs, and to share experience with colleagues around the world. For more information see the website www.britishcouncil.orgeducationtipd


See the Higher Education and Research Opportunities website The site contains details of research funding. It is also possible to look outside the public sector for support in the form of grants from charitable foundations. These include the following publications, which should be held by most public libraries: The Charities Digest, published by Waterlow Information Services, The Directory of Grant Making Trusts, published by the Charities Aid Foundation, The Educational Grants Directory, published by the Directory for Social Change, and The Grants Register, published by Macmillan Press.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's leading research funding and training agency addressing economic and social concerns. For more details, see the ESRC website:

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