The ongoing development of staff – teaching, support and leadership – is a key concern and important commitment of educational institutions. Obviously, there are very often challenges that come with supporting institution-wide training – but these become most prevalent in academy trusts.
Disparate geography, member schools with differing standards, processes and technologies all present obstacles to delivering continuing professional development (CPD) in multi academy trusts. With the right approach, trusts can overcome these challenges to deliver a training experience that helps drive forward not only the skills and careers of staff, but also – and most importantly – teaching and learning in the organisation.
With that in mind, here are 5 benefits of investing in a centralised CPD platform for a multi academy trust.
A single source of truth
One of the most significant challenges that multi academy trusts faceis standardisation. As schools get added to the trust over time, they bring with them years – possibly even decades – of established processes, systems and technologies. Training is no exception. It can be very difficult to assess and manage where different members of staff within the academy are on their training journey. It can be even more difficult to maintain consistency going forward as the trust grows.
Implementing a centralised system of pre-audited resources and materials enables the trust to take a standards-based approach to training, make sure everyone is one the same path, and understand centrally where everyone is on that path.
Having this single source of truth with pre-audited materials also means that individual schools do not have to go off independently and source their own training and CPD. Having to select a course, and a partner to deliver that course, can represent a significant expense to an individual school.
Having course material available in a centralised platform across the trust saves the time and cost it would take to arrange this separately. There is obviously the additional benefit of the pooled resources and funding of the organisation as a whole awarding more buying power at a centralised level. This benefit becomes even more realised when you apply economies of scale. As the trust becomes larger and more schools join, the bigger the saving on CPD with a centralised system.
Anytime, anywhere learning
You often hear the phrase “anytime, anywhere learning” applied to students’ learning. But it applies to staff too. CPD is learning, and staff need to be awarded the same flexibility to engage with it as they facilitate for their students. Having a cloud-based platform which houses all of your CPD and training resources means your staff will be able to access them anytime, anywhere, whether that’s at school during free periods or (more likely, at the moment) from home.
Having a cloud-based platform also means that no matter where a trust is on its standardisation and centralisation journey in terms of technology, as long as they have a stable and consistent connection to the internet, staff can access the resource they need from any device.
Demonstrating a commitment to excellence
The Department for Education has a standard for teachers’ professional development. In it, they describe that “the design of high-quality professional development is as complex as the design of high-quality teaching”. This tells you the emphasis that the DfE – and no doubt Ofsted – place on effective CPD for teaching staff. It’s vital for trusts to demonstrate that they are committed to providing excellent CPD to their staff.
Aside from the compliance angle, being able to offer excellent training will also help with the attraction and retention of teaching staff. Career-driven teachers will be drawn to organisations that have a dedicated process and system for training.
Everything we’ve talked about so far is related to how CPD benefits the staff and the organisation – but the most obvious and important benefit of investing in a proper CPD process and platform is raising the standards of teaching and learning across the organisation. Holding teaching staff across the trust to the same standards, giving them consistent and seamless access to dedicated training resources enables you to raise standards across the trust, providing students with an elevated learning experience.
As many students will stay within the trust for their entire school career, this also means that they will experience consistently high teaching and learning standards from Reception to Sixth Form.
We’re working in partnership with Guide Education to bring their innovative education CPD platform to multi academy trusts. Guide have partnered with Osiris Educational, one of the UK’s leading training companies, to offer a catalogue of high-quality teaching CPD resources in a user-friendly online platform. To find out more, get in touch.