Why CPD is key to achieving better outcomes for children and young people
Janice Fletcher, Education Programme Champion at Capita, explains why high quality, tailored, continuous professional development is an essential component for teachers and leaders who want to create a better and brighter future.
I joined the education team at Capita earlier this year, after working for over 30 years in secondary education, including spending eight years as a headteacher of a comprehensive school. I know first-hand the challenges that face schools and their leaders in recruiting and retaining the best teachers whilst providing them with the opportunity to flourish and grow.
I know first-hand the challenges that face schools and their leaders in recruiting and retaining the best teachers whilst providing them with the opportunity to flourish and grow.
It’s widely accepted that teaching can be a challenging and incredibly rewarding profession and, throughout my career in schools, my personal philosophy has remained unchanged. I hold a core belief that excellent teachers improve the life chances of all young people regardless of background or starting point, creating a better and brighter future for all. The intention of the new education reforms rings true. Teachers are the foundation of the education system: there are no great schools without great teachers
The best teachers will inspire young people to be excited, curious and ambitious for themselves. That’s why it’s so important for teachers to flourish and remain in their chosen profession. The best leaders will inspire their communities, including parents, children, and staff, to be ambitious, resilient and to change the futures of the generations to come.
This September has seen in a new academic year like no other. The ‘new normal’ of Covid awareness for schools, supporting families through social reintegration into school life, balanced with the safety requirements for screening and reporting infection rates, has felt, at times, overwhelming. Coupled with this are the new statutory requirements of the Early Career Framework. Schools can, therefore, be forgiven for being cautious about innovation and development as they carefully manage the expectations and workload of their staff.
I believe the recipe for successful and motivated teachers is built on a foundation which provides them, and leaders, with the right support for robust school leadership and continuous professional development.
Today, school leaders face so many demands; budgetary, increasing mental health challenges in school and the return of external accountability measures, to name just a few. And then, of course, there’s the need to focus on the retention and development of high-quality teachers. However, too often school leaders have found themselves in that lonely place of headship or senior leadership where the ‘buck stops with them’, with the pressure sometimes leaving them feeling under-prepared, even overwhelmed. I believe we have a responsibility, not just to put our pupils at the heart of our education programmes, but our teachers as well.
The newest entrants into the teaching profession this autumn will already be exceptional teachers, benefiting from an Early Career Framework programme that provides the foundations for CPD, to keep them in the classroom, working with children and communities for years to come. For the first time, we have the opportunity to support aspiring and current middle and senior leaders via full scholarship funding, with no cost to the participant, available for all national professional qualifications (NPQ) programmes (subject to eligibility) as part of the government reforms. School leaders are being encouraged to embrace this unique opportunity to help inspire and nurture the next generation of school leaders.
Transforming training and support with educational reform
Delivering on the commitments set out in the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, the DfE is creating a world-class teacher development system by transforming the training and support teachers and school leaders receive at every stage of their career. These reforms will help teachers and school leaders - in every phase, subject and context - feel more confident and in control of their careers. They’ll establish strong professional development cultures both within individual schools and across the country, elevating the quality of teaching and ultimately improving pupil outcomes.
From autumn 2021, a reformed suite of NPQs will be available for teachers and leaders looking to develop their knowledge and skills in school leadership and specialist areas of teaching practice. These reforms include:
- reforming the 3 existing NPQs in senior leadership, headship and executive leadership
- replacing the current NPQ in middle leadership with 3 new NPQs for teachers and leaders who want to develop their expertise in specialist areas of teaching practice
The reformed national professional qualifications are just one strand of the Department for Education’s (DfE) teacher retention and recruitment strategy. It marks an exciting new national continuing professional development programme that has the potential to transform the experience of future generation of teachers in the profession – for the good of children and our communities. The reformed NPQs complete the golden thread, running from ITT through to school leadership, rooting teacher and school leader development in the best available evidence and collective wisdom of the profession.
How we’re supporting teachers and leaders to develop and flourish
We’ve established a successful relationship working with Leadership Learning South East (LLSE) who were awarded a contract as one of 9 lead providers, to deliver the reformed national professional qualifications (NPQs). LLSE is a partnership of teaching schools and strategic partners working together to build capacity in the system for outstanding leadership.
We’ll be working with our high calibre cluster partners, including Russell Group universities, to roll out the NPQ programme nationally. Our cluster partner network brings local insights into each session, ensuring the CPD programme is contextually relevant to each teacher, leader and setting.
The 3 new NPQs in specialist areas of teaching being offered by Capita from November 2021, in partnership with LLSE, are:
- Leading Teacher Development: for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading the development of other teachers in their school
- Leading Teaching: for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading teaching in a subject, year group, key stage or phase
- Leading Behaviour and Culture: for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading behaviour and/or supporting pupil wellbeing in their school
- The reformed leadership NPQs are:
- Senior Leadership: for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities
- Headship: for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school
- Executive Leadership: for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher or have a school trust CEO role with responsibility for leading several schools
Through uncertain and often anxious times over the last couple of years, schools have been the constant, stable epicentre of communities, where children need teachers in their lives who are ‘present’ and skilled, and committed to their individual needs, whatever they are. Empowering teachers with the opportunity to develop fresh ideas, new ways of working and professional networks of support will pave the way for a new, brighter, optimistic future in schools, igniting a flame in places that have been tired and worn with the demands of the unpredictable and the unknown.
What excites our team at Capita is the knowledge that we’re helping to unlock the talent and potential of teachers and leaders through the NPQ programme, and this will no doubt have a lasting impact on young people for generations to come.
I understand that many schools may still be unsure about their NPQ choices, and whether the time is ‘right’ for teachers, given what they’ve had to grapple with in the last academic year. If this sounds familiar to you, contact our team to understand more about how our programme is unique and will work for your setting. I’d be delighted to talk to your school, so please get in touch at: NPQ@Capita.com
Education Programme Champion at Capita
Janice’s career in state schools and education has spanned over 30 years. After 8 years as Headteacher in a successful secondary school, she returned to her subject passion by lecturing on university music education degrees. The move to Capita has brought her education career full circle, reflecting her lifelong commitment to improving young people’s life chances and developing talented and committed teachers and leaders who can enable every child to achieve their dreams