Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
At Synergy Schools, we place great value on developing our staff. We believe that effective CPD secures high standards of teaching by ensuring that our practice is fresh, up to date, and inspiring. In turn, this impacts on our curriculum and provides excellent outcomes for our pupils.
Our CPD model is focused around developing the following:
- Knowledge and understanding of excellent safeguarding practice
- Subject content knowledge (knowledge of the subject being taught)
- Subject content pedagogical knowledge (knowledge of how to teach a specific aspect of the subject content)
- General pedagogical knowledge (knowledge of how to teach effectively)
All CPD across the federation follows these core principles:
- Will be relevant to the everyday work of teachers,
- Will be informed by evidence and supported by experts,
- Will teach new knowledge and skills,
- Will actively involve teachers in collaborative reflection and learning,
- Will have follow up, practice and support,
- Will improve the quality of teaching,
- Will have an impact on student outcomes.
In order to provide a comprehensive, well-structured and bespoke CPD offer for staff and governors, we utilise a range of strategic partnerships. To learn more about these, please follow the link below.
All staff, irrespective of their role, undertake regular safeguarding training. As a minimum, this involves a termly module usually using our online training provider, SSS Learning. Our two-year schedule is as follows:
As well as this schedule, staff are involved in various opportunities to test out their knowledge through quizzes in staff meetings and internal and external reviews of safeguarding practice across schools.
Teachers and teaching assistants attend weekly staff meetings. These are always CPD events, rather than information giving (which tends to be undertaken via other means to allow maximum time for development opportunities). Agendas are planned strategically, providing senior leaders with opportunities to develop both federation and school priorities. The senior leadership team finalises the schedule half-termly, ensuring that agendas are dynamic and address the current staffing needs, not what was required 6 months ago.
The federation takes a strategic approach to planning and delivery of leadership training. Each teacher and HLTA who leads – whether that be an aspect of the curriculum of another area of provision or expertise – is provided with regular CPD to ensure that their subject knowledge is kept up to date and they have an opportunity to develop their leadership skills. The Executive Headteacher and Heads of Schools consider this at the start of the school year and create a plan for this moving forward. Th impact of this approach has been marked – leadership at all levels has improved dramatically over the last 2 academic years. We expect this improvement to continue into the future.
Performance Management and Appraisal
All staff receive high-quality performance management (teachers) or appraisal (support staff) arrangements. Senior Leaders undertake all PM and appraisal interviews and consistency is ensured with respect to target setting and review.
All staff are asked to set and review 3 targets:
- A target which relates to a federation or whole school priority
- A target which relates to their leadership responsibilities (where appropriate)
- A personal development target, flexible and chosen by staff
The CPD opportunities outlined within this page are always utilised to develop at least two of these targets.
Use of Learning Walks, Book Looks and Observations of Teaching Practice
Teachers and HLTAs benefit from a wide range of CPD activities, designed to develop their pedagogy and knowledge and understanding of subject content. This is always planned and delivered in a positive and supportive way, focusing on the sharing of excellent practice with clear and practical suggestions for staff to implement immediately in their own teaching environments.
National Professional Qualifications
Colleagues are encouraged to apply for and study the new National Professional Qualifications and will be supported by our trained, in-house Coaches. NPQ qualifications are open to staff who have been teaching for more than 2 years. They are currently fully funded and can be flexibly delivered around teaching timetables. Our strong partnership with Red Kite Teaching School Hub and the Swaledale Alliance ensures that when colleagues need to participate in a face-to-face module, they are not travelling far and are working with teachers in similar contexts.
Early Career Teachers (ECTs)
ECTs follow a bespoke 2 year induction programme. They are signed up to the Red Kite TSH as their appropriate body and follow the University College London Institute of Education (UCL IOE) programme. The federation has a fantastic record of developing ECTs (formerly NQTs). There are many examples of teachers starting their careers in our schools and going onto become senior leaders – and even Heads of School! We pride ourselves in developing staff and thoroughly enjoy working with colleagues at the beginning of their career.
Newly Appointed Staff (Experienced)
Teachers and Teaching Assistants new to the federation will follow the our ‘New Staff CPD Programme’. This is in addition to the whole school programme. Additional time is provided for colleagues to become accustomed to our policies and procedures alongside the approaches we have to teaching and learning. Ideally, this process is started before new members of staff begin their time with us.