Creating strategic alignment

Whilst creating my new CPD programme which launched in School this September, I also looked at how effective our Professional Management system was, how our INSET budget was spent and how all of this feeds into the School Development Plan. What I found was that all of these things kind of ran independently of each other. Yes, staff booked CPD courses in relation to their PD targets and one target was set for the whole school based on an area of the SDP but there I felt there needed to more links between these aspects and that all members of the school community know what our aims are and are all focussed on driving the School forward in the same direction.

Clearly identifying the link between these 4 aspects is crucial:

  1. School Development Plan
  2. Professional Development Targets
  3. CPD Programme
  4. INSET budget

The SDP sets the strategic direction for the school. Staff need to not only be familiar with the SDP but have some ownership of this. In Professional development meetings with their reviewers, staff are encouraged to identify personalised PD targets that link to the SDP objectives. This then links into the CPD programme which is built around these targets to ensure that staff are receiving the support they required, which in turn is funded by the INSET budget.

It sounds simple, but it is vital that as a leadership team, we ensure that the systems we have in place support these links and that all of these structures feed-in to each other. Vivienne Robinson, a professor who specialises in Leadership in Learning, stresses the need for leadership to establish an orderly environment which promotes learning alongside strategic resourcing so that all activities align around key priorities.

As Assistant Head, my role has grown to lead CPD, PD and the INSET budget so I can now oversee these processes and ensure that they inform and support each other. I’ve made changes to the Professional Development target setting form to ensure explicit links are made, not only to SDP and supporting the whole school vision, but to the support they will require to achieve it. The INSET request form also has specific links to the SDP and PD targets so staff carefully think about how a particular course or visit will positively impact on their practice. Staff complete a ‘CPD survey’ each year to highlight any areas they wish to receive more support or training and any areas of expertise which they can share across the school.

It is important to overtly outline the way these four aspects are inextricably linked so that all stakeholders understand the rationale of the CPD programme and how this is informed by the strategic goals of the school, alongside the professional learning of staff. Hopefully now, all staff feel more involved in driving the School forward and, as leadership team, we are steering everyone in the same direction, providing support to enable staff to engage effectively.

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