Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
Loreto Crest

Staff Development Policy

This policy statement is a set of guiding principles to govern practice in Staff Development in Loreto College.   It is important that all staff working for the school understand that his/her role contributes to the school’s success – both teaching and non-teaching staff.

Staff Development means empowering members of staff with the skills and knowledge required for the effective and efficient delivery of the school's curriculum. Through the opportunity for enhanced professional and personal development, teachers and other staff are enabled to teach effectively and to create the environment in which the aims of the school may be realised.
The process of development is most effective when each person takes responsibility for his or her own progress.  Prime responsibility for learning rests with the individual, in partnership, wherever possible, with team leaders.   Such leadership responsibilities are detailed in the job descriptions.
The leadership of the school is committed to supporting the development of all staff, and in particular to the maintenance of a culture of life-long learning which encourages teachers to become reflective practitioners.  The culture and ethos of Loreto is one of our most significant strengths - and this policy recognises that effective staff development takes place in every informal exchange between professionals in our open, friendly and supportive environment.  Celebration of achievement at all levels is also seen as important.

The Staff Development Policy aims:
• to  increase the effectiveness of  teaching and learning 
• to improve administration and management at all levels
• to provide for personal professional development and enhanced promotional opportunity
• to respond to the changing nature of the educational process
• to utilise existing staff expertise
• to motivate staff and increase job satisfaction

Teaching Staff

The Staff Development Programme is based on the identified short term and long term needs of the school.  Communication between the School Leadership Team, individual teachers, Heads of Department and the Curriculum Development Committee on the subject of Staff Development is encouraged.

Staff Development needs, individual, group and whole school, are identified at various levels and by different groups.  Often there will be links to issues identified as priorities at varying levels – Government, NEELB, School Development and Department Plans.  Individual job descriptions may also provide a focus.

 INSET needs may emerge from individual initiative, Departmental Meetings, Curriculum Development Committee, School Leadership Team, HMI and DENI recommendations and whole staff discussion.

The school considers that personal professional development is of fundamental importance in enabling teachers to carry out their professional duties effectively. Teachers are invited to make their needs known so that appropriate expertise may be recruited.

Membership of the Loreto Network and access to the services of the Loreto Education Officer and to the courses organised by the Education Office are considered an important link in the process of harmonising the academic, social and spiritual aims of the school.

Matching Provision To Needs

Whole school

It is the school's policy to promote Staff Development, both personal and professional, by providing INSET days on a variety of issues.   SLT identifies priorities in Staff Development after consultation with other bodies, internal and external, including school governors.  Before the beginning of each academic year INSET days are designated and where appropriate, their content planned.  Often the focus will be on issues in the school development plan, or on coping with new initiatives.  Individual members of staff are also encouraged to suggest topics for INSET, and to keep SLT informed of useful or inspiring speakers who may be available to deliver INSET.  Wherever possible, one aim is to utilise existing staff expertise.

Senior Leaders monitor and evaluate the provision of Staff Development on whole school issues.


Those who are team leaders may avail of INSET provided by NEELB, exam boards and similar bodies. This may involve all teachers in a team, but the team leader in consultation with the teachers will usually delegate one or two teachers to attend and pass on relevant information to the whole group.  It is expected that all teachers will, over the course of a number of years, attend some subject specific training on behalf of the department.  Occasionally whole teams are given a day out of school to work on pressing issues.

Specific subject provision is monitored and evaluated by Heads of Department.  A statement of in-service training is included in the Annual Report of each Department.


One recurring theme in this policy is the desire to cater for individual needs, so as much as possible INSET decisions are devolved to individuals, not centralised with SLT or HODs.
Individual teachers are encouraged to identify and inform the HOD of courses which match their training needs.  Individuals are asked to report back, using the form provided, to Head of Department and the Principal on the relevance and value of courses attended.
The model for most of this training may be the traditional one day course, but as a staff we need to maximise the opportunities for our own development in situations other than the traditional one day course in school time.  The range of professional development options that could be useful include:

• liaison meetings with other schools
• visits to other schools
• mentoring or working closely in partnership with another teacher
• delegation
• shadowing a teacher
• observing a range of teachers in the classroom
• inviting a colleague to observe your teaching

Almost all teachers at some point in their careers choose to attend courses out of school or by distance learning that may be linked to external qualifications or standards.  The benefits of this for the school as well as for the teachers’ career prospects are recognised, and the BOG have agreed to set aside a sum of money each year to provide partial support for the fees involved - subject to the constraints imposed by limited resources.
Teachers may also suggest resources (books, videos etc) for the staff library, and this may be the most useful way to provide material on cross-curricular issues without stressing department budgets.

Newly Qualified Teachers and Beginning Teachers

The school provides an induction programme for Newly Qualified Teachers and Beginning Teachers. One product of this is the Personal Portfolio. A Vice Principal has responsibility for supervising the induction of Newly Qualified Teachers over a three year period.
Year 1- Newly Qualified Teacher
Year 2 & 3 - Early Professional Development 1 & 2

Substitute teachers and new members of staff are fully briefed through the Staff Handbook (an abbreviated form is given to each substitute teacher for quick reference).

Evaluating Staff Performance

The process of evaluation must in a learning school be part of every activity,  and a culture of reflection is central in a Loreto school.  This will be supported by our more formal evaluation procedures.

PRSD has been part of whole school professional development since its inception and has become part of the regular performance review practices in the school – for all teachers except NQTs and EPDs. Teachers have already found that PRSD has made a valuable contribution to their threshold application, but they are also aware of the limitations of the PRSD model.  It is likely that before long new review procedures for performance management will be agreed between unions and employers. It is envisaged that PRSD will evolve into Performance Management, and our procedures will have to adapt to the new reality in order to ensure that teachers can gain access to higher pay scales.

It is not possible to anticipate what form the new model will take in every detail, but we should anticipate the requirement that teachers will have to produce evidence of effective performance – esp. in the area of teaching and learning – and that this evidence will have to be “robust and precise” (OFSTED)  in order to pass rigorous analysis.

Evidence in personal portfolios may take many forms so while the following suggestions may be useful in showing the impact of training on the performance of staff and pupils, the list is not exhaustive:

• a record of INSET or other professional development activities
• lesson observation sheets – including one by a team leader such as HOD or HOY
• resources created and shared
• evidence of pupil progress such as exam results
• evidence of effective use of pupil performance data to develop targets for pupils that are challenging but achievable
• curriculum initiatives eg to move some way along the new Pathways

Non-teaching Staff

Staff development of non-teaching staff will follow the same model:

• identifying training needs
• providing training
• evaluation

It will be the responsibility of the individual and the team leader to identify training needs.  The review cycle for non-teaching staff is likely to be the main but not the only vehicle for identifying training needs and evaluating the effectiveness of such provision. Non-teaching staff should in the first instance bring any suggestions for support in developing their roles to the team leader; and this support can, as with teachers, be focused on individuals or groups, and can take place in school or at courses provided by outside bodies. It is the responsibility of the team leader to ensure that Health and Safety requirements are met e.g when training is needed for operating new equipment.


This policy will be reviewed on a regular basis.