The Importance of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in the Early Years

Early Years Alliance
18th January 2024

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In any profession, it is recognised that once an individual has gained relevant industry qualifications, it is vital that they then continuously reflect and build on their existing knowledge and skills.

The early years sector is forever evolving as new thinking develops and changes in statutory requirements come into effect, and as professionals, educators need to take a proactive approach in keeping up to date and stretching and challenging themselves with new knowledge.

The value of supporting CPD in your setting

Educators who demonstrate a commitment to ongoing learning are more to likely benefit from having greater confidence, higher motivation in their career choice and increased job satisfaction.

As an employer, it is essential to ensure that educators are given the opportunity to refresh their knowledge and skills, enhance their learning on specific aspects of their role and be briefed on new developments within the industry so that they can provide consistently high-quality education and care. Offering CPD opportunities to educators may also help staff retention as it demonstrates to individuals that you as their employer value and support their learning and development.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework 2024 (EYFS) states: “Providers must support staff to undertake appropriate training and professional development opportunities to ensure they offer quality learning and development experiences for children that continually improves.”  (3.26)

CPD and Ofsted

During inspections, Ofsted will collect evidence relating to the effectiveness of any CPD and how this has impacted on learning and development and wellbeing. The ‘outstanding’ grade descriptor for Leadership and Management in the Early Years Inspection Handbook (January 2024) states: “Leaders ensure that they and practitioners receive focused and highly effective professional development. Practitioners’ subject, pedagogical content and knowledge consistently builds and develops over time, and this consistently translates into improvements in the teaching of the curriculum.”

Taking this into account, providers need to consider how they are going to put this into practice. Is CPD discussed and recorded during supervision meetings, and shared at team meetings? Are ideas implemented within the setting?

Of course, it can be difficult to release educators to attend training when staffing levels are low and everyone is needed in ratio. Some providers also find it a financial struggle to cover the cost of training and back-filling to allow educators to attend courses. That’s why the Early Years Alliance look to deliver creative, diverse training options to support providers to meet the statutory requirements for CPD – and why we have had a price freeze on all virtual and face-to-face CPD for the last four years and have committed to do the same for 2024.

Our current CPD offer includes:

  • Alliance Virtual Classrooms: These comprehensive online training sessions cover a range of topics, including Ofsted, safeguarding and supporting children with SEND. Better still, in response to your feedback, the most popular Virtual Classrooms topics are now repeated throughout the year, meaning you can book your chosen course on a time and date that suits you.
  • Alliance Insights: Alliance Insights are the perfect combination of training and networking for early years providers. These virtual sessions last for one hour and cover a range of early years topics on all aspects of business management and early years practice, including effective supervisions, business health checks, budgeting and becoming a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO).
  • Alliance Spotlights: These bite-sized pre-recorded webinar sessions take an in-depth look at key early years topics, and are available as part of our CPD Spotlight Collections or, from 1 February, as single recordings. These informative presentations can be used individually or as part of staff meetings, with regular ‘pause for thought’ moments includes to allow educators to reflect key elements as a team.
  • Alliance Toolkits: These resources provide a comprehensive overview of key early years topics, underpinned by an interactive framework which links to a range of resources, including mini-guides, articles, short recording and legislative guides. The toolkits can be used by whole teams, allowing individual educators to take the lead on a specific subject, use the aims to break this down into bite-size sections and guide the professional development of the team.Our most recent toolkit, ‘Supporting Multilingual Children and Families’ toolkit, is available via the Alliance Shop.
  • Under 5 magazine: Each issue of our membership magazine, published 10 times a year, is packed full of informative, easy-to-read, inspirational articles to support your early years practice.

Other low-cost steps you can take to support your professional development include:

  • Following early years experts on socials as they often post blogs and case studies
  • Implementing peer-on-peer support or a mentoring scheme to encourage reflective practice
  • Attending networking events – these may be free and delivered virtually, and may have a theme, but more importantly, they provide you with an opportunity to hear and share ideas with other educators. Early years events like Childcare and Education Expo, and the Alliance’s Connect Roadshows, offer a fantastic opportunity for educators to connect with others in the industry and attend a wider range of seminars focused on professional development and best practice.

If you would like to find out more about how the Alliance can support your CPD, visit the Alliance website or access our free Training Toolbox, which provides a range of materials and resources including a calendar of events for the full academic year, a training and development plan template and an individual training record for you to use with your team.

Why attend Childcare & Education Expo?

Join over 2,500 like-minded individuals from the early years & primary sector who are dedicated to improving their practice and their education settings.

Attend educational seminars and panel discussions to credit your CPD

Meet the experts to have your questions answered

Receive fantastic onsite offers and discounts

Experience expert-led informative hands-on workshops

Network with peers and industry players

Pick up hundreds of new products, resources, ideas and services

And most of all, enjoy a great day out with your colleagues

100+ exhibitors | 1000s of industry players | 100s of experts