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How to take better notes and make CPD more effective

This post offers you a free resource , either for yourself, or if you coordinate CPD it’s a resource you can issue to staff to help them get the most out of sessions and take the ideas straight into their lessons.

Being organised and effective

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how to be more effective in school; how to use my time more productively and how to structure my working day right to maximise my own efficiency, and that of my colleagues.

Making CPD count

Making the most of CPD sessions is something I’ve always tried to do. I always take notes and have used my own notes template for some time. Recently I came across a fantastic book ‘The Together Teacher’, and in it was a frighteningly similar suggestion to help staff take notes in CPD sessions and then maximise the impact in their classroom.

I must say that the template I use was passed on to me early in my career by a mentor and I have since adapted it into a nice looking template that I print and photocopy for myself. I’ve ‘tweaked’ it some more after reading this book.

Make CPD more meaningful by connecting the session to your lessons while you’re still in the session!

By splitting your notes up in the way I do you force the brain to think beyond the session you’re sitting in and make a connection with your own classroom and department all in the same time.

The layout makes you think smarter

As you’ll see, the document is essentially split into 4 sections;

  • Session notes (your scribbles, quotes etc as you sit listening)
  • Immediate impacts (quick gains) in my classroom (your 1st ideas that you think you’ll take and transplant in to class 3B tomorrow morning!)
  • Longer term impact ideas/targets (further thought about adapting to suit your subject, lesson length, scheme or learners’ needs)
  • Further questions/research (where could the idea go next? Who can you speak to? Do you want to form a group and investigate impact? What about blogging about it? Tweeting?)

The design is aimed at making you think quickly about using the CPD purposefully rather than absorbing it and leaving the good intentions to utilise the new ideas in that room when you leave and go back to teaching the way you always teach.

CPD coordinator advice

If you are responsible for CPD my suggestion is you print copies of this on A4 and cut them, giving you handy A5 sheets for your staff to take into CPD sessions and use immediately. You could create packs and have them glued along the top so you can issue CPD note packs to staff and encourage them to bring them themselves to each session throughout the year (maybe print them on bright yellow paper?).



  1. This is a great way to take concise and appropriate notes. I often find myself writing notes and never refer to them again. This will make me look back at a my CPD notes and make use of them. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I to make notes which are then added to all the other notes and….!
    Passing this on to my faculty… Inset day tomorrow!
    Great site.

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