Last year at Durrington we introduced a new approach to CPD – Subject Planning & Development Sessions. The idea behind them is very straightforward – once a fortnight subject teams meet and discuss, what are we teaching over the next fortnight and how do we teach it well? We have adopted this approach because:
- It’s CPD within the context of the subject – modelling something effectively in PE is not the same as modelling something in science.
- It’s within the context of what they are teaching now – the work that is done in that sessions, will directly impact the teaching that takes place in lessons over the next fortnight.
- It encourages teachers to talk about their teaching and learn from others, especially when it comes to thinking about student misconceptions, mistakes and challenge.
- It’s not a one off event – the work that is done in each session, will be further developed in the next session in a fortnight, and then again in another two weeks and so on.
- It reduces workload – rather than everybody having to struggle together to plan the same sequence of lessons, why not plan it and share resources together?
How do departments use this time effectively? Here’s an example from last year in science. Tonight, maths exemplified this approach to CPD perfectly:
- The GCSE papers from this summer have been analysed and fractions have been identified as an area of weakness.
- Fractions are scheduled to be taught over the next fortnight to Y8, 9 and 10 – so this is an area of focus.
- Fraction questions from the 2017 GCSE paper were collated – alongside the percentage of students that gained full marks in each question. This allowed the team to identify the specific types of questions where students performed poorly.
- The team then had to answer these exam questions in groups.
- Following this, they had to discuss in pairs how they would then teach this effectively, with a focus on addressing the mistakes that students had made.
- Whilst they were doing this, Curriculum Leader Kate Blight circulated and prompted her colleagues to think about misconceptions and common errors that students made – and how they could overcome this, through their teaching.
- The group then came back together and shared the strategies they had discussed.
- This then resulted in a bank of agreed effective strategies for teaching fractions e.g. using bar modelling to support students with visualising the question.
It’s easy to see how this CPD session will directly impact the teaching in maths over the next fortnight. This is not the case with a great deal of CPD that happens in schools.