Thoughts on CPD accreditation #1; Consultation or Conversation?

The Chartered College of Teaching’s new CPD Quality Assurance project is a one-shot-only opportunity to get everyone talking effectively. This article is a call to increase stakeholder involvement.

[3 minutes to read]

As a teacher trainer, I have a vested interest in any initiative around CPD accreditation and I was very pleased to receive an invitation to the Chartered College’s consultation last month. However, as I sat musing over the survey questions, I became convinced that the benefits of the consultation itself are likely to far outweigh any resulting classification scheme.

The online consultation has been followed by one online and three face-to-face stakeholder workshops and while this does express due diligence, it is my contention that such a basic approach provides a mere snapshot of the high stakes in the area of CPD to schools. So, why a Polaroid when you can have a 3-D virtual reality experience with Dolby Surround? 

This new series of posts present a modified version of my responses to the original survey.


Question #1

What benefits, if any, do you see in developing a system to quality assure CPD provision?

Mainly, in the development itself: The CPD Quality Assurance project provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: First of all, it marshals the various CPD providers, educational institutions and policy makers for an ongoing and candid discussion. Second, it gives them a unique chance to develop a shared language to correlate experience, expertise, understanding and expectations.

Most importantly, this will all take place under the aegis of respected institutions, capable of organising the conversation and of centralised capturing, processing and summarising the produced knowledge, whether it takes the form of warnings, recommendations or solutions, or opens new fertile areas of enquiry.

Consider here that the project is jointly funded by Wellcome Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation and also involves the Teacher Development Trust, Sheffield Institute of Education and Sheffield Hallam University. Who else could effectively start a nation-wide enquiry run to an exacting professional standard that will be taken seriously by so many stakeholders?

If run properly such a multi-noded conversation will not only improve CPD across the country by examining provision in its full context: It will help providers, schools and 3rd parties to identify, analyse and eventually overcome obstacles that prevent schools from benefiting from even the best CPD provision, such as inadequate systems to embed and continuously refine the chosen intervention.

However: the positive utility of this conversation hinges entirely on its effective organisation to capture ideas, follow lines of thinking and share resources. Such a guided enquiry approach is not a novel concept; business has been doing this for years. Readers who attended Healing Fractures I & II will remember these as successful examples of how these business concepts were tailored to the education sector. 

The benefit of this type of conversation would be the pooled resources and ideas. And, perhaps, a recognition that to improve the effectiveness of CPD provision, we need to look more closely at how CPD meshes with schools’ processes (or lack thereof). Without taking the surrounding complexities into account, I worry any resulting CPD accreditation system will very likely be measuring the wrong thing.



This is a public call to the the College and its affiliates to get the most out of this occasion: Forget the results for a moment and look at the process: An organised co-creative learning approach will better achieve your project objective and enormously benefit the field of school improvement for decades as, once opened and structured, the conversation would carry on.

Think “country-wide self-organised learning environments” if it helps, but if the aim is indeed to “provide a long-term solution that will be a powerful addition to the CPD landscape” an effective conversation is the best place to start. There is not likely to be another chance like this. 

You can express your thoughts on this directly on .

The upcoming instalments will discuss why the idea of a catch-all system for CPD accreditation without adequate dialogue might be very precarious indeed. Hint: The formulation of the survey questions strongly indicates the limited scope for solution. This is the very antithesis of the open conversation I believe we need to have if we are to better measure and improve the quality of CPD.

Read the next instalment now >

Thoughts on CPD accreditation #2; Missing the (quality) mark



Follow on Twitter or join the mailing list for updates.

Useful links

* * * is the business end of

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: