What is continuing professional development (CPD)?
Continuing professional development is any activity, formal or informal, that helps you develop skills and knowledge to help you professionally and personally throughout the course of your career. We believe that good quality CPD for school support staff is vitally important. CPD can be accessed and delivered in many ways including:
• training courses and workshops
• studying for a qualification or accreditation
• online courses/webinars/podcasts
• observation (as either observer or person being observed)
• shadowing a colleague
• peer group exchange, in person or via social media
• visiting other schools/colleges
• attending exhibitions and conferences
• international visits and exchanges
• self-reflection, personal reading or research.
Learning with UNISON
Learning through UNISON can help you develop your confidence, skills and knowledge to become more active and involved in issues that concern you, to help you tackle change & uncertainty at work, and to progress in your career or for fun and personal development. Our learning opportunities include the award-winning Return to Learn programme, provided by the union, and others provided through learning partnerships, negotiated with your employer and leading education providers. In all cases, you can be confident of receiving the best possible tuition and support. Your UNISON Union Learning Rep or Branch Education Co-ordinator will know about local opportunities through your branch.
- Download the booklet 'Learning Together in Schools' to find out more about our courses.
- You can also find contact details for your area here.
- For more information on learning with UNISON, visit the learning pages on the UNISON website
Database of professional development resources
How should I use the listings? You can browse the listings and rank them according to their star rating, name, and latest items. The star ratings show the average score given to a listing by those who have publicly reviewed the listing. Click on any listing to find out more about providers' offerings and read the attached reviews. To search according to location, select "Location" from the categories on the right hand side and input your postcode.
What should I bear in mind when choosing an external provider? A recent review of the international research into effective professional development, commissioned by the Teacher Development Trust, showed that effective professional development is focussed on student outcomes and incorporates a variety of design and content elements. Find out what constitutes effective professional development in our summary of the research here, including advice on which questions to ask providers before commissioning their support.
Search for school support staff courses
Use the course search provided by the National Careers Service to look for different types of learning opportunities. All providers are contracted with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and include colleges, training providers and local authorities. If you're not sure what to search for, have a look at the job profile most closely related to your job on the Roles in schools pages of this website for information about relevant qualifications, or use key words relevant to the job you are interested in, for example 'teaching assistant'. The National Careers Service offers advice about careers and skills in England. For careers advice in other parts of the UK visit: