Changing approaches to professional development
At BlueSky, we think it is likely that the exponential growth of online / virtual content has had a significant impact on spending on CPD, but at the same time has also fundamentally changed the way that professional learning is carried out in schools.
While in the past, teachers and school staff might have had to apply for budget and find cover to attend an in-person course or conference, virtual content can be conveniently accessed at any time, from anywhere. The relative lack of expense removes the barriers to participation for both teachers and supporting staff in a school or trust.
At the same time, in many schools and trusts, the focus of what constitutes CPD activity has pivoted away from the formal training course or inset day. Alongside using virtual courses and online resources, schools have implemented mentoring and instructional coaching to support ongoing development. Practices that were traditionally seen only as part of a quality assurance and accountability process, such as observing lessons, are now being used as a way to provide constructive feedback. This helps individuals identify areas for development, as well as identifying feedback to inform school improvement, as well as providing intelligence that informs school improvement.