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All you need to know about CPD in early years

date March 5, 2020Rebecca Martland

We know that learning and CPD for early years practitioners can be a bit of a minefield in terms of what you need to know and how best to keep on top of it all.   So we’ve asked our early years expert Rebecca Martland to help clarify a few points and answer some frequently asked questions with the aim of supporting your own learning and development.  We hope this information will help you deliver best practice in your setting and to be prepared for an Ofsted inspection.

What is CPD?

CPD is short for ‘continuing (or continuous) professional development’. This describes the activities you undertake to develop your abilities and understanding in your professional role. It refers to everything you do to improve your skills, remind yourself of things you have forgotten and update your current knowledge and understanding.

Effective CPD involves a process of identifying gaps in what you can do and what you know; finding ways to fill those gaps; then reflecting on the impact this has had on both your practice and the children you care for. It is a cyclical process that never ends as there is always something new to learn.

Why is CPD important? Why should I do it?

It helps you keep up to date
We live in a rapidly changing world, with new legislation, theories and technologies being introduced seemingly every day. Through regular CPD you can keep up to date with these changes and know the implications for you and the children in your care. Similarly, learning about theories developed by early years pioneers, such as Froebel, Piaget and Vygotsky, can help you to understand how current practices have come about and to assess their benefits and shortcomings and relevance to your practice.

It helps you improve your skills

CPD enables you to adapt your ideas and teaching in light of new information. Knowing why we do something and reflecting on this invariably helps us to do it better.  This will inevitably have a positive impact on the children in your care.

It boosts your confidence

Regular CPD leads to enhanced self-confidence and improved practice. It enables you to develop your competence in caring for young children and helps you to demonstrate your commitment in this role. Doing accredited training can lead to higher qualifications and achieving your career goals. It is often a requirement for membership of quality assurance programmes and professional bodies, such as PACEY.

It is a professional requirement

The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) makes ongoing CPD training a requirement and explains why this is important:

‘’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.’’

How do I complete CPD? What counts?

CPD can take many forms. It can be interactive, such as attending a training course, or self-directed, such as reading an article online. It can be planned, with specific learning intentions in mind or ad hoc, such as when the title of an article catches your eye whilst browsing social media. The important thing is that you benefit from it and that it has a positive impact on the children in your care.

Examples of CPD include:
  • Classroom-based courses and workshops
  • Conferences
  • Staff training sessions
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Observing others
  • Professional discussions with colleagues
  • Articles in magazines, newspapers and online
  • Newsletters
  • Books and journals
  • Webinars, such as those on Kinderly Learn
  • Online learning, such as Kinderly Learn, or distance learning
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs (such as this one)

As a minimum, I aim to attend one conference per year, two or three face-to- face training sessions or webinars per term, and read three or four articles per week. I always have a book on the go, and I check the news and social media updates daily. I am also signed up to receive numerous newsletters and alerts including from, Ofsted, PACEY, the Early Years Alliance, NDNA, my Local Safeguarding Partnership and the NSPCC.

What CPD is expected?

woman writing down notes on a journal

There are no specific rules regarding how much time you should spend on CPD. Section three of the EYFS however, sets out certain training requirements that early years practitioners must meet, including:

  • Minimum qualification levels for managers and staff in group settings
  • A course that enables childminders to understand and implement the EYFS
    • The type and content of this is not specified by Ofsted and does not require Local Authority approval
  • Food hygiene training for all practitioners in group settings
    • Local Environmental Health Departments may have their own requirements for childminder training and may set out how often food safety training is renewed
  • First aid training requirements
    • Childminders must hold a current, 12 hour paediatric First Aid Certificate which is renewed every three years
    • In group settings all L2 and L3 staff who qualified after 30 June 2016 must complete a full or emergency paediatric First Aid certificate within 3 months of starting work in order to be counted in ratioAt least one person with a current, 12 hour, paediatric First Aid Certificate must be present at all times and on outings in a group setting
  • Safeguarding training
    • Childminders and lead practitioners must have attended child protection training and take into account advice from the Local Safeguarding Partners or Local Authority on appropriate courses. Other staff must have safeguarding training provided and all practitioners must keep their knowledge up to date. How this is to be done is not specified by the EYFS.
    • Additional guidance on safeguarding training can be found in the document, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ which is statutory for schools and good practice for Early Years settings
  • Induction training: in addition to the above
    • Emergency evacuation
    • Health & safety

What will Ofsted want to see?

As part of the new Education Inspection Framework (EIF) Ofsted inspectors will want to discuss with you how you evaluate your setting and practice, and how you use this to inform your professional development. Whilst there is no longer a requirement to produce a written self-evaluation form, it is helpful to keep some basic notes to remind you of what training you have completed, why you did it, what you changed or implemented as a consequence and what the impact was on the children.

This links closely to the Ofsted concept of the 3 I’s of curriculum, but instead of thinking about a curriculum for the child you are thinking about your own, self-directed curriculum:

  • Intent:
    • What have you identified that you would like to learn?
    • What would help you?
    • How will you achieve this?
  • Implement:
    • What are you doing to gain the new knowledge? e.g. attending a course, reading an article
  • Impact:
    • What effect has this had on your practice?
    • What do you know that you didn’t before?
    • What are you doing differently now?
    • How has this benefitted the children in your care?

How can Kinderly Learn help me to keep up to date?

Kinderly Learn is a unique online CPD platform and has been developed with early years experts to help early years professionals keep on top of their CPD.   Kinderly Learn recognises that time is often at a premium and so enables learners to complete their CPD at a time, place and pace to suit them.

There are live expert webinars every week, with over 200+ available to watch on-demand, plus over 400 courses which are designed to be flexible so you can do them at any time – as well as making learning fun and engaging. Keeping up to date, organised and informed has never been easier!

Rebecca Martland

Rebecca has over 18 years’ experience in the early years sector, as a registered childminder; early years trainer, consultant and author. She is a qualified teacher and Early Years Professional and is Kinderly’s resident ‘expert’ on the Kinderly Learn platform.

Rebecca is a staunch advocate of play based, child-centred education and childcare. This philosophy is at the centre of her training and a message she shares widely as an active member of the early years community. Find out more at:


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