New year, new resolution: to keep my continuing professional development (CPD) up to date. But what does this really mean in practice?

CPD is the means by which you can maintain and improve your skills, knowledge and understanding which should have a positive impact upon your practice. It's not always about attending courses or gaining qualifications. Hopefully this article will give you a few ideas of what you could do this year.

If you are in education, CPD should relate not only to teaching, learning and assessment practices, but also to changes in education policies as well as your specialist subject. This is known as being a 'dual professional'. You are a professional teacher and assessor as well as a professional in the subject you teach and assess.

At any time of year, it's always good to reflect on what has gone well, what hasn't and what can be improved. You can then plan what you will do next.

Removal of CPD regulations

The further education (FE) workforce regulations were removed in 2012. It is no longer a requirement for teachers and assessors to make a declaration of their CPD each year. However, if you are a member of a professional association such as the Education and Training Foundation, you must make a commitment to carry out CPD each year.

Information can be found here:

CPD - teaching, learning and assessment

It could be that you feel you are up to date with teaching, learning and assessment practices. Perhaps you have recently achieved a teaching qualification, or are working towards an assessor or quality assurer award. If not, there are many organisations offering courses or updates, many of which can be taken online. There always seems to be changes taking place and it's important you keep up to date to give a good service to your learners.

Examples include:

  • attending events and training programmes
  • attending meetings and standardisation activities
  • collaborative working
  • discussing and sharing ideas with your colleagues
  • evaluating feedback from peers, learners and others
  • mentoring and coaching new staff
  • networking (online and in person)
  • peer observation
  • shadowing colleagues
  • team teaching
  • updating your own English and maths skills
  • using new and emerging technology for teaching, learning and assessment activities

The Excellence Gateway has lots of information you could access:

CPD - changes in education and training

There are constant changes in education; therefore it is crucial to keep up to date and embrace them. Examples include changes to the qualifications you will deliver, changes to policies and practices within your organisation, regulatory requirements and government initiatives. For example, in 2015 there are going to be changes to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) which I'm sure will affect most of us who deliver accredited qualifications. Changes in 2014 included the Education and Training Foundation taking on the work of the Institute for Learning, which no longer exists.

Examples include:

  • becoming a moderator, examiner or quality assurer
  • membership of professional organisations
  • researching developments and changes to relevant legislation
  • subscribing to various updates such as those offered by Ofqual and awarding organisations (see the list at the end of this article)

CPD - subject skills and knowledge

You can partake in lots of activities which cost very little, such as researching websites, reading journals and text books which are all relevant to your subject. Many publishers are happy to give away free inspection copies of text books (hard copy or electronic) in return for feedback. This can be a way of ensuring your knowledge of the subject you are teaching is current.

Examples include:

  • e-learning and online activities
  • industrial visits
  • membership of professional and trade associations or committees
  • presenting at a conference
  • reading current text books and journals and creating an updated reading list for learners
  • researching developments or changes to your subject
  • secondments
  • voluntary or part time work
  • work experience placements
  • writing or reviewing books and articles

You could join free social network sites such as LinkedIn, which is a professional networking site at Here you will find groups you can join specifically aimed at your specialist subject. You can post questions and respond to queries, and join in regular discussions. If there isn't a group for your subject area, you can create one.


CPD can be informal or formal, planned well in advance or be opportunistic, but should have a real impact upon your role, leading to an improvement in practice and an impact upon learning.

Reflecting on your experiences and documenting how it has improved your practice will help you see what real impact your CPD has had.


The following websites are useful to gain up to date information regarding developments in the further education and skills sector. Most of them allow you to register for electronic updates.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills –
Department for Education –
Education and Training Foundation -
Equality and Diversity Forum –
Government updates: Education and Learning –
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education –
Ofqual –
Ofsted –
Times Educational Supplement Online –

Ann Gravells is an author, creator of teacher training resources and an education consultant - she can be contacted via her website:

The next article from Ann Gravells will be: Demonstrating the minimum core of literacy, language, numeracy and ICT

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