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The Learning Institute

The Learning Institute

Education

These CPD activities are suitable for anyone working in, or interested in working in, an education setting. Topics covered include assessment,  reflective practice and outdoor learning.

Assessment and feedback: Peer and self assessment 

This CPD task seeks to help TAs and other practitioners to understand how peer and self assessment can be effectively used in the classroom to support learning.

Download Peer and self assessment here

Assessment and feedback: Supporting effective feedback 

Research shows that effective feedback is an important way of supporting the learning process. This CPD task seeks to support practitioners by helping them to understand some key principles of effective feedback practices and how these might be applied.

Download Supporting effective feedback here

Assessment and feedback: The use of questioning 

Questioning is an important technique used to support learning in the classroom. It is a technique that is used for a variety of reasons and this CPD is intended to give you an understanding of some of the different purposes of questioning and then consider how your own questioning techniques might be developed to promote learning and understanding.

Download The use of questioning here

Blended learning 

Home schooling and working has given people new experiences. This CPD explores how education can use this opportunity to provide alternative and effective learning experiences away from conventional environments.

Download Blended learning here

Mathematics: Encouraging a positive attitude towards learning maths 

Many children and young people experience a negative attitude towards learning mathematics.  This CPD task seeks to support practitioners by providing practical ideas to engage learners using thoughtful and relevant approaches.

Download Encouraging a positive attitude towards learning maths here 

Promoting the educational achievement of Looked After Children (LAC)/children in care 

The future life chances for many looked after children (LAC)/children in care can seem very bleak.  However with patience, support and guidance these children will make progress which opens up possibilities for a successful future.

Download Promoting the educational achievement of Looked After Children (LAC)/children in care here

Primary English: Reading - intervention work 

It is a statutory requirement for all maintained Key Stage 1 settings to teach reading via a systematic synthetic phonics approach. In addition, all settings, other than independent schools, are required to administer the Year 1 Phonic Screening test for all 5/6-year olds. This CPD is therefore based on an assumption that practitioners will in some ways already be familiar with the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics within their setting.

Many teaching assistants, in Key Stage 1 and 2, have the role of supporting learners whose reading is below expected level attainment, and for a minority of these learners a systematic phonic approach has not worked for them. However, if a learner fails the Year 1 phonic test, he/she is required to re-take the test again in Year 2. The dilemma for practitioners then, is do we do more of the same (i.e. teach the phonic programme again)?, or are there alternative routes to teach the skills required to become effective readers?

To make informed professional choices about teaching and learning, practitioners need to be knowledgeable about the subject area. This CPD aims to provide an introduction to some of the key issues around reading and the phonics debate.

Download Reading - intervention work here

The recovery curriculum
 

The debate around the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic for children and their education has been at the forefront of concerns over recent months. Many children have not attended their setting for over three months and are not set to return until September. The Government have pledged funding to help children ‘catch up’. But, the question is what will this programme of ‘catch up’ look like? What is meant by missed learning? What considerations should be taken to enable a positive transition into the new environment, routines and whatever the ‘new normal’ will be? This poses the question of what do children need? Is it curriculum subject catch up or social and emotional recovery?

The concept of a Recovery Curriculum for all settings is unprecedented. Practitioners need to be aware of the relevance and value of the considerations that need to be explored to support children’s social and emotional mental health. With a heightened state of anxiety (perhaps caused by change of routine and environment) some children may find it difficult to feel safe and secure. Psychologist Maslow, way back in 1943, argued that children need to feel safe and secure and their basic emotional needs met before effective learning takes place.

Download The recovery curriculum here

Reflective practice 

Research shows that reflection is an important way of supporting effective practice in a number of settings including education and health. Most settings have some form of performance management which requires reflection i.e. strengths and areas for development. Also, most roles in education and health entail supporting others to reflect on their learning and their practice. This CPD task seeks to support practitioners by helping them to understand some key principles of effective reflection and how a model of reflection can be applied.

Download Reflective practice here

Reflective practice: Using reflection to promote racial equality and justice in the classroom 

The current Covid-19 pandemic has prompted society to reflect on its attitudes to race and especially the disadvantages faced by many of the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities as deaths from the virus are higher in these groups. As educators, we are urged to reflect not only on our own attitudes but also our roles in raising awareness in schools.

