Budget-friendly high quality CPD training for all members of school staff – whenever and wherever they wish to access it

Feb 9, 2024

Lostock Primary, in Bolton, has been using Schoot for staff CPD for three years.

Key Outcomes

  • Vast range of high-quality CPD courses, available to all members of staff
  • Courses are relevant to all staff, from headteacher through to site manager
  • Courses cover statutory requirements, such as safeguarding and fire awareness, as well as subject specialisms
  • CPD can be taken at any time, dramatically reducing overtime and cover costs
  • Courses can be completed at home or at school, in one go or in bite size chunks, contributing to staff wellbeing and work-life balance


Continuing professional development (CPD) is one of the key ways for school leaders to nurture and develop staff. It is also vital if schools are to remain up-to-date on statutory requirements, such as safeguarding.

But as schools find it increasingly difficult to make their budgets stretch to cover even the essentials, CPD can sometimes end up at the bottom of the list.

This was the experience of Vicki Guest, headteacher of Lostock Primary, a one-form-entry school in Bolton.
“People talk about ‘leafy Lostock, because of the local context,” she says. “But that means we don’t have access to the same funding that other schools get, so our budget is significantly lower than in other areas and other schools.”

In addition, the number of children with complex special educational needs and disabilities has increased. This has meant that teaching assistants who previously provided whole-class support are now needed to work with children on a one-to-one basis.
As a result, there is often no one free to cover classes so teachers can take a CPD course during school hours.

“One of our school priorities is to develop our staff into experts,” Vicki says. But how can I say we have a school-development plan without CPD?”

For this reason, the school brought in Schoot to ensure staff were able to continue to receive the very best CPD, at an affordable price.

What is Schoot and what does it do?

Schoot is an online platform offering a range of high-quality courses for school staff, from statutory training through to subject-specific CPD. The CPD has been developed by experienced school leaders, teachers, business managers and facilities staff so content is targeted on exactly what school staff need to know to do their job effectively.

“Schoot is affordable, flexible and you know all the courses are of a high standard,” says Vicki.

Flexible learning

When Vicki wanted all teaching staff to complete their mental-health training, she suggested that they do so during the time slot for the weekly staff meeting.

“Some staff chose to do it at school. Some chose to do it at home,” she says. “Or they could do something else during the staff meeting, and then get their laptop out when they got home. It’s supporting work-life balance and staff wellbeing.”
Hannah Barnes-Gray, Lostock deputy head, appreciates this particularly. “I love the flexibility the courses offer, due to being online,” she says.

Some TAs at Lostock work in the morning, while others work only afternoons. This means that it’s difficult to deliver CPD to them as a group, as the collective overtime costs would eat into an already tight budget.

So, instead, Vicki gets them to work in pairs – with a laptop each – and asks them to complete their Schoot courses in these mini teams.

“If they’re not sure about something, they can pause and have a chat about it,” she says. “They’ve still got that communication, that collaboration, that professional dialogue.”

“It’s a fantastic resource that I can access independently, choosing a course dependent on my current role,” says Dawn Parker, a teaching assistant at Lostock.

Relevant for all staff

Historically, Vicki didn’t always have the capacity to deliver CPD in school for her business manager, Salli Sigurnjak. Instead, Salli tended to seek out courses run by the local authority.

Now, however, Salli just looks for relevant courses on Schoot. “I find the Schoot courses to be a great mix of reading, listening and short videos, which makes them more engaging than other courses I have completed,” she says.

“There’s a good variety for me to complete personally and for me to direct staff to complete for compliance in different areas.”

Some of the Schoot content is free to access. Lostock, however, has taken out a subscription that allows 30 members of staff to access courses. Vicki uses Schoot to provide CPD for leaders, teachers, teaching assistants, admin and support staff, as well as the caretaker.

“I knew that our fire safety and awareness was due to be refreshed,” she says. “So I looked on Schoot, and they had fire-awareness and fire-warden training. The caretaker did his training during working hours, tailored to meet his needs.”

Staff at Lostock are also encouraged to take ownership of their own CPD. They are able to go on to Schoot, choose courses that are interesting or relevant to them, and then complete them at their own pace.

Saving time – and money

A recent Lostock Inset day was devoted to looking at adaptive teaching, using a Schoot course. The SENDCO led the CPD sessions, which were attended by teachers and TAs.

“She used really high-quality training materials from the Schoot platform,” says Vicki. “She wasn’t having to pull the course together from scratch, but just used her own experiences to put the training into context.”

Using Schoot has helped in other areas too.

In fact, when Ofsted visited in March 2023, inspectors noted that “Leaders have ensured that teachers have expert subject knowledge,” and also that staff “appreciate leaders’ consideration of their workload and wellbeing”.

“Schoot helped with that. Subject knowledge, mental-health awareness, GDPR, curriculum, statutory safeguarding training – the whole lot,” says Vicki. “We’re doing more CPD than ever before.”

“Subject knowledge, mental-health awareness, GDPR, curriculum, statutory safeguarding training – the whole lot. We’re doing more CPD than ever before.”

“Schoot is affordable, flexible and you know all the courses are of a high standard.”

Vicki Guest, Lostock headteacher:

Subscribe to our mailing list

Subscribe to our mailing list

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from the schoot team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!