Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in Further Education
What is CPD?
For those teaching in FE, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an important part of the role. CPD is the term used to describe the learning and training activities which professionals engage in to develop and enhance their teaching abilities. Effective CPD is fundamental to sustaining positive learning and continuous improvement of teachers and students.
Engaging in CPD allows you to shows evidence of your experiences, which you can then use to strengthen your teaching and career prospects. The CPD process involves logging your development and training activities, along with your reflections and opinions on each activity. These can include taking training courses, peer mentoring and keeping abreast of developments in your subject area. Your employer may require you to complete a CPD report and you may also need to show evidence of your CPD record in order to become a member of a professional body or organisation.
CPD in Further Education
Since the removal of workforce regulations within the FE sector in 2012, it is no longer a legal requirement for teachers and trainers to declare their CPD record each year. Previously, a minimum 30 hours of CPD per year was required for membership to the Institute for Learning (IFL).
The IFL has now been replaced with The Society for Education and Training (SET), a professional membership organisation for practitioners working in the post-16 education and training sector. SET is the only body that can confer QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills) status. As a condition of SET membership you must commit to undertaking a CPD journal each year. This commitment demonstrates that you are improving your relevant knowledge and skills.
How much time do I set aside for CPD?
There is no minimum number of hours of CPD that members must achieve, but to renew your SET membership each year you must prove:
- You have undertaken CPD activities;
- You have reflected on this learning;
- You can show evidence that your CPD activities have made a difference to how you teach and how they have impacted learners, colleagues and your organisation.
There are a number of activities you can undertake which all count towards your yearly CPD ‘record.’ Examples of CPD activities include:
- Training courses: Gaining further qualifications in your subject or industrial expertise through accredited courses. The Education and Training Foundation run frequent CPD courses or modules for teachers looking to extend their knowledge of their subject area. You can find more information here.
- Peer Coaching, shadowing and mentoring: Coaching and mentoring other members of staff and being coached yourself in your subject or vocational area.
- Reading and reviewing books or journal articles: To be recorded in and reflected upon in your CPD record.
- Being an active member of a committee, board, or steering group related to teaching or your subject area.
- Online learning, including engagement in discussion on forums and blogs.
There are a wide range of other CPD activities which you can engage in to further your professional development. You can find more examples here.
Recording your CPD
The method of recording your CPD is flexible and can be done in a number of ways to suit you. You can choose whether to create your own CPD log or use an online tool such as the Society for Education and Training’s REfLECT+, a secure online personal learning space which allows you to plan, record and assess your CPD.
The key to effective CPD is to record and review each activity, logging your reflections and thoughts and how you would use the activity to make a positive impact on your learners and colleagues. CPD is an autonomous journey, made with the support of your employer and any professional body you are a member of in order to enhance your teaching. Additionally, a commitment to CPD will show you are proactive about your training despite heavy workloads, which can help progress your career in the further education sector.