Professional Learning (CPD) Opportunities at CFGS
We believe that professional learning at CFGS is everyone’s responsibility and that learning and teaching can make a difference to children’s life chances. Therefore the quality of what happens in the classroom is crucial and we believe in investing in staff’s professional learning to ensure that our students’ maximise their outcomes and are able to make considered choices. We need to develop teachers who not only have subject knowledge but also an understanding of the pedagogical knowledge required.
At CFGS we provide a Professional Learning (CPD) ongoing programme that is varied and robust and aims to engage all staff with our whole school priorities but at the same time ensures they take an appropriate developmental pathway. Line managers support this process and guide staff with career development. This enables staff to make a choice and focus on their own areas of development related to classroom practice and meet the diverse needs of our students.
Internal Professional Learning
Our internal programme of professional learning and development uses the expertise of the lead practitioners and some other members of staff who provide a range of experience and expertise. This developed further in 2018-19 with some of our ‘recently qualified teachers ‘(RQTs) leading a Teacher Learning Community. Furthermore, we have delivered professional learning which continues to align with the CFGS whole school priorities of embedding the Expert teaching model. All professional learning has been delivered through INSET, twilight sessions, faculty meetings and faculty support from the Lead Practitioners.
Teacher Learning Communities
One of our most effective strategies are the Teacher Learning Communities (TLC) which aim to improve the quality of learning and teaching by closing the gap between research and actual practice. All teaching staff joined a TLC and in groups of 12-15 teachers met 5 times during the year to share best practice and support each other with trying out new teaching strategies. Each TLC has a specific pedagogical focus and teachers opted into the group that best suited their developmental priorities.
The TLC model was originally launched at CFGS in 2015-16 and has now evolved in 2018-19 into evidence based research requiring each member of staff to deliver their personalised full year’s research to different groups of teachers and at a final whole school meeting.
Each member of staff developed a research question and a methodology for trialing this in the classroom. At each meeting during the year, staff would share progress made and use this time to update their research and development. They would share and discuss with their group any barriers or issues to progress encountered. The TLCs that took place in 2018-19 were:
- Challenge through metacognition
- Middle Leadership and beyond
- The VESPA Mindset
- Assessment for Learning
- Academic Literacy
- Marking and Feedback
- Technology for Learning
The final meeting in July 2019 was a whole school event where the research that was carried out was shared with all staff as an internal publication.
INSET Days, Twilights and staff meetings
Our Twilights have focused on developing and improving learning and teaching through the different elements of the Expert Teaching Model (see below).
This year we held twilights, INSET and used some time in whole school meetings. Furthermore, time was allocated during some faculty meetings and leadership forums to give staff more time for discussion about best practice. They focused on:
- November: Modelling twilight
- December: Faculty based moderation
- March: Personalised twilights on application and problem solving, plenaries, marking and feedback
- July- Deliberate Practice
All of the above meetings reiterated that learning is underpinned by challenge for all and that this is the overarching element of the Expert Teaching Model.
2018-19 was the first full year focusing on the development of challenge for all students in their learning. The aim being that students are provided with opportunities that encourage deep thinking and a ‘healthy struggle’ with their learning. The elements of the ETM were a focus for twilights, INSET, whole school meetings and faculties were provided with support from lead practitioners during faculty meeting times.
External Professional Learning
External INSET and organised visits to other schools to widen knowledge and experience of learning and teaching is important at CFGS. This ensures staff are maintaining high standards and discovering alternative strategies outside of their own school context. CFGS teachers and support staff are guided and advised about suitable courses, INSET and expertise in other schools. In addition, we are committed to supporting higher education and longer term courses which lead to external accreditation. Staff are identified by Senior Leaders and Heads of Faculty for these leadership development programmes.
Each faculty has a delegated Professional Learning budget so that Heads of Faculty can advise staff about suitable opportunities that support improved learning and teaching at CFGS and we also have a leadership budget to support staff career development and succession planning.
We believe in collaborative learning and as part of the East London Consortium (ELC) our staff delivered and attended a ‘TeachMeet’ to gain greater knowledge and other teaching strategies. As part of the Tower Hamlets Education Partnership (THEP) we offered staff opportunities to enroll in Professional Learning courses where appropriate and as part of the Hackney Learning Trust collaboration for KS5, 28 members of staff attended subject network and sixth form meetings to ensure they were up to date with A level and BTEC level 3 specifications and current thinking.
We had another successful member of staff earn a place on the SSAT Leadership Legacy project. This is a year long initiative that has been set up to develop teachers who have been identified as having leadership potential. The project is aimed at early stage teachers and gives them opportunities to form their vision for education and look at different leadership models.
Furthermore, members of staff have enrolled in programmes to support career development and their roles at CFGS and this includes members of the Senior Leadership Team. We have also providing a coach aimed at supporting senior or middle leaders in their leadership role.
We welcome applications and offer support for suitable MA programmes. However, we did not have any applications for degree programmes this year.
In lessons, we continued with a programme of formal lesson observations, learning walks and ‘drop ins’ in the classroom to observe practice. Quality assurance takes place and if required by the teacher, the observer focusses on a previously identified area of development. Supportive developmental verbal feedback is provided to staff to enable improved learning and teaching and to build confidence and develop effective use of alternative strategies. Lesson observation training was provided for all new postholders to ensure consistency in both the method and approach to the supportive verbal feedback.