10 must-read CPD books for teachers and school leaders

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith - Last updated on March 29, 2023

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of professional development books on the market. So, how do you know which ones are worth your time or not? We did some research to find out which books education professionals would recommend, and created this list of 10 books that will inspire, motivate and educate. Take a look…

Woman Reading CPD book at home

A Manifesto for Excellence in Schools1. A Manifesto for Excellence in Schools - Rob Carpenter

Carpenter is CEO of the Inspire Partnership and has over 15 years experience as a headteacher. He took a school from Special Measures to Outstanding in less than two years and firmly believes that the quality of teaching and leadership holds the key to raising standards in our schools today. In this compelling book he’s drawn on all of this to provide a new vision for education that is inspirational and aspirational. It includes a balance of practical advice, research and personal anecdotes that will help all teachers and leaders to become architects for learning.

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Visible Learning Feedback - Professor John Hattie and Shirley Clarke2. Visible Learning: Feedback - Professor John Hattie and Shirley Clarke

Bringing together two internationally known educators this book merges Hattie’s world-famous research expertise with Clarke’s vast experience of classroom practice and application, making it a key read for teachers and leaders. With numerous case-studies and engaging anecdotes woven throughout, this book covers the principles and practicalities of feedback, as well as shedding light on what creates an effective feedback culture.

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Make it Stick - Peter C Brown, Mark A McDaniel and Henry L Roediger3. Make it Stick - Peter C Brown, Mark A McDaniel and Henry L Roediger

This is a lively and engaging book on the science of learning. Drawing on cognitive psychology and other fields, Brown, McDaniel and Roediger offer techniques for becoming more productive learners. They describe important research findings for how we can improve our own learning, teaching, and coaching. Even more, it shows how more positive attitudes toward our own abilities and the willingness to tackle the hard stuff, enables us to achieve our goals. Make It Stick will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.

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Professional Capital Transforming Teaching in Every School - by Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves4. Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School - by Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves

In this engaging, challenging and stimulating book, renowned educators Hargreaves and Fullan set out a innovative new agenda to change the future of education and teaching. Ideas-driven, evidence-based, and strategically powerful, this book gives educators viable solutions and varied examples from around the world. The authors not only identify core problems in education, but also suggest practical solutions based upon their own experiences of effective educational reform.

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Leverage Leadership 20 A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools - by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo5. Leverage Leadership 2.0: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools - by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

In this book Bambrick-Santoyo shows leaders how they can raise their schools to greatness by following a core set of principles. Rooted in the observation and training of over 20,000 school leaders worldwide, this revised edition is a practical, updated and easier-to-use follow-up to the original, with field-tested techniques and actionable advice. Aimed at anyone who is or wants to be a transformational leader, it shows you what to do, and how and when to do it, and includes 30 video clips of top–tier leaders in action. These videos bring great schools to life, and support a deeper understanding of both the components of success and how it looks as a whole. It also includes helpful rubrics, extensive professional development tools, calendars, and templates.

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Teach Like a Pirate - by Dave Burgess6. Teach Like a Pirate - by Dave Burgess

Stuck in a teaching rut? This book could be your key to getting out of it. Based on his popular "Teach Like a PIRATE" seminars, Dave Burgess offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. It contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will boost your creativity.

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Leading in a Culture of Change by Michael Fullan7.  Leading in a Culture of Change by Michael Fullan

This book is a quick read, making it great for busy school leaders. Fullan, an internationally acclaimed expert in organisational change, shows how leaders can accomplish their goals and become exceptional. He draws on the most current ideas of effective leadership, incorporates examples of large scale transformation, and reveals five core competencies.

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The Hidden Lives of Learners by Graham Nuthall8. The Hidden Lives of Learners by Graham Nuthall

This book is for all those who seek a better understanding of classroom learning. It’s the culmination of Professor Graham Nuthall's forty years of research on teaching and learning. Realising time was short and that his life's work was laid out in papers for fellow researchers, he wrote this brief but powerful book with classroom teachers in mind. It lays bare the truth of what really happens in classrooms and shows why effective feedback is so key to learning.

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The Predictable Failure of Educational Reform can we change course before it’s too late by Seymour B Sarason9. The Predictable Failure of Educational Reform: can we change course before it’s too late? by Seymour B Sarason

Throughout this book Sarason helps readers to understand the importance of school culture and how beliefs, habits and power relations between people are keys to school change. He examines why past attempts at reforming the nation's educational system have failed, and offers new perspectives on how reform must be approached for any chance of success in the future. It’s a must-read for teachers who want enriched perspectives of teaching and school improvement.

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The Science of Learning by Deans for Impact10. The Science of Learning by Deans for Impact

Not technically a book, this text still makes for a great read and has been described as one of the most important reference guides for teachers published in many years. It summarizes the best research about how children really learn, how memory, attention and focus work, and the practical implications for classroom practice. A brilliant resource for anyone in the education profession who is interested in how learning takes place. But best of all, it’s completely free to download.

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Do you have any professional development books you’d like to suggest? What are you reading right now that you feel an educator would find indispensable? Let us know in the comments below.

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