Professional Exchange Continuing Professional Development (CPD)


We are delighted to announce that the TSNLA has won one of five contracts to develop a Professional Exchange funded by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF). The project will take place from now until the 31 July 2017 – and hopefully beyond this.

The Exchange is in partnership with Enable in the East Midlands, V learning Net and ODILS (Open Doors International Language School) in the South West, and London Learning Consortium and ELATT Connected Learning in London and the South East.

The project is based on key elements such as exchange of experience and knowledge, a 'bottom-up' approach to identifying Continuing Professional Development needs, the integration of the Professional Standards and extended reach through participant sharing.  The Exchange will build around one national and three regional professional networks, and deliver free at the point of delivery face-to-face CPD sessions, having identified needs through pre-participating self assessment questionnaires.

The Exchange is based on key elements including:

  • Creating a CPD Champion role within each of the regional partners
  • An exchange of experience and knowledge – drawing on practitioners' own experience and skills
  • A 'bottom-up' approach to identifying Continuing Professional Development needs – as well as drawing on local knowledge, national policy and the work of the OTLA projects (Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment) and the Regional Specialist Leads in English and Maths
  • The integration of the ETF Professional Standards
  • Extended reach through participant sharing – with an active role for participants to cascade the learning to colleagues, teams and networks
  • Demonstrating how CPD learning is put into practice to the benefit of learners

One of the key features of the programme will be in calling on participants to share their own knowledge and expertise (hence the 'Exchange') both through initial CPD delivery and by sharing the content afterwards with at least two other colleagues.

If you would like to register interest or find out more about this CPD project, please contact John Harris at the TSNLA.  

January 2018 Update

The Third Sector Professional Exchange is funded by the Education and Training Foundation as part of their responsibility to improve the quality of teaching and learning in adult learning settings. There are several Exchanges operating throughout England, mostly in the FE college sector and all bigger projects than the Third Sector one.

The TSNLA is the project manager for the Exchange and delighted to be working with two delivery partners: the WEA as a national provider of learning and Humber Learning Consortium (HLC) operating as a managing agent of 45 small providers in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The Exchange is based on learning groups working with a theme over 4 meetings (face to face and virtual), seeking to make the process as much of an ‘Exchange’ as possible through interactive methods and participants being encouraged to cascade their learning to colleagues. All learning methods are placed within the context of the Professional Standards for FE Teachers (produced by the ETF).

Independently, both partners have opted to focus on RARPA (recognising and recording progress and achievement) – largely because each provider or provider system is focussing on their delivery of non-accredited learning. For the WEA the focus is on art and history tutors and for HLC it is providers working mostly on the Building Better Opportunities programme. The WEA cohort is working with typically older learners, learning for leisure and pleasure and who are well qualified and often difficult to engage in questions such as progression in learning. The HLC cohort is working with learners aged 25+ who are typically lacking in formal qualifications and want to progress.

Both WEA and HLC held very positive first sessions in December, using a variety of approaches to determine participant’s knowledge of RARPA and to explore what goals would be useful to pursue that would progress both individual participants and organisations. One example of this is to explore how learning outcomes could be made SMARTER (specific, measurable, achievable, time bound) as well as open to learner or student input and linked to softer outcomes.

Part of the project is to identify and share both learning from this process and useful tools and resources which underpin the programme. Participants will also keep a simple learning journal and assess progress against three elements of the professional standards over the life of the group.

The Professional Standards:


RARPA updated 2017 guidance:


For more information contact John Harris on john.harris@thirdsectorconsultancy.org and 01943 463047


May 2017 Update

 So far the project has delivered 9 out of 10 CPD workshops:

 ·       Using Technology in teaching and learning

·       Functional Skills in problem-solving

·       Using an online peer review model

·       Supporting learners with additional support needs

There have been 123 enthusiastic delegates at the 9 workshops and there is one more workshop to come. Our target number is to involve at least 135 delegates. All delegates taking part are asked to complete three stages of an evaluation process. The process is designed to capture some of the impact of experiencing the CPD on offer.

Participants are asked to record their thoughts about the learning and the implementation of this learning in relation to how this has affected their teaching practice with learners. They are also expected to go away from the CPD sessions and share this learning with at least two other colleagues in some way.

Partner organisations are currently gathering this data from the 123 participants, but initial data suggests that the sharing with other colleagues is progressing well. We will have more information on this shortly.

 Here are some comments on the impact of the CPD on delegate’s practice:

 ‘At the event I learnt about useful Dyslexia Apps. I have shared this useful resource with colleagues. We have run a group training event to share with colleagues and have started to use these in groups.’

 ‘The key changes are how we record CPD and the level of detail we include which has led to a much greater level of sharing our CPD experiences with each other as a team.  This event has also highlighted how many CPD events that we do everyday within our roles and how we can maximise these, but more importantly how we can record these for our own and others benefit.’

 Here are some comments on the impact on learners:

 ‘I have extended the reach to learners on a global scale. 150 followers to 3.5K in 3 months.’

 ‘It is more enriching for them. They are also using this ICT in demonstrating some of their learning.’

 ‘My learners have benefited by my increased level of knowledge and experience which to me has always been at the heart of CPD in the first place.  However, this event has also provided me with a practical benefit for my learners as most of them have to complete a 'managing personal and professional development unit' in one form or another and many have listened to and adapted the practices that I picked up on the day, and as always just as my learners learn from me I am also learning from them.’