Research into the Role of CPD Leadership in Schools

Kay Kinder, Matthew Walker, Mark Robinson, Ben Haines, Matt Walker

01 August 2008

The research investigated how continuing professional development (CPD) is led in schools today, and how it is supported. The study was commissioned by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA).

  • A large-scale postal and on-line survey of CPD leaders in schools was conducted in February and March 2008. Sampling took account of the different types and sizes of school, across the nine government office regions including primary, secondary and special.
  • Letters were sent to 5,385 schools inviting them to participate in the research. A total of 1,509 responses were received.
  • Sample profile. A majority of CPD leaders occupy senior leadership positions, and are very experienced in the teaching profession. Over two thirds are over 45.
  • Roles and responsibilities. Those CPD leaders who work in secondary schools and also those who are deputy headteachers spend slightly more time than their counterparts in other types of schools and roles on CPD. CPD leadership responsibilities are sometimes shared but do not always cover the range of staff in schools. For certain groups of support staff responsibility for CPD is sometimes held outside the school.
  • Training and support for the CPD leader role. Overall, CPD leaders use methods for keeping up-to-date on current developments for support staff far less frequently than they use those methods for keeping up-to-date for teachers. The support which the CPD leaders would find most useful includes toolkits for training and development, CPD leadership induction packs, and research evidence of effective practice.
  • CPD practice in schools. Most schools evaluated the impact of CPD, and linked CPD to whole school priorities. Capacity factors (such as time/workload issues and the release of staff) were the most frequently cited barrier to their role in leading CPD, compared to other factors. The research also shows a number of issues around how CPD, school improvement planning and performance management link and inform one another.
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