Prioritising professional development in the face of decreased spending

By Thomas Freeney, Leadership Development Manager, ASCL
Over the past decade, schools and colleges have faced a challenging landscape when it comes to investing in continuing professional development (CPD) for educators. To meet ever-tightening budgets, CPD has experienced a decline in many settings. This downward trend poses significant obstacles for leaders tasked with prioritising professional development to drive school improvement and support teacher retention.

The impact of decreased CPD spending
The reduction in CPD spending has raised concerns about its potential implications for teacher development and student outcomes. With limited resources allocated to professional development, schools and colleges may struggle to provide teachers with the necessary training and support to enhance their skills and effectiveness in the classroom. Moreover, the lack of investment in CPD can contribute to teacher dissatisfaction and turnover, as educators may feel undervalued and unsupported in their professional growth.

Navigating the dilemma of prioritisation
In light of decreased CPD spending, leaders face the formidable challenge of prioritising professional development initiatives with limited resources. The need to identify the most impactful and cost-effective training opportunities becomes even more critical in this constrained environment. Balancing the competing demands of teacher development, school improvement, and budgetary constraints requires strategic decision-making and a thorough understanding of the unique needs of the school community.

The importance of needs analysis in resource allocation
In times of fiscal constraint, conducting a comprehensive needs analysis becomes even more essential for schools seeking to maximise the impact of their CPD spending. By identifying the specific professional development needs and priorities of staff members, leaders can ensure that limited resources are directed towards initiatives that yield the greatest benefits. Needs analysis facilitates the alignment of CPD investments with the overarching goals and objectives of the school or college, fostering a culture of continuous improvement despite budgetary challenges.

How can ASCL help? 
Despite the challenges posed by decreased CPD spending, leaders can still benefit from ASCL’s support in navigating these turbulent waters.  As part of my role, I can help you gain valuable insights and provide guidance to inform the professional development strategies for your organisation. This needs analysis is a free service to ASCL members, and consists of a short survey to identify your aims and barriers, a one-hour call to delve into these issues, followed by a one-page report which provides a snapshot of the discussion and links to resources available through ASCL and our partners. 

If you would be interested in this free service, please complete this initial needs assessment form here.

Support in times of fiscal constraint
Recognising the pressing need for targeted support in prioritising CPD, ASCL aims to highlight the most relevant topics and development to our members. Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletters or visit our website here to see our current programme of professional development opportunities. ASCL offers guidance and expertise to help schools navigate the complexities of professional development planning, even in the face of decreased spending. We remain committed to empowering school, college and trust leaders with the tools and knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about CPD investment.

While the decline in CPD spending presents significant challenges for education settings, it also underscores the importance of strategic decision making and resource allocation in professional development planning. By prioritising initiatives that offer the greatest potential for enhancing teaching quality and supporting teacher retention, leaders can mitigate the impact of decreased spending on CPD.

With the guidance and support of ASCL, educators can navigate these challenges with confidence and continue to drive positive change in their organisations.

If you would like to help shape this guidance you can contribute to ASCL’s research into CPD and retention by completing a short survey (here) or by sharing it with your network using the resources (here). ASCL does not share your information with any third party. Information that you enter once you click on the survey link will not be owned or controlled by ASCL.  Data processing policies are detailed in both links.

Thomas Freeney is ASCL Leadership Development Manager. 
Posted: 17/06/2024 15:09:00