Exceptional professional development for educators
We believe that all educators should have access to high-quality professional development opportunities to enable them to improve at every stage of their career. With over 25 years of experience working with the Department for Education on delivering teacher professional development, we have a strong understanding of teachers’ needs, and our international expertise enables us to build on the best evidence from across the globe to further the impact of our work.
Our approach to professional development
Our goal is to offer evidence-based and highly impactful professional development pathways for teachers and leaders at all levels, which will make a tangible impact on classroom practice, school culture and pupil outcomes. Our approach to professional development is evidence-led, centred around what really works and how people really learn.
All of our training – for Early Years practitioners, teachers and leaders – is based on carefully designed content, sequenced to unpack the fundamental knowledge and know-how required of a given role. Practical skills are brought to life with examples from real practice, often drawn from schools within our network. Support and challenge comes from expert professionals, including instructional coaching for teachers, mentoring, small group training and workshops and highly structured Communities of Practice, providing opportunities to reinforce this learning and apply it in participants’ own practice.
Within our programme design, we draw heavily on findings from the science of learning literature. For example, new knowledge is carefully linked to previous learning and links to participants’ own experience. Content is spaced, presented and practiced in a way which promotes knowledge retention and recall. By doing this, we greatly increase the chances that participants are able to apply new skills within their practice.
Our blended learning approach ensures participants can engage with exceptional professional development that fits around teacher workloads. Our modules can be accessed digitally, enabling flexible learning to minimise workload pressures and create a seamless participant experience. Evidence increasingly shows that high-quality online delivery can be as effective as face-to-face sessions in helping participants to gain knowledge and improve their practice, while offering more flexibility and more opportunities for collaboration with both peers and experts. Our online learning platforms also enable remote coaching, through our partner IRIS Connect.
Our school-led delivery framework
We deliver professional development through our proven school-led delivery framework. This was successfully pioneered in our Core Maths Support programme and has underpinned many of our Department for Education-funded programmes, including Future Teaching Scholars, Accelerate and the Early Career Professional Development Programme.
We work with schools as strategic partners to ensure that the training we provide is tailored to their local context. Content and materials are developed together by our expert teams and school partners. These partners support delivery at a local level, often using facilitators drawn directly from their networks. We support our delivery partners with high-quality central expertise, with supporting regional and national training sessions, along with webinars, ‘train the trainer’ workshops, and constructive, improvement-focused quality assurance.
Find out more about our school-led model.
Support for early career teachers
We have worked with early career teachers for many years, and so we understand the importance of learning opportunities and support during these critical first years – and how they can make or break a career in teaching.
Our Early Career Professional Development Programme aims to provide a set of evidence-based strategies which will make an immediate difference to the effectiveness of their teaching, accessed through highly accessible online content and local instructional coaching. The wider package of support, including mentoring, learning networks and tailored training opportunities, gives teachers the space to reflect on their emerging practice and to share success and challenges with peers and experts. Through this programme, we aim to help new teachers to develop a secure sense of their professional identity, which underpins teachers’ feelings of self-efficacy, resilience, and sense of purpose, and can impact the likelihood of their staying in the profession.
Our wealth of experience of working with early career teachers means that we have a strong understanding of how to meet the specific needs of these professionals. In our Accelerate programme, for example, 94% of the early career teachers we worked with felt that the training and support they received would have an immediate impact on their pupils’ learning, and 92% felt that it improved their pedagogical knowledge and skills.
Our programmes balance highly structured core content and training sequences with effective differentiation and tailoring for subjects and phases. In delivering our programmes, we support our school delivery partners, helping them to run local networks, enabling peer-to-peer support, and providing expert input into subject- or phase-specific training and exemplars.