Schools want to get CPD right, but when you take into account personnel, timing and funds, this can be an area of difficulty. Here, BlueSky MD Denise Inwood answers some frequently-asked questions on the topic of teacher CPD.

1. Is continuing professional development (CPD) in schools becoming more important? If so, why?

CPD has always been an important and central part of the development of any good teacher, precipitated by reflective practice. Teaching is a learning profession; for an educator to develop the resources and strategies to which they need to respond (with an infinite number of variables) on a daily basis, professional learning needs to be part of their daily practice. Professional learning ranges from the more structured and generic to the ‘on the job’ learning that is internalised through reflective practice.

Homework is often an emotive and divisive issue in primary schools. How much is appropriate for a certain year group? What forms should it take? How much parent involvement is required? To what extent should it be tailored to individual children? And so on.

Are too many students given the impression that university is the only option? Mark Steed returns to Innovate My School, and discusses a great alternative to higher education.

There are many reasons for going to university but arguably the most important three reasons are:

  • To have a life experience: making the first steps to independence by living away from home, living with like-minded people.
  • To gain an internationally recognised qualification, which will open doors into the job market.
  • To study - to learn skills and engage with a body of information.

British universities have had it good for a long time, with successive Governments encouraging ever greater student numbers, but I suspect that the tide is about to turn.

The arguments for going to university are not nearly as strong as they were in the past. Going away to university is a luxury that not everyone can afford

There was a time when going to university was a privilege for a minority that was earned by gaining a good A-level grades and was paid for by the Government, who saw fit to invest in our 'brightest and best'. Those days are gone. Universities are now businesses operating in a competitive market place and they are far from free. According to the National Union of Students the true cost of being a student outside London is £22,189 each academic year (£10,133 for course costs £12,056 for living costs - for the full breakdown of these figures see the

Today's undergraduates are likely to leave university with £50,000+ debt  (BBC Website: 'Average UK student debts 'could hit £53,000' 12/08/11).

How can staff evaluate INSET training and CPD courses? We link to proformas for evaluating different aspects of CPD, such as: taking practice back; Guskey’s ‘five levels of CPD evaluation’; and outcomes for pupils. We also link to an example INSET training policy.

Taking practice back into schools

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) has a continuing professional development (CPD) evaluation sheet for schools.

It includes spaces to set out four objectives for the activity. These can be graded as outstanding, good, satisfactory or inadequate.

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