Jennie Harland , Karen Halsey , Dick Downing
01 September 2006
During 2004-2005 the General Teaching Council for England and the Department for Education and Skills worked in partnership with 26 local authorities (LAs) to advance work in supporting teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD). NFER evaluated the impact of the project during its operational period and then examined the lasting impacts during the following academic year (2005-06).
- During the operational phase of the project five principal areas of impact were identified as outcomes for LAs: a more coherent approach to professional development, greater priority given to CPD at LA level, gaining a wider perspective of CPD and its national context, enhanced communication and relationships between the LA and schools, enhanced CPD offer.
- Impacts to emerge for schools included: increased knowledge and skills and greater understanding regarding CPD, stronger links with the LA including staff involved feeling valued as well as engendering greater trust between the LA and schools, stronger links with other schools in the partnership, observation opportunities, networking, greater personal understanding of career pathways and roles, and greater awareness of the CPD options available to school staff.
- In the following year, the degree of the progress of the partnership projects had been quite extensive at LA and school level. At LA level all of the LA advisors interviewed in the 15 authorities felt they had developed the partnership work in some form. At school level two-thirds of schools originally involved and three-quarters of schools not originally involved had developed the partnership outcomes. However, the third of schools involved in the original partnership that did not feel they had developed the work may present a significant minority, and illuminate the needs for ongoing support and impetus in building capacity work.
- Interviewees felt the critical features that contributed to the sustainability of the project were the opportunity to collaborate and work in partnership, expertise, and the opportunity to customise, take ownership and design outcomes around need. In addition to these more process-oriented features, interviewees made recommendations for the structural necessities for sustainability. The work requires infrastructure, strategic management, links with other agendas and resources in order to be sustainable and have lasting impacts.