International schools, where new staff may be unaccustomed to the appraisal and performance management processes used in the UK, can find highlighting professional development a useful way to help people adjust early on to a different way of working.
One example from a large school in the Middle East, where some staff are not used to having formal performance management or appraisal, so school leaders have tried to reframe the approach to focus on professional growth and evaluation. The professional development leader carries out a needs analysis at the start of the school year, and then designs and publishes a professional learning calendar. The school has a quality assurance and observation cycle, which focuses on identifying areas for development.
CPD as a retention strategy
As all education leaders know, retention of staff remains a major challenge with a just under a third of new teachers leaving after five years [i] in the job and serious shortages in several specialist areas.
However, professional development opportunities can act as a powerful incentive to stay in a role, even when other pressures are intense. In 2016, the NFER report Engaging Teachers: NFER Analysis of Teacher Retention [ii] showed strong interaction between teacher ‘engagement’ and retention, where engagement measures included their own professional development as well as aspects such as reward, recognition and school culture. Some 90% of engaged teachers were shown not to be considering leaving the profession compared with 26% of disengaged teachers, indicating that being engaged in the role and school has a positive impact on teachers’ desire to stay. The positive impact of ongoing professional development on retention is an underlying principle of the Early Career Framework [iii] (ECF) where prioritising CPD is seen as a way to combat the ‘culture shock’ that early career teachers experience when they lose the support of training and mentoring they had in higher education.