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Continual Professional Development (CPD) is one of the most effective ways of improving students’ performance and keeping your knowledge fresh. It’s also been shown to significantly improve teacher motivation, confidence, and commitment to teaching.  As we all know, teaching and education require constantly changing skill sets. The last year has required an increased focus on improving IT knowledge, which many schools had to embrace, but as supply teachers, how do you access the resources and courses that you need to keep up with your own professional development?

For many supply teachers on short term placements, there isn’t the need for schools to invest in CPD for them as they will be unlikely to see the benefits of any training within the classroom. However, many leading educational practitioners argue that it is a teacher’s responsibility to ensure they are up to date in current best practice.

While this may seem like supply teachers are left between a rock and a hard place, they are, in fact, in a reasonably enviable position.

Supply teachers can control their CPD, choosing topics and issues that they want to focus on in their own time. Whether that is improving subject knowledge so that you can be deployed to a wider range of placements or focusing on more pastoral issues, there are free courses available online that you can do in the comfort of your own home (or garden if it’s sunny enough).

There are a wide variety of free CPD courses available to supply teachers. We’ve compiled the best ones for you.

FutureLearn is an online learning platform that provides courses from a wide range of universities. The courses are flexible, enabling you to work around your busy schedule or study during school holidays.


OpenLearn is the free learning portal of The Open University and has a wealth of courses available on pretty much any subject or topic you want to learn about. All learners receive a certificate on completion of each class.

ReachOut CPD
Designed in conjunction with Imperial College London, ReachOut CPD is a free online learning platform aimed at helping primary specialists teach science with confidence.

The Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health
ACAMH broadcast regular live stream sessions that focus on child and adolescent mental health.

UK Trauma Council 

Still focussed on mental health, the UK Trauma Council has created a set of resources to give teachers the knowledge and skills they need to identify and help young people who have suffered traumatic bereavements.

National Cyber Security Council 

The National Cyber Security Centre has produced a free training pack aimed at raising awareness and helping teachers manage cyber security threats in schools.
Home Office Terrorism and Radicalisation Training 
With radicalisation and extremism frequently featuring on the news, The Home Office’s free terrorism and radicalisation training course is useful CPD for any CV.

PACE Safeguarding Course
Parents Against Child Exploitation has created a free 20-minute online learning course aimed at professionals working with children and young people. The course is designed to help teachers recognise the signs of child sexual exploitation.

It’s also worth keeping an eye open for any training that is offered by your teaching union. For example, NASUWT offers a wide range of CPD training and courses which are time-specific (many of the summer courses are aimed at NQTs). NEU also offers free CPD, which is updated throughout the year.

With all of these free resources available at your fingertips, you can have the luxury of deciding precisely what CPD you want, allowing you to focus on your career. As a leading teacher recruitment agency, 3Rs are always on the hunt for amazing and inspirational teachers. So if you are considering supply teaching or are looking for a more permanent post, contact us on: 0345 1303338



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