Providing great CPD is the key to teacher recruitment and retention according to Steve and Paula Kenning, CEOs of the Aspirations Academies Trust (AAT).

It is with this in mind that they created the Aspirations Teacher Development Roadmap with the aim of boosting professional enrichment.

The importance of CPD is also at the heart of a new initiative launched by Tes Global.

The new service, called Tes Develop, is the largest online whole-school CPD platform and aims to reduce the cost and guesswork when it comes to choosing school CPD.

Tes Develop gives schools a single point of access to hundreds of cost-effective and quality-assured online courses in combinations that can be tailored exactly to a school’s needs.

The service, which is supported by an online collaborative platform, provides quality assured training for everyone in schools from a teaching assistant to school leader in three main areas – professional studies, core subject knowledge, and safeguarding.

Historically, schools spend only 1% of their budget on CPD, despite research identifying the positive effect professional development can have on student outcomes.

As well as underfunding, schools have also struggled to connect CPD to wider school improvement or to measure its impact in the classroom. Tes Develop has been created to address these issues. Courses are quality assured and the online platform enables school leaders to map teachers’ CPD to their wider strategic plans.

Steve & Paula Kenning, CEOs of Aspirations Academies Trust

One trust that bucks this trend is Aspirations Academies where CPD is seen as a valuable investment and crucial for the growth and nurturing of teaching talent.  

Staff from Atlantic Academy on Portland, which is part of AAT, recently took part in a roundtable CPD discussion.

Lisa Migliari, Vice Principal of Atlantic Secondary and Alison Winsborough, Assistant Principal of Atlantic Secondary, joined a string of experts including those from the Education Policy Institute and the UCL Institute of Education.

Both Lisa & Alison found the session informative and a chance to champion the great CPD work that takes place across schools in our trust.

Steve & Paula Kenning, CEOs of Aspirations Academies Trust, said: “Aspirations believe that CPD is central to teacher recruitment and retention. Teaching is a great career and we aim to do everything to ensure our teachers not only enjoy their work but also that the students are challenged and engaged by their learning. As a result, we are developing the Aspirations Teacher Development Roadmap designed to provide professional enrichment, enable teachers to become active lead learners, and to build skills relevant for professional progress in school leadership, school management or school improvement fields. The programme develops leaders at all levels with the skills, knowledge and capabilities required to improve schools and to develop a learning experience that truly prepares young people for a successful life in the 21st century. We’re excited to see how we can work with Tes Develop to further enhance this provision.”

Tes Develop allows schools to be able to buy a whole-school subscription that will give them access to one or a combination of online learning packages depending on their needs. It will be a way for schools to easily match their CPD needs with their development objectives, while at the same time saving money and time.

Tes Develop courses are delivered via an online platform and vary in length from one to five hours.

Staff can study at a time, pace and place that suits them, fitting their learning around work and personal commitments.

Courses are suitable for UK schools that follow the English national curriculum and are also internationally relevant.

Steve Pinches, Chief Operating Officer at Tes Global, said: “Schools are usually faced with a plethora of CPD offerings from a multitude of providers and have to invest time picking and choosing, often with no sure way of knowing which course will meet their needs and deliver real impact.

“Tes Develop is designed to remove the time, cost and guesswork from this process, giving schools access to a comprehensive range of quality-assured CPD and peer-to-peer learning that covers all teaching stages.”

During the Covid-19 crisis, schools have increasingly relied on online technologies to support home learning. Tes Develop now wants to encourage schools to tap into the value and flexibility of online CPD as well. Mr Pinches adds: “Recent research by Tes Global 3 found that 79% of school staff were more likely to use technology in teaching following lockdown. We believe school leaders now have an appetite for using online services in many aspects of school life, not least to help reduce the risk of infection to staff and students. This reinforces our belief that Tes Develop is the right solution for post-Covid professional development.”

Research has shown that professional development for teachers is linked to positive outcomes for students. Data from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has shown that teacher development programmes compare favourably with other more costly interventions in education. However, it is often overlooked by policymakers as a route to improving young people’s outcomes. The EPI believes CPD should continue to be a priority in schools.