The CPD landscape is shifting again and every CPD Provider needs to be ready. In this article, our CEO, David Weston, uses TDT analysis, our policy view and our work with hundreds of schools to predict six key pieces of intelligence that will affect every professional development provider working with schools in England.

With TDT’s CPD Provider conference just under 2 weeks away (6th March, London), there are six things that every provider needs to think about, whether you are a Teaching School, an HEI, a subject association, consultant, commercial or non-profit or indeed any of the other myriad types of CPD provider in our very complex marketplace.

1 – The new Early Career Framework and Recruitment & Retention strategy

With the DfE launching major new policy aimed at recruiting, retaining and training teachers, providers need to be aware of new frameworks, funding and opportunities. Everyone providing support for ITT and early career teachers should start exploring how to align their work with the new Early Career Framework. Schools in the most disadvantaged areas will get more funding to access training and a number of areas (including the new Opportunity North East region) will get early roll-out. The policy also kicks into motion the development of a big new suite of NPQs, with Teacher Educator being the first in the pipeline – providers will have to keep a close eye to see how existing training fits into this new career structure.
We will have a colleague from the DfE briefing delegates about the new strategy with opportunities for Q&A on the day.

2 – Falling CPD spending, more pressure for new delivery approaches

Our recent research highlighted how school CPD budgets are now demonstrably falling and this will significantly increase the pressure on providers to identify new ways to deliver training at a lower cost. Supply is also being hit, with schools reluctant to release staff and pressure to reduce travel costs and distances. Some providers are responding with more blended learning approaches and other innovations.
I’ll be presenting some of our analysis about spending patterns and we’ll have a panel of providers and researchers exploring new ways to deliver CPD more flexibly.

3 – More pressure to evaluate impact and demonstrate quality

With the growth of MATs and government funding for specific areas, the providers that are succeeding are the ones who can demonstrate impact and quality. Providers have long found it difficult to gather impact data from participants but a number of providers are building more, higher quality evaluation mechanisms into their delivery models. Building in formative assessment is key not only to demonstrating impact but research suggests it also increases impact of the training itself – this is a key area flagged up for providers in the DfE CPD Standards.

The DfE recently flagged its intent to explore more formal ‘quality marks’ for CPD providers. Following this, the Wellcome Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation commissioned the Chartered College, Teacher Development Trust and the Sheffield Institute of Education to scope possible developments in this space.
We have colleagues from Education Endowment Foundation to talk about their work in evaluation and Chartered College colleagues discussing their recent developments.

4 – The new Ofsted framework: curriculum, middle leadership, data

We’ve recently been interviewing and surveying a large number of school leaders and it is clear that a huge amount of work is already being put into preparation for the proposed new Ofsted framework, even though it is still not finalised. There is widespread recognition, based on drafts, of the enhanced role that middle and subject leaders will have to play, not only in their regular role of team leadership but also in designing and articulating the intent, implementation and impact of a carefully sequenced curriculum. This shifts the focus of in-school accountability with Ofsted seemingly picking up recent workload recommendations to reduce the frequency of data tracking in schools and to ensure that they are supporting teaching and curriculum. It is clear that most school leaders are seeking additional support and guidance although providers should be wary of making claims of ‘what Ofsted wants’ while the handbooks are still drafts and the consultation process is ongoing.
We’ll be presenting more information about our findings on school leaders’ priorities.

5 – The changing role of Teaching Schools and MATs

A common theme that we’ve heard in the last year is how clusters of schools are looking to replace what they see as expensive external training with their own in-house versions. In particular, medium-to-large MATs are developing their own programmes, often piggy-backing off a Teaching School within their Trust. We’re also seeing small-to-medium sized MATs looking to collaborate locally with each other, developing one set of training – particularly around leadership – that spans two or more Trusts. Local Authorities are increasingly looking to Teaching Schools to deliver their training offer, and we’ve noticed an increase in the number of secondments between these organisations.
We have a panel with providers, TSAs, LAs, Trusts and DfE discussing new approaches to commissioning.

6 – The future DfE funding? SSIF, TLIF, Opportunity Areas

With the government’s massive comprehensive spending review scheduled for the end of this year, every government-funded programme is having to justify its continued existence as departments battle each other and the Treasury to get the best slice of the funding pie. This is why most existing funding programmes are due to come to an end in early 2020 – nobody yet knows if there will be funding to continue programmes beyond this. However, the impact of existing programmes – Opportunity Areas, SSIF, TLIF and others – means that government has increasingly looked to fund evidence-informed partnerships between schools and providers, particularly in the most disadvantaged areas. Successful CPD providers need to understand how these partnerships are being formed and how funding is flowing to schools in these areas.
We have the DfE lead for Opportunity Areas coming to speak at our conference about how these partnerships are working across the different areas.

Hopefully this blog will have given some food for thought. We hope to see you at our conference in London on the 6th of March – click here to book your tickets.