2020-07-21 05:30:00

PD in schools should not be stopped by a global health pandemic

By Richard Le Bas

While we grapple with the continuity of learning for students, we also need to consider our teachers. How can we ensure the continuity of their professional development (PD)?

There's been a lot of discussion about remote learning in schools, specifically, how it affects students and the overall quality of their educational experience. Despite the considerable challenges that have been thrown at the education sector in recent times, we continue to see example upon example of students living the resilience and flexibility we seek to instill as core values within our school communities.

While the debate continues about how to best ensure continuity of learning in a global health pandemic, we also need to be asking: what about teachers? How can they cope in this environment and how can we ensure the continuity of their professional development (PD)?

Adapting your flexible forms capability to increase opportunities for PD can be done without compromising the myriad of compliance obligations you need to adhere to, or compromising best practice solutions your school has worked hard to implement.

Recent surveys conducted by EdSmart partner CompliSpace produced some crucial findings of the weighting given to PD in schools. According to these surveys, schools see PD as a valuable way to provide staff development (88 percent) and better teaching delivery to students (85 percent). More than 70 percent of survey respondents also said that they valued PD for its contribution to improving staff wellbeing.

How can EdSmart help with ongoing professional development for school staff?

EdSmart's School Organisation System goes well beyond just facilitating essential communication within a school’s community. Our School Forms feature empowers schools to develop and build forms for internal procedures and administrative tasks (e.g. staff leave applications, payroll advice, etc.). Additionally, administering, conducting and recording/filing staff PD opportunities is an important capability the EdSmart platform has at its disposal.

With the growth in online learning and increased availability of courses, we've been helping many schools redesign their forms to accommodate professional development. Flexibility is valued at many institutions and our flexible form of technology allows schools to integrate and streamline administrative processes according to best-practice methods.

Using EdSmart’s flexible forms, teachers and non-teaching staff can apply for PD opportunities online. As part of the application process, the platform can also provide all the necessary info to line managers and finance teams for electronic approval that doesn’t compromise internal risk management, OH&S guidelines and other statutory obligations.

EdSmart can develop forms with you that incorporate important information such as the course materials, cost and dates, while supporting the associated processes that arise when staff undertakes professional development. For example, we can work with you to ensure information is AUTOMATICALLY sent to your school’s relief manager who can organise cover for lessons missed by the staff member. 

The Relief Manager can also be part of the approval process to ensure the required staff numbers for any particular day.

A PD form could look something like this:

PD form example

Other uses for EdSmart School Forms?

Professional Development forms are just one use for EdSmart’s School Forms. Other common applications are annual leave forms, risk assessments, new starter forms, prospective student information packs and excursion request forms. But what is common in your school is not necessarily common across-the-board so EdSmart School Forms are designed to be as flexible as you need them to be.

If you require any assistance with your School Forms or interested in adding School Forms to your account, please contact Richard Le Bas: richard@edsmart.com