Developing regional partnerships through professional development

Mandy Winters, Westminster Institute of Education

This workshop will share and discuss how the recent TDA contract for developing postgraduate professional development for teachers has enabled a more flexible and needs-driven approach to CPD at Masters level to be developed across the region, and has therefore seen increased take-up of masters level programmes. It will demonstrate how this growth in, and approach to, postgraduate study has resulted in the development of new communities of practice within education across our region. Barriers to participation have been addressed from the start which has resulted in the creation of sustainable regional learning centres as a mode of delivery, as well as campus-based programmes. This network of regional learning centres is poisedto develop further new government and HEI initiatives and policy, and therefore extends our remit in terms of partnership activity. It provides a model of partnership working which is multi-dimensional and through which other strategic aims can be explored.

The workshop will also explore the strains which can arise between delivery off-site, programme structures and processes, and the need to link teaching with the research strengths of HEI tutors.

The method of presentation will include group exploration of key issues (discussion, diagrams etc.) interspersed with information concerning the growth of the project and key factors for future consideration. Participants will also be expected to contribute ideas towards approaching government proposals concerning flexible learning for working professionals in the future.

The workshop will be interesting to colleagues who wish to explore the development of networks as a mode of partnership activity, and who wish to consider the wide-ranging issues associated with large-scale postgraduate professional development.