I now know how passionate teachers are about the subject of CPD

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30 January 2015 by ATL
If I didn’t realise it before, I now know how passionate teachers are about the subject of continuous professional development.

Tuesday’s debate at the ATL seminar gave them some cause for encouragement as all three of the major political parties (all right, I know I am courting trouble by saying there are only three) have declared they are fully supportive of it in advance of the general election.

Of course, it could be like motherhood and apple pie - they are all in favour of it until they have to do something about it.

Be that as it may, some interesting issues emerged during the one and a half hour debate which started off with Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, telling us how 24,000 people had sought CPD with the union because they were not wholly happy with what had been arranged for them by their school.

School-based in-service training seemed as if it was often something like the poem “Naming Of Parts”, ie tailor-made to fit government diktats rather than fulfilling the needs of the individual teacher.

Another perspective came from David Taylor, headteacher of Stanley Park High School in Sutton, who pointed out that he did not know whether the CPD provided out of school for his staff fitted in with the school’s vision of what they needed and where they ought to be.

His school was given high praise by Dr Bousted for its record on CPD, so presumably would not have been one of those causing Ellie Dix, training director of Pivotal Education, to raise her eyebrows or even turn down an application to run a course because she considered it was not the kind of training it should be providing.

Lots of questions emerged such as the suggestion that “teachers rarely make good teachers of teachers” and who are the villains of the piece when it comes to providing the wrong sort of CPD (sounds suspiciously like a weather forecast, that!)

Not the schools, apparently, who are under pressure from someone higher up the chain.

One feeling I did have - teachers deserve to be applauded for enlisting for CPD after completing a 60-hour week working for their school.  Far easier to have a pint in a pub and chew the cud with a mate as your contribution to CPD - as many a journalist would.

Richard Garner chaired the third #ShapeEducation debate Meeting the learning needs of future generations - is CPD for teachers an entitlement, requirement, necessity or just a distant dream? in London on Tuesday 27 January 2015.

Missed the debate? Take a look at our Twitter round up on Storify.

By Richard Garner is education editor of The Independent.

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