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Writing Your Own Professional Development Plan

Writing you own professional development plan

As the half term draws mercilessly towards its close, I started wondering about all those resolutions I made back in late last year and how they’ve fared – some well, some less well.

I suspect you may have made similar resolutions too. So if, like mine those good intentions have been swamped in a sea of workload, let’s take a moment to step back from it all and look afresh at where you want to get to, and what you need to do to do it.

What’s the Value in a Professional Development Plan?

As Dr Stephen Covey effective people plan with the end in mind. In a large part your ability to do your job, to succeed and to be happy in your work depend upon your ability to develop yourself to meet the many challenges you’ll face. Formalising this plan will help you clearly identify your goals and make sure you’ve got the ability to reach them. It’s amazing how lazy some goals are, and it’s not until you subject them to a moment’s thought that you find they are unrealistic and you’d have no idea when you reached it anyway.

So a Professional Development Plan allows you the opportunity to take to time to look at these crucial questions and analyse them on your terms.


What Does It Need to Contain?

Sample documents abound on the web. Actually the form doesn’t really matter providing it has space to log your current sttrengths and weaknesses, where you will need to be in the future, what your main goals are, and what support you will need to reach it.

What really matters is the thought that goes into understanding the answers to those questions. Even the most detailed form in the world, filled in mechanically and with little thought, can be completely useless.


How to Get to the Truth of It!

There’s a 90:10 rule here. 90% of your time should be spent asking your colleagues for their opinions, reviewing your student data, just thinking about your key strengths and weaknesses, and understanding what your future demands are going to be. It doesn’t have to take years of work – most of the information already exists, it’s just about marshalling it into a coherent format.

Treat it like the old SEF – research it thoroughly, write it quickly, revisit it regularly. There’s no point in having a plan that sits at the bottom of your drawer.

But do take the time – I promise it might be the most productive time you ever spend!


If after you’ve written your plan you realise you need some support, we’ve got lots of courses that can help.


One response to “Writing Your Own Professional Development Plan”

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    Professional development plans are something that everyone knows will benefit them but never really get round to doing. Similar to creating a cv, it very really gets done until the last minute

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Tom Hesmondhalgh

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