In schools, our staff are undoubtedly our most valuable resource. However, a recent report from The Teacher Development Trust (TDT) has revealed a concerning trend – staff development and training budgets in schools have declined by up to 40% since 2018. Pressure on all school budgets are high and are as acute as they have ever been in many prep schools. However, despite these financial constraints, the importance of CPD for teachers cannot be understated. It plays a pivotal role in enhancing student outcomes and in attracting, retaining, and motivating teachers. To help schools navigate these challenges, we've compiled three practical ideas to make your CPD budget go further.
Collaboration is key when it comes to cost-effective CPD. Partnering with other local schools or your senior school (if applicable) can yield numerous benefits. By sharing CPD sessions, you can reduce costs by pooling resources for expenses related to speakers, transportation, and even catering, all while keeping costs in check. Additionally, collaborating with other institutions fosters valuable networks of support and collaboration, allowing you to share insights and experiences that can be mutually beneficial.
Sometimes, the most effective CPD is led by your own team. Your educators understand the school's unique context and the needs of their colleagues, making them well-suited to deliver meaningful training. This approach can be both powerful and cost-efficient. Consider organising short, twilight sessions or learning lunches that focus on specific areas such as pedagogy, behaviour management, or pastoral care. These targeted sessions can address immediate needs. Implement practices like "no observation feedback" where two teachers collaboratively plan and teach a lesson, then review the outcomes together. Recording lessons for later analysis is another effective technique. Additionally, you can establish staff book clubs to discuss the latest educational research and ideas. This is a low-cost yet effective way to deepen staff knowledge and foster discussion.
Effective staff training requires either financial investment or time, and often, a combination of both. To make the most of your budget, consider creating time for staff development. Some schools schedule dedicated development time for staff during the school week and these regular slots can help staff into the habit of reflecting on their practice and give you time to implement some of the staff-run CPD ideas mentioned above..
While in-person training has its merits, it can be costly in terms of speaker fees, transport, and cover arrangements. Embrace technology to make training more accessible and affordable. The IAPS Digital Academy offers flexible and high-quality courses that cater to various staff training needs, starting at just £7.50 per course. Our online courses provide cost-effective alternatives to traditional CPD sessions.
As school budgets face mounting pressure, staff CPD can sometimes fall lower on the priority list. However, it's crucial to remember that teachers and support staff are the heart of any educational institution. These practical ideas for stretching your training budget will not only help you save costs but also ensure that your investment in staff development continues to yield positive results. Prioritising CPD is an investment in your school's future success and the continued growth and development of your educators.