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KNOWLEDGE GAPS WITHIN EDUCATION: THE VALUE OF CONTINUED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Continued professional development (CPD) refers to the regular enhancement of knowledge and learning abilities, which professionals should seek to ensure a high level of competency and progression within their career. CPD can be a record of gained experiences or a documented process for tracking improvements in skills, understanding and overcoming professional challenges. Many schools share a common problem of not knowing where to go for staff training on the challenges facing the education world. Whether that’s the shifting landscape of data protection, where we’re witnessing greater awareness and safeguards placed upon the processing of personal data, or how to inculcate basic cyber security training to help staff recognise increasingly common threats, such as cyber phishing attacks.

Regular professional training in data protection, cyber security, digital technologies and child protection is critical to ensure staff members are not only compliant with regulations, but become more conscious and proactive in contributing towards your school’s approach in each area. As such, we recommend each of these areas should be introduced to staff training schedules to ensure there is a school-wide understanding of best practice and to provide staff with a clear path to success. 9ine has regularly produced blogs on such topics, including: "Five Reasons Why Robust, Objective Cyber Security Assessments Are More Important Than Ever;" guidance on data protection with GDPR: The Principle of Accountability;" advice on child protection with "Revealed: Top 3 Disaster Blind Spots;" and we will continue to promote development in each of these areas.  

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INTRODUCING OUR REGIONAL TRAINING CENTRE AT Zurich International School

We wanted to go further than providing guidance via blogs and give schools a more tangible measure for building knowledge through regular professional development. Our close work with Zurich International School (ZIS), one of the leading schools in the world, and with the wider international schools community has emphasised the opportunity for greater collaboration in CPD. Both 9ine and ZIS recognise the value in sharing our knowledge and lessons learnt from supporting schools with data protection, cyber security and child protection.

To facilitate the idea of collaboration in CPD, we would like to introduce our Regional Training Centre model, with the first being at Zurich International School to serve Switzerland and the surrounding European countries. The RTC provides an opportunity to forge a regular hub for networking and continued professional development, by building upon an already fantastic existing community of international schools. Delegates will have access to regularly meet like-minded professionals from the international school’s scene and share how challenges may have been overcome in their school. Our training centre will serve as a platform and beacon for career development, providing accessible, practical and hands-on training to support schools with effective self-auditing and compliance with the regulations.

9ine have developed the RTC model alongside ZIS's Director of Research and Organisational Development, Mark Dilworth. A collaboration with 9ine's proven track record in education and ZIS's standing in the school world makes sense. Here's what Mark has to say on the importance of the RTC :

"Zurich International School is proud to host the Regional Training Centre with 9ine. This partnership will combine 9ine’s expertise and industry knowledge with a continuing opportunity for networking and learning. From ZIS’s perspective, we will be better prepared to face current challenges and we will be well positioned to embrace future innovations."

Follow this link to find out more about continued professional development with 9ine and ZIS

Regional Training Centre Schedule

9ine’s bespoke training solution will be delivered at an initial six events at ZIS throughout the new school year. The first three events are scheduled for 6th September (data protection), 11th October (cyber security), and 15th November (Child Protection). Access to our professional development programme is available via signing up to DPO Essentials, our annual service for supporting with data protection.

Contact us today and set up a meeting with one of our data protection experts to find out more about DPO Essentials and learn how we can help you take the complexity out of compliance.

The importance of CPD within these disciplines is not just in keeping up with the latest guidance, below are a few more key areas in which our training sessions will help to benefit your school:

Gone Phishing

Our schools might be shocked to discover that they’re collectively the focus of malicious schemes set-up to exploit them of their cash reserves. This is largely due to the nature of a school - organisations with typically weaker protections around their systems, or those unaware of their vulnerabilities, are often exposed to targeted campaigns determined to take advantage of these vulnerabilities. Expanding staff knowledge within cyber security and recognising insecurities within your systems, both IT and operationally, is paramount for protecting schools from potential financial loss and reputational damage.

