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Training is critical to tackle the teacher retention crisis 

Diana Dewing, Managing Director of training company Thrive, explores the need for CPD in teaching

Posted by Hannah Vickers | April 07, 2017 | Teaching

Across the UK we face the challenge of a critically low number of teachers as thousands report that they have plans to leave or are leaving the profession. Providing continuing professional development (CPD) is one of six key areas identified for improvement from the Commons Select Committee Report February 2017 into the teacher retention crisis.

Finding ways to free staff time for training and releasing staff investment are two of many obstacles to schools and academies embracing CPD. So, why is CPD so important?

Supporting teachers as individuals

Training can inform teachers and inspire their practice to help them to appreciate more fully, for example, how recent neuroscience supports attachment theory models of child development and understanding how to best support children’s emotional and social development. This new learning will not only help young people, but can be used for teachers to help understand themselves.  

Helping children to flourish

Investing in emotional and social development training can have a positive impact on children’s behaviour and attainment results. As staff develop their own understanding of children and young people’s behaviour as an expression of underlying need - and are equipped with the tools and techniques to support them - they are in a stronger position to help them flourish.  

Improving attitudes on a school-wide scale

Many schools that have invested in training with an organisation such as Thrive have reported a change in philosophy across the whole school or academy, reduced staff absence, and improved rates of staff retention. With targeted action plans to meet group or individual needs, and practical, easy-to-implement activities at their fingertips, staff can bring about changes at the individual, class and whole school level that have a positive effect on behaviour, results and children and young people’s quality of life. 

Making staff feel valued

Training in general and CPD training makes staff feel valued. Training in emotional and social development is powerful as it integrates elements of psychology and children’s brain development with practical and creative ways to support children’s learning. Schools where Thrive is embedded report fewer exclusions, reduced classroom disruption, improved attendance, better educational attainment and increased staff satisfaction. Furthermore, integrating the Thrive Approach across the whole school curriculum engages the wider school community with benefits that extend beyond individuals who have received the training.

We’d like to see more schools embracing CPD in emotional and social development before the teaching profession hits crisis level

CPD and training for teachers was recognised as one of the key drivers for profound and substantial improvements in the dire state of education in Hackney in the early 2000s. The critical work of The Learning Trust on alternatives to exclusion through a range of tactics including greater emotional and social development support was a key contributor. We’d like to see more schools embracing CPD in emotional and social development before the teaching profession hits crisis level.

Academies supported by Thrive include Paignton Community and Sports Academy in Devon and Old Trafford Community Academy in Lancashire. With the support of Thrive CPD training and Thrive-Online, adults have learnt how to help children and young people, using a targeted, measured approach. The impacts include young people’s increased resilience and resourcefulness, feeling good about themselves, and the improved ability to overcome difficulties and setbacks so they can take advantage of opportunities.

For more information, visit Thrive's website. 

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