Download Using reflection to promote racial equality and justice in the classroom here

Reflective practice: What does it mean to be an Educational Professional? (Parts 1 and 2) 

Being an Educational Professional demands that we are competent and confident wearing many hats. We must possess a range of skills, attributes and knowledge. Being human, we will be good in some areas and not as good in others. Being involved in ‘’Education’’ demands that we are responsive to change, hence the need for continued professional growth. Each of us are likely to need development in different areas. No matter what level we work at, it is important to regularly reflect upon our skills, knowledge and attributes.

This two-part series is designed to introduce the student to reflective practice and self-evaluation. 

Part One: The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) suggest that a “Coaching Wheel” is a valuable tool for supporting self-evaluation. It is argued that self-evaluation is a professional attribute that fosters professional growth. Additionally, it should support understanding of professional practice. Using a wheel can help to explore current reality and critically reflect on yourself as a professional and on your practice. In short: It helps you to reflect on what you have done and think about what you might do next. It can enable practitioners to learn from experience about themselves, their work, and the way they relate to others. It can also provide relatively safe and confidential ways to explore, examine and understand professional experiences in the quest for professional development.
Download What does it mean to be an Educational Professional?: Using a coaching wheel for reflection and self-evaluation here

Part Two: This task is designed to introduce the student to the concept of reflective practice. Reflection is a natural process. However, informed reflective practice is often argued as an ongoing constituent of being a ‘’Professional’’. It can enable practitioners to learn from experience about themselves, their work, and the way they relate to others. It can provide relatively safe and confidential ways to explore, examine and understand professional experiences in the quest for professional growth.

This activity is intended to help you explore and gain a better understanding of the range of skills, attributes and knowledge, relevant to you, in your quest to become a confident Educational Professional.

Download What does it mean to be an Educational Professional?: Using reflective practice here

Scaffolding independent learning 

Research in 2009 and reported in 2012 by Blatchford, Russell and Webster presented the alarming conclusion that the greater level of support given to a pupil by a Teaching Assistant (TA), the less academic progress they made in the course of a school year. The research suggested that this was largely due to TAs being underprepared for their duties and deployed inappropriately. For instance, in too many cases, pupils with the highest needs and at the greatest risk of not fulfilling their academic potential were taught almost exclusively by members of staff least qualified to do so. The report suggested that, as part of school efforts to better prepare and deploy TAs, they should be alerted to the counter-productive nature of focussing on helping pupils to get their work done rather than on what they are learning during any given activity. This CPD resource is designed to provide TAs (and any individuals responsible for supporting independent learning) with some advice about to work with learners so as to promote their learning and independence. The resource also provides guidance on how to record and report assessments of what learners have been able to do with different levels of support. The activities are derived from a set of materials from the maximisingtas.co.uk project.

Download Scaffolding independent learning here

Supporting children learning English as an Additional Language (Parts 1 and 2) 

In 2014 the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) audited training courses relating to English as an Additional Language (EAL) provision in 2011-12. They are running a new audit this year. In 2014 it was reported:

“EAL CPD and vocational training remains patchy, despite the increase in the numbers of pupils learning EAL since 2004.”

“There is a significant unmet demand for EAL training and CPD which is highly specific and closely related to individuals’ working context, this context includes the type of school, type of EAL learner and type of teaching work the participant is involved in.”

In surveyed schools only 3% of staff receiving specific training were non-teaching support staff.

These activities explore key principles for providing support to help practising TAs better meet the needs of children learning English as an Additional Language.

Download Supporting children learning EAL (Part 1) here
Download Supporting children learning EAL (Part 2) here

Supporting group working: collaborative learning
 

Research shows that group working is an important way of supporting effective learning though only if it is thoughtfully managed. This CPD task seeks to support practitioners by helping them to understand some key principles of effective collaborative group working and how these might be applied.

Download Supporting group working: collaborative learning here

Supporting primary science (Parts 1-3)
 

Science, together with English and mathematics, is a core subject within the national curriculum, therefore science should have a prominent place within the timetable. This CPD task seeks to support practitioners by helping them to understand the structure of primary science curriculum and learn ways to support pupils in practical science activities. There are three separate stand-alone parts to this CPD.

