In 2020, the national charity Education Support reported that due to the pandemic, only 15% of UK education professionals felt greatly/somewhat appreciated by the UK government. One method of support that professional bodies can show, is by offering high quality development opportunities for teachers. Does this need to be more effective?
The following article is for CPD professionals, to further support the production of CPD opportunities for one of the professions that was thrown into uncertainty by the pandemic: teaching.
Budgets for CPD For Teachers
In 2019, the Teacher Development Trust (TDT) and SchoolDash both found that school staff development budgets had fallen for the first time that decade; by 12% in secondary schools, and 7% in primary schools. The TDT said that this may have been due to strict school budgets forcing schools to spend less on teacher development. This led to the TDT lobbying for change, and supporting educational professionals’ development. However, these training budget cuts came before the effects of COVID-19, when time and budgetary constraints were exacerbated. The UK government currently offer no formal entitlement to high quality training for teachers. Additioanlly, teachers in England currently undertake less CPD than their counterparts in other countries.
The Education Policy Institute (EPI), commissioned by Wellcome, found this Summer that if the government provided a formal entitlement of 35 CPD hours a year, its funding would only cost an extra £210M a year. The total cost for this would be less than 1% of the government’s total budgets for schools in England. As long as the benefits of teachers receiving this formal entitlement are presented to the government, there is no excuse for CPD budgets not to increase.
A couple of the benefits of this formal entitlement, found by research by EPI, are as follows:
• It would boost pupil attainment by an extra two-thirds of a GCSE grade
• It would significantly improve teacher retention, with an estimated 12,000 more teachers remaining in the profession a year.
The Need for Increased CPD
Adding to the above benefits, there are more reasons as to why the necessity is increasing for teachers’ CPD to be improved upon and refined.
For instance, the role of teaching has expanded. During the lockdown period, the role of schools and educators was altered to not just be one of education, but also of care. Schools and their staff had to act accordingly to support their pupils and their pupils’ families. They also had to make their ways of teaching more flexible and consider the circumstances of children attending school and carrying out work for it online. Monitoring online work was a new challenge that teachers had to adapt to, often unsupported.
As we go into 2022, we want to say it’s unlikely that teachers will have to undergo more huge changes to their working styles. However, we also know that there are many new and trainee teachers who will have to undergo quite a different training style in order for their careers to thrive under these new hybrid conditions.
This need is exacerbated because many teachers who were training or newly qualified in 2020 and 2021 could not complete their final placements due to disruptions in training etc. forcing them to miss out on opportunities to enhance their practical and theoretical knowledge of teaching.
And this disruption doesn’t stop there – their first year of work has also been marred by constant COVID scares in schools forcing them to lose children, with them being sent home at erratic and sudden times throughout the year . For instance, July this year saw 8.5% of children being sent home from school, the highest number of COVID-related absences since the return to school in March. This prevented them from completing a full term of teaching in a filled classroom. These new teachers’ needs should be taken into account, and catch-up work may need to be done to ensure that none of them miss out on the training they should have received in full in 2020.
CPD For Teachers: Which Methods Are Still Possible Due to COVID?
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) section of the UK National Education Union states that CPD for primary and secondary school teachers should include training courses, workshops, studying for accreditations, online courses, peer group exchanges, international exchanges, conference attendance etc.
However, are such training opportunities possible for teachers in 2021 and beyond?
Social distancing requirements have certainly been relaxed, but we may be saying a temporary goodbye to international exchanges and overseas conferences, due to the many VISA problems that have affected international travellers this year and prevented such sessions from being carried out efficiently. Even without this being the case, training budgets are being significantly cut, and large events such as courses and conferences are not occuring as frequently as more cost-effective techniques. Online courses are now being carried out as standard, as they are the most convenient go-to method to enable quick training. On-demand videos are allowing teachers to receive the training they’ve missed out on, in their own time and at their own pace. And when teachers still want to be able to ask live questions during a course, livestreams allow for real-time discussions during training.
How Can Teachers Be Motivated to Carry Out CPD?
The CPD Certification Service reports that it’s common for teachers to complain that training isn’t relevant or personalised enough to them, and that it’s a time-consuming box ticking exercise.
With how essential professional development is to ensure successful teaching, how do CPD providers for teachers ensure that training is enjoyable, relevant, and doesn’t come across as a trivial exercise that is done for the sake of it?
LKMco and Pearson conducted a recent survey that found that 92% of teachers are motivated to stay in teaching by the prospect of making a difference in pupils’ lives. Therefore, personalised CPD that focuses on the teachers as individuals and how they, as individuals, can improve the lives of their pupils, has a much better chance of reminding them of their goals, opening up further development needs, and keeping them motivated to attain CPD.
Overall, CPD for teachers has heightened in importance, but so has our knowledge about the variety of technology and techniques that can enhance CPD. With the loop that COVID-19 threw teachers for, it is essential that CPD for future teachers is personalised and delivered using bespoke solutions.
If you provide CPD for teaching professionals, what techniques do you use to ensure that the learning and development you provide is effective? And how will your methods potentially change in the new year?
Comment below to tell us all about this.