Continuous Professional Learning
In addition to staff qualifications, CPL is an essential component of ELC quality. Evidence suggests that good quality CPL helps ensure staff are aware of best practice and continually supported in the workplace. This reduces staff turnover and there is even some evidence that this can have a greater impact on quality than practitioners' initial training and education.
The SSSC Code of Practice for Social Service Workers requires workers to take responsibility for maintaining and improving their knowledge and skills. During every 5 year registration period the SSSC requires practitioners to complete 60 hours or 10 days of CPL. The amount of training and learning is in days and hours to show that the time does not have to be made up of full days of activity. For the purpose of CPL one day equals six hours.
The SSSC has developed a new system for CPL which they formally referred to as Post Registration Training and Learning (PRTL). Through the new system you can record learning in a way which suits you, and a MyLearning App is also available to support this. Whilst it is important that you tell the SSSC about any learning and development you have undertaken, it is equally important that you tell them what you have learned and how this has impacted on your work.
ELC settings have a statutory requirement to ensure that staff engage in appropriate induction and training to undertake their role and this is something that the Care Inspectorate monitor in inspections. Your employers will therefore be able to advise you on relevant CPL for your role and of courses that should be available to you locally.
The Scottish Government, in partnership with the Care Inspectorate, has developed a Directory of CPL for ELC opportunities to help you to identify and plan your professional learning throughout your career; before, after and while pursuing formal qualifications. The directory is designed to simplify the process for you to identify the full range of flexible, and part-time, learning and development opportunities available, and allow you to search for opportunities by theme and locality.
We have also developed and launched a suite of free online CPL modules with support from leading partners, with more under development. The courses aim to support learning through the use of forums, interactive video clips, podcasts, online quizzes and live webinars. They are accessible as virtual and distance models, providing flexible and affordable learning for all practitioners. The full suite on modules can be found in the directory or on the Scottish Government website.
In addition, because we know of the benefits of outdoor learning, exercise and play for young children, Scotland's Outdoor Learning Directory coordinates a number of partners – including Scottish Forestry, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Historic Environment Scotland and national parks - to provide a single portal to services supporting outdoor learning. This includes access to a wide range of training opportunities and events. Another particularly useful resource to support more use of the outdoors is Out To Play; a How to Guide which builds on the range of existing publications and provides the important step-by-step, practical advice, designed to be used by childminders, schools and out of school care settings who are looking to utilise local greenspace to enhance children's learning.