Effective professional development s a core part of securing effective teaching. It cannot exist in isolation, rather it requires a pervasive culture of scholarship with a shared commitment for school staff to support one another to develop so that students benefit from the highest quality teaching. The thousands of professional decisions that must be made every day need to be informed by the best evidence, knowledge and professional wisdom.
Not all professional development is equally effective. Helping staff to improve their practice takes thought, planning and effort. It requires headteachers and senior leadership teams who prioritise not only the operational aspects of professional development but also, as Ofsted put it in their September 2015 handbook, “a motivated, respected and effective teaching staff” in “a culture that enables students and staff to excel”. While professional development can take many forms, the best available research shows that the most effective professional development practices share similar characteristics. Effective professional development should be seen as a key driver not only of staff development, but also of recruitment, retention, wellbeing, and school improvement.