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Developing a culture of professional development

Dan Belcher, Senior Education Lead at SSAT explains why investing in professional development and your staff, creates a culture that becomes the norm.

One of the great joys of life is the opportunity to learn, grow and get better at something. Whether it is a musical instrument, a sporting activity or professionally. I’ve never been particularly musical but when our daughter recently started piano lessons, I thought I’d try to learn along with her. As parents, and teachers, we want to help our children to explore their talents, we also understand our own need to keep growing.  Developing personally and professionally increases our confidence, a sense of agency and purpose. It is part of a healthy school culture and a catalyst for improvement.

It is perhaps surprising then that the Wellcome Trust and Teacher Development Trust Summary report: School Improvement Through Professional Development showed that according to 2019 spending data:

Only 14% of primary schools and 10% of secondary schools spent at least 1% of their budgets on staff development.

In-school support and delivery – Available online

The barriers vary, but two of the most common are time and resource. There is a saying “Tell me where you spend your time and your money, and I’ll tell you what you value”. If we really believe that people are our greatest resource, then it is important that we invest in our professional development and our staff.  Creating a culture of professional development means that this becomes the norm, “the way we do things around here”. Every member of staff, not just teachers, should have access to appropriate training and support to develop in their careers. This may be delivered internally or through external providers.

Of course, quality matters too. SSAT have a long-established record of providing high quality professional development. During the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve made our programmes even more accessible and affordable through the development of our online training.  All our SSAT leadership programmes are being offered online. There’s something for leaders at every stage, whether you are looking to join a national cohort or become a delivery partner to run SSAT programmes in your context.  If you can’t find what you’re looking please contact us leadership@ssatuk.co.uk and we’ll see how we can help.

As we move towards a well-deserved summer break, now is the perfect time to ensure you invest in your future and a sustainable culture of professional development. Find out how SSAT leadership programmes can foster a new norm for you and your colleagues.

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