A number of our schools have recently suffered attacks through targeted phishing campaigns, and in some cases, more complex attacks through unauthorised external and internal access to IT systems. According to the UK’s Supervisory Authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), from the Autumn to Winter Term in 2017, data security incidents reported within the education sector rose by 32%, from 96 to 127. Increased attention within the cyber security field and wider methods of exploitation has heightened the threat level - across all sectors, cyber security incidents increased by 31% in the same period. It’s important that CPD reflects this and takes into account the now greater pressures placed on organisations from malicious users.

Don’t make the Headlines - Protect your Data

CPD is not just about a singular specific training session in one discipline either. Effective CPD has a wider application and more holistic approach to improvements in capabilities and transferable skills. For example, increased understanding in best practices towards cyber security will also benefit your knowledge of data protection, and vice versa. Taking a broader approach to CPD within a topic such as data protection is recommended, as 9ine always say to our schools - data protection isn’t solely about the security of data transferred via your IT systems. Personal data also has to be protected in analogue and physical format. Across the last last year in the education sector, the ICO showed that the loss or theft of paperwork was one of the highest reported breaches. Effective CPD would account for training in information rights handling across both digital and analogue formats - e.g what is your school’s process for receiving, tracking and storing a new staff member’s HR file? Do you have a documented record of this processing activity to help prevent potential data loss? 9ine’s development programme at our RTC is based upon direct examples of the data protection challenges schools have been facing and the solutions we have provided them with.

Safeguarding our future - Child Protection

While cyber security and data protection are somewhat ‘hot topics’ at the moment, it is also important to remember that CPD should be echoed across all disciplines in a school. Child protection may now be fully integrated within your school’s operations, however this does not mean that any CPD should stop here. Within the UK, all schools have a statutory requirement to adhere to the government's directive - Keeping Children Safe in Education. The guidance provides a strong threshold for compliance and is subject to revisions, ensuring any advice is up to date with contemporary challenges, particularly around technology. 9ine have considerable experience in working with UK schools in developing best practices for child safeguarding. This positions us to effectively support the international school community with professional guidance via our Regional Training Centre. Providing the best training in child protection is paramount and CPD in this area shouldn’t be limited solely to your IT Manager or designated safeguarding lead - those often responsible for reviewing school filtering reports. Schools should strive to have a wider team of staff enrolled onto regular training around child protection in order to reduce any potential blind spots in their operations. CPD builds confidence; staff would be encouraged to innovate and lead change towards what the best filtering solutions, policies, reports, documentation, operation models and IT safeguarding provisions looks like. We want the staff members attending our child protection training to be championing effective support models to protect pupils from the alarmingly prevalent threats out there.

Future proofing with CPD

Training in the above disciplines will support a safer and more productive learning environment, however this alone won’t necessarily future-proof against the professional development challenges on the horizon. Schools need to be cognisant of the potential forthcoming obstacles, which may well in turn prove to be innovations. Buzzwords like AI, machine learning, digital currencies - it’s not too implausible to imagine these modernisms being induced into a school’s day-to-day operations - for example, can you see a parent of the future paying school fees in Bitcoin?

The key to continued professional development is to identify future professional requirements in topics that are on the horizon to ensure staff are prepared and have the competency to manage eventual career challenges. 9ine and ZIS’ motif is to understand current school issues, whilst supporting the identification of future educational requirements. Through our regional training centre, we will deliver independent, objective and professional development on topics where there is currently little practical advice and guidance provided. The RTC will serve the international school community by expanding knowledge and best practices within education across your staffing body. The great value of our CPD is that the learning continues after each training event; delegates attending will be provided with access to an online forum, checklists and tangible resources from each workshop to utilise and implement knowledge back at school.

How to get onboard

If you like the sound of what you’ve been reading, places at our Regional Training Centre with ZIS are available for schools enrolled onto our DPO Essentials services. You can have up to eight members of staff attend our training sessions throughout the new school year. Alternatively, individual places for each training event are £400.00 a ticket - to find out more, please get in touch.

For more Or to find out how our services can support in the above topics, book a call with a 9ine Consultant below. information on how we can assist your organisation with annual GDPR support, see our DPO Essentials Service here. Or to find out how our services can support in the above topics, book a call with a 9ine Consultant below.

 

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