Part 1: The first part helps to give you an understanding of how the science curriculum is structured and effective ways in which you can support pupils in their learning.
Download Supporting primary science - Part 1: The curriculum and the value of talk in science here

Part 2: This second part helps to give you an understanding of the scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding element of the science curriculum. It will help you realise how important it is to use correct scientific vocabulary and recognise and address some of the misconceptions that children may have acquired.
Download Supporting primary science - Part 2: Scientific knowledge and understanding here

Part 3: This third part helps to give you an understanding of the Working Scientifically element of the science curriculum. It will help you realise how it should be integrated with knowledge and conceptual understanding. You will consider how best to support children when they are carrying out scientific enquiries.
Download Supporting primary science - Part 3: Working scientifically here

Supporting Speech, Language and Communication Needs (Parts 1-4) 

“The ability to communicate is an essential life skill for all children and young people and it underpins a child’s social, emotional and educational development.” (Bercow, 2008, p.6)

Speech, language and communication are important in almost everything we do. Being able to make our thoughts, ideas and needs known, things we like and dislike, interacting with others and making friends are critical life skills. However for many children and young people these skills are much more difficult to develop; they have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). Every child with a speech, language or communication need is different.

We have created a four-part series of CPD activities relating to SLCN.

Part 1: This CPD activity will help you to understand the difference between a difficulty in speech, to one in language or communication. You will reflect on provision in your setting.
Download Supporting Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) - Part 1 here

Part 2: Through an understanding of the language pyramid, this second CPD opportunity will further develop your understanding of the principles associated with language development. You will look at the profile of a child who struggles with speech, language or communication, and then at strategies that may support them.
Download Supporting Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) - Part 2 here

Part 3: This CPD activity will help you to explore how to communicate effectively with parents of children and young people with SLCN and to reflect on how this communication happens in your workplace.
Download Supporting Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) - Part 3 here

Part 4: This final part of our CPD series will help you to understand the difference between a difficulty in speech, to one in language or communication. You will look at the profile of a child and strategies that may support them.
Download Supporting Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) - Part 4 here

Taking learning outdoors (Parts 1-4) 

The purpose of this series of CPD activities relating to outdoor learning is to encourage practitioners to think more deeply about the role outdoor learning might have in the provision of a balanced and broadly based curriculum. It should also provide inspiration for parents, TAs and teachers to use outdoor contexts as part of their everyday teaching by making use of an outdoor environments, be it a garden, a school setting or a local open space as a free resource for outdoor learning.

The CPD is suitable for anyone working with - or wanting to work with - young children and/or anyone who simply has an interest in outdoor learning. It has been separated into parts, you can undertake all parts in turn as they can build on each other, or you can just undertake the particular part that is of most interest to you.

Part 1: Exploring the relevance and benefits of taking learning outside the classroom.
Download Taking learning outdoors Part 1: An introduction to outdoor learning here

Part 2: Exploring how a cross-curricular approach to outdoor learning might support school curriculum delivery, with a focus on maths.
Download Taking learning outdoors Part 2: A cross-curricular approach outdoors (maths) here

Part 3: Exploring the barriers and solutions to learning in the natural environment.Download Taking learning outdoors - Part 3: Overcoming barriers here

Part 4: Encouraging practitioners to think more deeply about the role outdoor learning might have in the support of health and wellbeing. This fourth part in the series explores how the act of ‘mindfulness’ or a ‘mindfulness approach’ can be adapted to deliver art in the natural environment by focussing attention to the present moment.
Download Taking learning outdoors - Part 4: Mindfulness through art here

Using metacognition to support effective learning 

Research shows helping learners to think about their own learning (metacognition) is an important way of supporting young people. This CPD task seeks to support practitioners by helping them to understand some key principles of metacognition and how these might be applied.

Download Using metacognition to support effective learning here

What do we mean by inclusive education?
 

Research shows that working to promote inclusivity is critical to ensuring children and young people have positive experiences not just in education but generally in their lives. This CPD task seeks to support practitioners by helping them to understand some key principles of inclusive education and how these might be applied.

Download What do we mean by inclusive education? here

Why work together?: Partnership working between parents and carers and schools
 

Parents and carers play a crucial role in supporting their children’s learning, and research shows that levels of parental and carer engagement are consistently associated with better academic outcomes. This CPD explores the reasons why partnerships between parents and carers and schools are so important, the barriers that can stop it being effective, and some of the strategies and activities that can address these barriers.

Download Why work together?: Partnership working between parents and carers and schools here

Why work together? The benefits and challenges of multi-agency/multi-disciplinary working 

The 2004 Children’s Act identified the need for a wide range of professionals, organisations, schools and other agencies to work together to support children, especially those with multiple or complex needs. A knowledge and understanding of how this works in practice, and the ingredients that make it successful, are important for all professionals working with children and young people, regardless of whether they are directly involved with this kind of collaborative working.

This CPD will therefore introduce you to some of the key professionals and their roles, and to explore what makes this kind of collaborative working successful.

Download Why work together? The benefits and challenges of multi-agency/multi-disciplinary working here