Professional Development Plan for Teachers

October 25, 2019
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All teachers should have a professional development plan and actively work on achieving the goals they have identified. By following the steps you have put in place, you should gain the experience and develop the skills required to do so. For example, your goal may be to become a head of department, or a member of pastoral care, and so you need to outline what you will do to gain this position in your plan.

What is a Professional Development Plan?

A professional development plan is a documented record of an individual’s career aspirations and progressions. It may be referred to as a PDP or CPD, with the latter an abbreviation of continuing professional development. Within your plan, you should outline what you wish to achieve and what you are going to do to develop your workplace skills and therefore reach your goals.

All teachers should be actively working on their professional development. Making time for your own development may be a challenge, but your employer should encourage and support you to professionally develop yourself.

Female teacher in a classroom helping students

How to Write a Professional Development Plan

There are 9 steps to completing a PDP:

  1. Assess where you are now.
  2. Identify your specific career goals.
  3. Gather information.
  4. Identify what professional skills you already have and which you need to work on.
  5. Choose how you will accomplish your goals.
  6. Develop a timeline for accomplishing your specific targets and goals.
  7. Write it all down.
  8. Evaluate your plan.
  9. Measure your progress.

Each of these stages is explained in more detail in our article Writing A Professional Development Plan – Example & Template.

Professional Development Ideas for Teachers

In the education sector, the plans are often referred to as continuing professional development for teachers. As a teacher, your professional development goals are likely to vary in comparison to your colleagues depending on how you personally want to progress. Your goals may relate to the job level or role you want to pursue. Or, you may instead want to specifically focus on developing your teaching style or capabilities.

Below, we have listed some potential professional development goals which you may want to consider.

  • To become a head of year.
  • To become a subject head.
  • To become a child behaviour specialist.
  • To develop my own ICT skills so I can confidentially share this knowledge with students and make the most of technology use in the classroom.
  • To learn how to provide support to special educational needs pupils and confidently give teacher support.
  • To address the individual learning styles of students and expand my teaching methods accordingly.

Always feel as though you can ask your employer for opportunities to develop yourself professionally; your capabilities will benefit the school just as much as it will benefit you as an individual.

Teacher at a laptop making her professional development plan

How to Achieve your Development Goals

While you are likely to have professional development goals that differ to those listed above, the methods of improving your capabilities and achieving your goals is likely to be through similar means. Your development can take place through various forms. The most popular options are listed below, but other methods may be available to you at your school.

Qualification courses

You can gain professional qualifications having completed either online or face-to-face training. Courses provide the practical information you need to then take action and develop yourself in the areas you have addressed. They will vary greatly in length and content, so it’s essential that you find the one that is best for you.

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CPD Courses for Professional Development

We provide a wide variety of online CPD courses for teachers, from Designated Safeguarding Lead to Challenging Behaviour Training. All of our courses contribute to CPD hours and can be taken on any device at your own pace.

Mentoring and peer observation

You are guaranteed to learn something by shadowing your colleagues, whether they are of a higher level or not. You may witness teaching methods that successfully engage pupils with a difficult topic, or be able to take note of a particular strategy for managing disruptive pupils.

Both the observer and the teacher being shadowed are likely to benefit from peer observation. Therefore, being observed by a colleague and given constructive feedback you could also develop yourself.

Observation visits to other schools

Visiting other schools will have a similar effect to shadowing your own colleagues, but is likely to also have additional learning benefits. For example, a different school may encourage different teaching strategies and behaviours. You can then take this knowledge back to your own school and trial new ways of teaching.


Workshops on a subject matter, methods or other education-related topics are a useful platform for teachers to discuss their own experiences as well as learn. They may be led by an external specialist, or hosted by one of the teachers. Such discussions also provide teachers with an opportunity for internal reflection and you may get a lot more out of this type of development than you’d expect.

Education conferences and seminars

This type of learning will allow you to develop in a particular area that you personally recognise as challenging. They also provide you with an opportunity to meet and discuss teaching methods and your own development with other teaching professionals.


Your professional development is primarily your own responsibility. You may find that carrying out your own research, in the form of reading online materials such as reports, helps you to develop. Useful websites include the following pages of the UK Government Publications and Teaching English. You can also carry out research with your colleagues as a project. Or, you may find online communities of teachers, such as on blogs, a useful means of developing yourself professionally.

Teachers talking at a conference

Free Professional Development Plan for Teachers

You can download an example professional development plan for teachers by clicking the button below:

We have also created a professional development plan template that you can use to fill in your own goals and how you’ll achieve them.

Your professional development as a teacher is something you should be continuously working on. Like any form of learning or development, how you go about achieving your development goals will take many forms. You may find that you develop best when seeing things in practice, such as by shadowing other colleagues and learning this way. Whatever form your development takes, it is important that is effective for you and you can apply what you’ve learnt in the classroom.

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