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Supporting Teachers: Professional Development in Target Setting

by | Aug 9, 2023

Supporting Teachers: Professional Development in Target Setting

In the education, the role of teachers in shaping student outcomes cannot be overstated. Teachers are at the forefront of facilitating learning and fostering academic progress among their students. To ensure optimal educational experiences and outcomes, ongoing teacher training and professional development are of paramount importance. This mini-post aims to underscore the significance of continuous professional development for teachers, with a specific focus on target setting in Special Educational Needs (SEN) settings. By examining available resources and workshops dedicated to target setting in SEN, we can better understand how well-equipped educators positively impact student achievements.

The Importance of Ongoing Teacher Training and Professional Development

Continuous professional development for teachers is a vital aspect of fostering excellence in education. It equips educators with the necessary tools, knowledge, and skills to stay abreast of evolving pedagogical practices, emerging research, and advancements in instructional technology. Ongoing training enables teachers to refine their teaching strategies, adapt to diverse student needs, and cater to the specific requirements of SEN learners effectively.
In the context of target setting, ongoing professional development empowers teachers to set clear, attainable, and measurable objectives for their students. It enables educators to tailor educational plans that cater to individual learning styles, strengths, and challenges. Moreover, such training enables teachers to utilise data-driven approaches in the target setting process, facilitating evidence-based decision-making to enhance student progress and achievement.

Resources and Workshops Dedicated to Target Setting in SEN

To support teachers in SEN settings, various resources and workshops are available, focused specifically on target setting. These platforms offer educators the opportunity to deepen their understanding of SEN principles, gain insights into diverse learning needs, and develop proficiency in establishing individualised learning objectives for their students.
One prominent resource is to create a “SEN Target Setting Toolkit,” which provides comprehensive guidelines, templates, and best practices for setting meaningful and achievable targets for SEN students. The toolkit emphasises the importance of creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals that align with students’ Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and ensure progress tracking.
Additionally, workshops conducted by reputable organisations and experienced practitioners offer interactive learning experiences for teachers to enhance their target setting abilities. Workshops may cover topics such as data analysis, differentiated instruction, and collaborative goal-setting with students and their parents or guardians. Participating in these workshops empowers teachers to implement evidence-based strategies that address individual needs, ultimately leading to improved student outcomes.

Positive Impact of Well-Equipped Educators on Student Outcomes

Well-equipped educators who have undergone professional development in target setting can significantly influence student outcomes, particularly in SEN settings. By establishing clear and realistic learning objectives tailored to individual students’ abilities, interests, and challenges, teachers can create an inclusive and supportive learning environment.
When teachers possess the necessary skills to effectively set and monitor targets, they can identify learning gaps early on and implement appropriate interventions promptly. This proactive approach enables them to address students’ specific needs, leading to increased engagement, motivation, and academic progress. Furthermore, when students witness their progress and growth, their self-esteem and confidence in their abilities are positively impacted, further fuelling their academic success.


In conclusion, ongoing teacher training and professional development, especially in target setting for SEN learners, play a pivotal role in optimising student outcomes. Equipped with the knowledge and skills obtained from such initiatives, educators can adeptly address the unique challenges and learning requirements of their students. By utilising evidence-based practices and setting personalised goals, teachers can foster an inclusive and supportive learning environment that empowers all students, including those with special educational needs, to reach their full potential academically and beyond.

“By involving students in the goal-setting process, educators gain valuable insights into their students’ interests and abilities. Consequently, personalised goals can be crafted, aligning with students’ individual needs, which significantly enhances their relevance and attainability.”

Parental involvement for Setting targets for SEN pupils
Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Director of SENDCO Solutions

Abigail Hawkins was a SENCO for over 25 years and has worked with pupils with all types of needs.  Abigail has worked with Ed-Tech companies on developing their software and also been chair of governors for a multi-academy trust. Abigail now runs SENsible SENCO and SENDCO Solutions, with the aim of working with SENCOs and inclusion leaders across the UK to improve their support for SEND pupils. See our school services for more information.

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