CPD – Professional Development at DESC

Getting Better and Making a Difference

Here at DESC we strongly feel that one of our most important assets is our teaching staff. These are the people who interact in a meaningful way with DESC students day in and day out. It is for this reason that we strongly believe in the mantra that everyone can get better and make a difference. At DESC we are striving to create a vibrant Professional Learning Community (PLC) whereby each individual will be actively driving forward their own professional development, as well as supporting others with theirs. All staff are encouraged to take on the responsibility for developing themselves in the pursuit of excellence. This will have a direct impact on the students, through enhanced experiences, but also through their heightened appreciation of the concept of life-long learning as they are aware of the staff body’s collective commitment.


Five Key Features of CPD at DESC – It should be:

AutonomousFrom a range of options, staff choose the pathway and options they would like to engage in within the framework provided by SLT / T&L team. There is a high level of Professional Trust within the PLC.
CollaborativeStaff work together in a variety of ways, such as through joint planning of lessons and SoWs, but also through leadership groupings such as those initiated in the RESI(Reflective Evaluation & Self Improvement) process. Teachers talk about learning, learn from each other and are keen to observe and be observed.
Research-drivenAction-research is critical, with teachers trying out new methods, innovating, analysing impacts and sharing their findings with the community. This could be through joint practice development programmes such as Pedagogy 3, 2, 1 or Lesson Study resulting in specific case studies which could further promote intellectual debate and discussion amongst staff. All also actively seek further research in education beyond DESC through engaging with literature and current philosophy in a variety of media, which contributes to informing future policy and practice. Staff engaged in formal research eg studying for their Masters will be supported and share findings through various forums.
ReflectiveStaff habitually consider their own practice, identifying strengths, and areas where they can support others, as well as priorities to allow them to progress. Individuals will constantly seek feedback from students, members of their subject team, peers of other subject specialisms and their Leaders as well as through their own methods, such as using video technology to observe their own teaching.
ValuableIndividuals will see the results of their commitment to the Professional Learning Community on themselves as practitioners, but also on the learning of the student body.

Seven key areas for staff to focus on:

There are seven key areas for staff to focus on and it is believed that these will have a major impact on teaching and learning inside and outside of the classroom. Staff decide which areas the want to improve / get better at and so make a difference. The seven areas are: assessment and questioning, communication, personalisation (differentiation), inspiration and motivation, four to grow (dispositional skills), leadership including pastoral and technology.

There are several opportunities available for staff to develop themselves professionally. Key examples include:

  • Menu of Choice sessions led by staff. These are a series of short and high impact sessions deliver at lunchtimes and after school lasting from 15 to 45 minutes. These occur throughout the year and popular sessions are repeated to allow more staff to attend.
  • Professional Development after School meetings. There are 7 of these sessions and the majority of them will be guaranteed time when small groups of staff can meet and develop their own practice.
  • HoDs and members of subject teams are encouraged to initiate initiatives as a result of pedagogy sessions / own research, so rather than whole-school T&L initiatives, they are now driven by subjects. Observation of lessons can be self – observation through the use od video technology / ipads, by colleagues, by trained Lead Learner students
    • We also have the use of a specially designed room to allow new initiatives to take place and be observed / recorded which is called Room 2.
  • Pedagogy 3,2,1 – Staff in a triad collaboratively plan 3 lessons – each member will be teaching one of them, and observing the others
  • Lesson study / research based community: This is a programme of collaborative planning and observation used to generate evidence to analyse the impact of an innovation or research question. The idea is that the focus is on the learning of ‘case pupils’ rather than on the teacher.
  • Sharing personal research: We are very keen to do this and the use of the Teaching and Learning Website and Twitter accounts help tremendously here.
  • Engaging with literature: There are many books in the staff T&L library, and we are keen to purchase more. At present there are over 200 books in the staff section of the library. Some staff run book clubs / reading groups as part of their professional development and they are very popular. These occur termly and any member of staff is welcome to run one of these.
  • Engaging with literature through social media: A way to really help organise our PLC and share/ engage in literature and educational ideas is through Twitter. Staff are encouraged to follow @DESC T and L and to share articles here and ideas on #DESClearn. This allows staff to look at these articles when it is convenient for them and at any time of the day.
  • Leadership / RESI (Reciprocal Evaluation and Self Improvement): Staff in positions of responsibility are grouped together to learn from each other.
  • External CPD Courses. This is still a feature of our PLC at DESC but we endeavour to make sure that these courses are researched beforehand to ensure that they are adding value to our mantra of getting better and making a difference.
  • Technology – A new initiative is what we have called Technology Mondays. Again internal staff and sometimes outside providers are available to provide training and to assist with planning for technology in lessons.

Finally all of the above can only work if time is available and so at DESC we look at the Rhythm of CPD and provide opportunities for staff to develop themselves professionally. This is why 6 to 8 staff professional development meetings are given guaranteed time slots in the year. Staff must be given time and support to be able to translate CPD content into meaningful classroom experiences for the students. Therefore staff follow the following cycle:

  • Start the CPD
  • Follow up / Reflection
  • Consolidation / Improvement
  • Repeat this cycle

With all of the above occurring at DESC we strongly believe that staff will get better and make a difference.

Please record your own engagement and progress on the first Dial of the Professional Appraisal Booklet.


Information & Action Grid 

Professional Learning Community Information and Action Grid

Sample of Professional Development Staff Meeting and Activity