Continuing professional development (CPD) is an essential tool to improve teaching and leadership in schools and trusts. Governing boards can help to establish a culture where the CPD of leaders, teachers and other staff is both valued and prioritised.

Meeting the CPD needs of your executive leader

Chairs have an important role in supporting their executive leader (headteacher or chief executive) to identify and access the CPD they need. Those involved in appointing an executive leader can set the tone by ensuring they receive an effective induction. Our recruitment toolkit includes an induction checklist to support this process.

Those involved in appraisal of their executive leader should encourage discussion about CPD needs, how they support the achievement of objectives and wider professional growth. This might touch upon:

  • Courses
  • Networking and events
  • Shadowing opportunities
  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Peer support

These topics are explored further in our guidance for chairs:

Download chair's guide to executive leader development (PDF)

Funded National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)

From the autumn of 2021, teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools can access fully funded National professional qualifications (NPQs) from the DfE. We encourage boards to discuss with their executive leader how the programmes summarised below might meet their development needs.

Leading teacher development  for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading the development of other teachers in their school
Leading teaching  for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading teaching in a subject, year group, key stage, or phase
Leading behaviour and culture for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading behaviour or supporting pupil wellbeing in their school
Senior leadership for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities
Headship for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school
Executive leadership  for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher or have a school trust CEO role with responsibility for leading several schools

A list of training providers is available on the gov.uk website.

Other CPD providers

As well as funded NPQs, there are a range of development programmes available for leaders and teachers. For example, Chartered College of Teaching offers a variety of professional learning opportunities, as do professional associations like the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).

Mentoring, coaching and peer support

HeadsUp4HTs is a diverse network of experienced headteachers and coaches offering peer support sessions. This network is useful to headteachers who are interested in a creative approach to resolving challenges and achieving their goals. HeadsUp4HTs can also help headteachers to connect to other professionals to establish a mentoring and/or coaching relationship.

Further reading

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