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The use of training days : Finding time for teachers’ professional development

Bubb, Sara and Earley, Peter (2013) The use of training days : Finding time for teachers’ professional development. Educational Research. ISSN 0013-1881. DOI UNSPECIFIED (In Press)

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Background: Professional development (PD) is widely recognised as crucial to an organisation’s success so the time devoted to it needs to be used well. Finding time for training and development is frequently noted by school staff as a barrier preventing them from taking up developmental opportunities. The focus of this paper is on a specific time allocation for teachers’ professional development: the days when schools are closed to pupils in order to train staff. Many countries have such days: in England there are five. Thus, training days are a significant time resource for professional development. How schools use this time is a crucial matter especially as previous research shows that training days are not always used productively or their impact evaluated systematically. Purpose: Drawing on data from a much broader project, the Staff Development Outcomes (SDO) study, this paper seeks to address two research questions: How are schools using their five training days and what impact, if any, are they having? Sample: a survey was conducted from a random sample of over 600 schools in England. Responses to the survey were received from school leaders, teachers and support staff from primary, secondary and special schools from all geographic regions in England. Design and methods: The research design was mixed methods using both case studies and a national survey of school leaders and teachers. Data were collected by qualitative and quantitative methods in two phases. Phase one was undertaken in early 2009 and included 35 case studies of schools whilst phase two followed in Autumn 2009 and involved a questionnaire survey of over 1600 staff from a random sample of over 600 schools. Numerical data were analysed using SPSS although software was not utilized in the analysis of interview data. Findings: The findings largely confirm earlier research and present a mixed picture with significant numbers reporting the current value of the training days to be limited. It was also found they are configured in a number of ways with many schools converting them into ‘twilight’ sessions and thus creating additional holiday time. Conclusion: The paper raises some further questions for consideration in the light of PD increasingly being squeezed out of the teachers’ working year. It considers how time can be found and used productively for PD purposes. It argues that the most effective types of professional development activity are those that directly meet individual needs as well as school-based needs and so a more personalised approach to PD is required, which can easily be linked to the statutory training days.

Item Type: Article
Controlled Keywords: Professional development , training for teachers, INSET, professional learning; teacher development; portfolios; reflection;, Schools and Teaching
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Early Years and Primary Education
IOE Departments > Departments > London Centre for Leadership in Learning
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2014 15:25
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 09:04
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