The Research Schools Network aims to put the use of research evidence into the hands of schools and practitioners. One of the three main strands of its work is training, offering CPD that uses the best research evidence to challenged existing practice.
As a network that is built on evidence, such CPD needs to build on the research into which CPD is effective.
The DfE standards for professional development say that:
Effective teacher professional development is a partnership between:
Headteachers and other members of the leadership team;
Providers of professional development expertise, training or consultancy.
In order for this partnership to be successful:
Professional development should have a focus on improving and evaluating pupil outcomes.
Professional development should be underpinned by robust evidence and expertise.
Professional development should include collaboration and expert challenge.
Professional development programmes should be sustained over time.
And all this is underpinned by, and requires that:
Professional development must be prioritised by school leadership
These standards were developed by building on a couple of reviews of the evidence on CPD:
Cordingley P, Higgins S, Greany T, Buckler N, Coles-Jordan D, Crisp B, Saunders L, Coe R. (2015 ) Developing Great Teaching: Lessons from the international reviews into effective professional development. Teacher Development Trust. and
Timperley H, Wilson A, Barrar H and Fung I. (2007) Teacher professional learning and development. Best evidence synthesis iteration (BES). Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education.
Research Schools will be offering an increasing number of courses on particular aspects of school practice. They will evidence-based, not only in using the best evidence available about that practice, but by ensuring that the CPD model is evidence-based too.
None of this guarantees success. Evaluations of CPD programmes, even those that are intensive and follow these suggestions for effectiveness, show that they are not always successful. The implication is that changing behaviour is hard. If it was easy, we would have done it already.
Research Schools will be evaluating the success of their training programmes, and continually learning and improving their offer, in the light of the evidence.