Turning professional development data into insights

The power of professional development data is often overlooked. In this blog, we explore the importance of data and the insights it can give.

Have you ever considered the power of your professional development data? It’s something that often gets overlooked but has great value when we consider what we can do with this information to help staff be more effective in their roles.

One of the main gripes with any form of data collection is the administration-heavy processes involved. With professional development especially, this data is normally stored in mountains of files using paper-based processes or emailing word documents back and forth. In the modern classroom and with stretched job roles, there is no need for this.

In this blog, we explore how you can eliminate the admin burden associated with professional development, and some examples of what professional development insights you can gain from documenting your data efficiently.

Female teacher in classroom

Taking away the burden of professional development processes

When looking to eliminate the complex processes associated with continuous professional development and the admin behind it, look for both usability and flexibility.


You want to take away the complex time-consuming admin, so the last thing you want to do is replace this with an equally difficult online system.

Look for a system which allows you to create templates that you can easily populate and see at a glance what is and isn’t working. For example, seeing which members of staff performed highly in their latest appraisal is just as important as someone who didn’t perform so well. Matching staff members on their opposite skill sets can help them to improve their practice without them feeling like they’re undertaking professional development at all!

Usability is at the heart of every decision we make regarding Sisra Observe, and our team are proud of the great feedback from users and our difference in people’s workload.

“Staff workload has decreased significantly, particularly now we are using the system for staff appraisal documents. It has proven to be an extremely accessible and efficient system for all staff.”

Vicky Mahmoud, Assistant Head Teacher, Eaton Bank Academy

Flexibility in your processes

Flexibility is key when sourcing a new system. Instead of bending to fixed templates and reporting, find a system that will allow custom templates which replicate your current processes.

“We chose Sisra Observe because we liked that you could ‘build’ your own style of observation and learning walk templates from scratch using a range of qualitative and quantitative data and analyse this in a quick and simple manner.”

Tom Inman, Headteacher, Gordano School
Female teacher helping pupil

Turning your data into insights

Find a system that can easily generate a report to show you what teachers in your school are performing the best, and who needs further support. This information, and what influenced their performance is highly important.

Delving into the data

As an example, you have undertaken teacher appraisals and want a whole school overview to know which teachers are on track in specific areas and which are not. Pulling this data together via paper-based formats will take hours of administration time. Also, when this data has been determined, there is still the challenge of discovering why specific teachers may have been evaluated more favourably than others. Opting for a digital approach allows you to create a snapshot of performance data and then delve deeper into the ‘why’s’. 

You may see from the data that teachers that undertook more CPD, or more specialist CPD performed better. It could be that a teacher flagged that they felt they needed further development in a weaker area and were able to arrange CPD sessions. Or, they may have been paired with a teacher who has specialisms in a certain area and they have passed their knowledge on.

However, what if a teacher isn’t performing as expected? Drilling down into the detail of why this might be will help give you an insight into what needs to be done to bring their performance up and improve their confidence. It may be that they haven’t undertaken CPD recently and their skills need updating, or that they have been having personal problems. The ability to record and find this information is invaluable.

Conclusion on the importance of professional development data

Overall, the importance of data cannot be overlooked in your formal and informal professional development processes. Finding the correct system will help improve what your school already uses without generating more work. We recommend looking at Sisra Observe and the options with our system and how we can help your school.