Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

As the only professional body for all teachers and trainers across the breadth of FE and Training, SET is committed to the ongoing professionalisation of the sector through the following three key pillars:

  • Professional Standards 
  • Code of Ethics and Conduct 
  • Continuing Professional Development of our members  

Membership of SET is a recognised benchmark of professionalism, illustrated through the various grades of membership and associated post-nominals. We set high standards of entry to professional membership (Associate, Member and Fellow) which includes a clear commitment to CPD.   

Following the removal of the further education (FE) workforce regulations in 2012, it is no longer a mandatory requirement for all teachers and trainers in the Further Education and Training sector to make an annual and formal declaration of their CPD.   

However, SET strongly encourages all members, particularly those in the professional membership grades Associate, Member and Fellow, to take appropriate steps to ensure they stay up to date with their subject specialism, professional knowledge and competence and approaches to teaching and learning through a range of formal and informal CPD activities. This is in line with regulatory bodies which operate within the sector, e.g. Ofsted.

View SET's full CPD policy.

Benefits of CPD 

CPD is an investment in yourself, linking formal and informal learning directly to your professional practice. A systematic approach to CPD will ensure that you maintain and enhance your skills and competencies supporting your career development aspirations. It can also build confidence, strengthen your professional credibility and employability prospects.  

Professional competency is also a key part of our Code of Ethics and Conduct, which all members agree to abide by when joining or renewing their SET membership. The Code clearly states that members should ‘maintain professional knowledge and competence through continuing professional development in both teaching and subject specialism’ 


SET’s approach to CPD 

We expect members to illustrate their commitment to their own professional development and to uphold the Code of Ethics and Conduct. There is no mandatory requirement to formally record or submit CPD undertaken and SET will not audit its members CPD activity. However, we may undertake a group analysis  of completed CPD logs to ascertain what types of CPD members are undertaking, how much and how often, to inform our future planning and further development of our CPD policy.  

We firmly believe that CPD is a very personal journey which should focus on your own professional development needs and the results i.e. the outputs and outcomes of the activity undertaken and, most importantly, the difference it has had or is likely to have on your professional practice and ultimately your learners. SET does not therefore stipulate that a minimum number of CPD points or hours must be achieved each year; we are not looking for evidence of how much time has been spent on CPD. 

Our full CPD policy and requirements can be read here.  

Groups Working Together At SET Conference Session

Examples of CPD

There are a wide range of formal and informal activities that can count as professional  development. Some broad examples of CPD are:  

  • reading relevant journals and magazines, such as inTuition, articles or books  
  • undertaking training courses, formal qualifications or professional formation (such as QTLS/ATS)  
  • peer review, mentoring or shadowing 
  • participating in professional networks, communities of practice and special interest groups and discussion forums 
  • attending relevant professional events such as the SET annual conference.

Further examples of CPD activities

  • peer coaching (coaching others and being coached in your subject or vocational area)
  • subject learning coach or advanced learning coach training
  • mentoring new colleagues
  • peer review and observation
  • peer visits to community organisations or partners
  • work shadowing
  • team teaching
  • leading team or department self-assessment
  • carrying out and disseminating action research
  • designing innovative feedback mechanisms (learners and peers)
  • chairing team meetings
  • constructing professional dialogue and learning conversation opportunities
  • being an active member of a committee, board, or steering group related to teaching or your subject area
  • sharing ideas and resources with other teachers and trainers through My QTLS
  • curriculum design, development and validation
  • reading and reviewing books or journal and magazine articles
  • updating knowledge through the internet, television, or other media and reviewing these with a group of professional colleagues.
  • gaining Skills for Life qualifications to train in supporting and embedding literacy, numeracy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  • gaining further qualifications in your subject or industrial expertise through accredited courses
  • industrial updating through visits, placements, secondments or shadowing
  • being a member of a special interest group or another professional body
  • taking on examiner, verifier or assessor responsibilities
  • attending briefings by awarding bodies and colleagues
  • presenting at a conference in your subject area
  • supervising research
  • subject learning coaching training
  • leading project development in your subject area
  • writing reports and papers to inform your colleagues
  • planning or running a staff development activity
  • organising trips, residentials and work placements
  • reading the latest journal articles for colleagues
  • updating knowledge through the internet, television and other media
  • public service and voluntary work
  • networking with other subject specialists through My QTLS.

The CPD Cycle  

The CPD cycle breaks down the process of completing CPD into four key areas – identify, plan, act, reflect/evaluate. The four stages of the CPD cycle will be driven by you and will help you set your own development goals and objectives which should include both formal and informal leaning.     

Identify: use the Professional Standards and Self-Assessment tool to identify areas and opportunities for professional development. Understand where you are now and where you want to be.  

Plan: once you understand where you want to be the next step is to plan how you get there. Your plan should include anticipated outcomes and milestones so that progress can be tracked. Good practice is to plan on a 12-month cycle. 

Act: once the plan is in place, then act upon it. Members are encouraged to undertake a mix of formal and informal CPD activities.  

Reflect (evaluate): at the end of each CPD activity, members would be expected to reflect and evaluate the difference the CPD has made and how they will implement their learnings, including where appropriate, sharing insights within their own professional networks.  


CPD resources 

SET members have access to a range of member only CPD resources including live webinars and areas of special interest.  

In addition, the Education and Foundation has a comprehensive range of workforce development programmes and activities. View courses. You may also wish to use the CPD mapping tool on the ETF website, which links the various CPD resources from ETF and SET to the Professional Standards. 

As a benefit of membership, SET members also have access to an online CPD recording tool to help you plan and track your CPD. Members may have their own way to track CPD or may also have access to a CPD recording tool provided by their employer. We don’t prescribe what tool should be used. The SET recording tool is a benefit of membership which enables you to link your CPD activity to the Professional Standards. 



If you have a question about CPD or need further guidance or support please see our FAQs in the first instance or contact us.