Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in schools for all staff including teachers, teacher assistants, administrators and technical staff is a priority although, how many actually have a dedicated room or area for training with books, hardware and software? 

Alan Stevens, Associate Principal of Sawtry Community College, in Cambridgeshire found that looking at the space not utilized at it’s full potential during the majority of the day was going to waste and looked at revamping the space to become a CPD area from a space that was originally only used in the evenings for adult education.  Now, equipped with 14 desktop PCs, with another 15 laptops standing by and an interactive whiteboard, plus the devices that staff bring with them, not only is the room used for the Microsoft IT Academy, bringing people up to speed with Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010, but for a wide range of school-based programmes including a school-based master’s degree. As an on-site facility, available to visiting tutors and to staff from partner schools, it’s a very cost-effective way of providing training and development and an idea that can easily be adopted by other schools.

How can you find space in your school to adopt a similar learning experience? Alan suggests taking a look at the staffroom, an under-used space in manAlan Stevens sawtryy schools.

My challenge to schools is to reorganise your staffroom to make it more multi-purpose. After all many staffrooms stand empty for large parts of the day.”

One school, he says, has taken his advice and divided the staffroom in two, with one part set aside for CPD. Another has redesigned the school library to include an area with appropriate resources for staff development.

This idea looks to send the right messages as well as filling a practical need. It shows all staff, not just teachers, that the leadership values their work and wants them to progress their personal development. A good school is an across-the-board learning community, and a staff learning space brings that idea to life.