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SEDA-PDF Frequently Asked Questions


What is SEDA-PDF?

SEDA-PDF is a professional development framework for post compulsory education. Recognition may be gained for an institution's approaches to staff development through named award areas. These are grounded in a (continuing) developmental approach.

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What is it for?
SEDA-PDF supports staff development programmes, the developers who lead them and individuals through nationally recognised awards. It provides a flexible framework that reflects a shared commitment to professional values and learning outcomes. There are two types of recognition: institutional recognition and programme recognition. Institutional recognition reviews an institution’s arrangements for running staff development programmes. Once this has been gained, individual staff development programmes can be recognised for one or more specialist awards, which are linked to a range of particular staff functions within HE.

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Who are the ‘institutions’?
Any institution, body or organisation which is linked to the provision of post compulsory education. Because of SEDA's previous activities the predominant user group, at this time, is UK universities.

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Is that just universities?
No - another obvious group of institutions is further education colleges.

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Who might use SEDA-PDF?
The framework is open to a wide range of bodies and organisations, for example, institutions of further and higher education as well as staff development programme leaders, managers and HR directors. Increasing interest is being shown by subject centres and other groups responsible for setting professional standards.

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Is that just for the UK?
No - SEDA has a long tradition of working with overseas universities and this will continue with SEDA-PDF.

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What did the SEDA-PDF develop from?
SEDA launched its Teacher Accreditation scheme in 1992. By the time the scheme was closed in 2002, some 85 programmes had been approved and 3,100 teachers accredited. Also during the 1990s, SEDA launched Professional Development in Higher Education (PDHE) and then Professional Development Accreditation Framework (PDAF). SEDA-PDF rationalises all this provision, with clear emphases on values and on development and with maximum flexibility for the development of new awards.

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What is the purpose of Institutional Recognition?
Institutional recognition allows the provider to show its ability to meet the thresholds required for SEDA-PDF recognition. It also helps them to describe and move towards their own standards for professional development. Institutional recognition typically takes the form of an event attended by recognisers from SEDA and hosted by the institutional provider seeking recognition.

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How do I go about it?
The first step is always to contact the SEDA office. At this point you will be provided with preliminary information and you will be put in touch with an award co-ordinator. They will discuss with you the process and help you decide whether you wish to proceed and whether you require a mentor. If you do wish to proceed, you will be asked to complete and return a registration form  available from the SEDA office. Once this has been received an invoice will be raised and you will be allocated a mentor and recognisers. At this stage you will have embarked on a supportive developmental process leading to either programme or institutional recognition.

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What is a named award?
There are currently 15 named awards which each share values and core development outcomes, but also have additional specialist outcomes reflecting the nature and needs of a particular role or function within the institution. Together they form the SEDA Professional Development Framework.

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What named awards are there?
Follow this link to the current list of named awards.

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How do I get my programme recognised for a named award?
At the end of a staged preparation process you submit a short series of SEDA-PDF documents and evidence to the recogniser who will evaluate your submission against a set of criteria.

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Who can I talk to in order to find out if my programme fits the framework?
You can talk to the SEDA office who will put you in touch with the appropriate award co-ordinator.

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What does the process involve?
Contact SEDA. If you feel your programme fits in with an award, you will negotiate and agree a support and recognition process involving document submission, allocation of a mentor and recognisers, and in most cases a recognition event.

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How much does it cost?
Follow this link for SEDA-PDF fees.

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What does this pay for?
This pays for administration costs and the recogniser’s and mentor’s time and expertise and provision of SEDA certificates for successful programme participants.

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What does a mentor do?
A mentor has an advisory role. S/he is normally a fellow programme leader with experience of SEDA-PDF. S/he will contact the programme leader and discuss documentation as well as leading the applicant through the recognition process. The mentor acts in an advisory role and as such can provide feedback on draft documentation, as well as discuss timescales and concerns. This also gives access to experienced peers whose institutions are engaged in similar activity.

To view more information on mentoring and the mentoring role click here.

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What does a recogniser do?
The recogniser is a peer, normally a fellow programme leader with experience of SEDA-PDF and experience of working on staff development programmes. S/he will read and review your final documentation, discuss it with their second (normally there is a ‘lead’ and ‘second’) recogniser. After this, recognisers may ask you for clarification or identify questions for discussion at a recognition event. A recognition event is usual where the first programme in an institution is being recognised and institutional recognition is involved. At the end of this the recogniser produces a report which is seen by the programme leader and signed off by them and the second recogniser, after which it is submitted to the SEDA-PDF Committee. You are not left in the dark, but will be told at the event or in verbal feedback the extent and nature of the recognition results.

To view more information on the role of the recogniser click here.

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What other support is available to help me?
SEDA also runs advisory events related to particular awards. You should attend the appropriate event for your award. You will be given guidance and opportunities to meet with colleagues and to ask questions about the process and benefits. This is also an opportunity to share questions, experience and ideas about your own programme.

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What happens at recognition events?
Recognition events normally take place at the provider’s institution. Prior to the event you will be asked to submit your programme documentation to SEDA so that it is available for your recognisers. At the event, recognisers will hold discussions with programme leaders, senior managers responsible for professional development and, possibly participants, in order to deepen and clarify the information in the documentation they have received. They may also request to see examples of participants work. Primarily the recognisers will be looking to see if the programme meets the criteria for institutional and programme recognition and any additional requirements (specialist outcomes) specified by the named award. They will also be looking to understand how the programme is being run, supported and assessed. They will want to know how a typical candidate would go through the programme and what their experience would be like. They will ask questions related to the criteria for recognition, seeking clarification of issues raised as a result of reading your documentation. At the end of the event, recognisers will give verbal feedback on the outcomes of the recognition process.

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How long does the recognition process take?
‘That depends’ is the simplest answer. You are in charge of the process, and a lot depends on your flexibility to attend a briefing event and the speed with which you can put together the relevant documentation and evidence. In addition, you have to fit in with the recogniser’s availability if a recognition event is involved. You agree a rough schedule with your mentor but 3-6 months is feasible for a programme. An institutional recognition may take longer.

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How long does recognition last?
Recognition can vary between one to five years, and be with or without conditions.

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What happens if I have a problem during the recognition process? Or after it?
In applying to become a member of the SEDA-PDF community you are becoming part of an extensive network of colleagues who share a range of experience and expertise, which you can access. If there are problems during the recognition process, you should contact your mentor in the first instance or the lead recogniser. Schedules can be rearranged as we all have to deal with priorities and demands on our time. If you have a problem after recognition your mentor or SEDA will be the first point of call.

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What happens if the recognition process does not work?
If for some reason the process does not work, there is an SEDA-PDF appeals procedure through the Chair of the PDF Committee. Alternatively it may be that your programme does not fit within the existing awards, in which case the PDF is flexible and encouraging to adaptation or new award development.

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What happens after Recognition?
After recognition you will receive a copy of the recogniser’s report which you will read and sign adding your own comments in the relevant sections. After this the report is signed off and the result is ratified by the SEDA-PDF Committee. You will receive confirmation of recognition and feedback from the committee, as well as a certificate for your programme. Completing programme participants will automatically receive their own recognition certificate upon submission of pass or completion lists.

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What are the criteria against which institutions will be recognised?
Providers of SEDA-PDF are required to show:

  1. how professional development needs are identified
  2. how programmes and pathways are developed to meet these needs
  3. the location of the programme(s) within the institution
  4. links between the programme(s) and relevant institutional policy or strategy, for example for teaching and learning or for human resource development
  5. a review of the strengths and weaknesses of the institution’s approach to professional development.
They are also asked to provide a review of their approaches to professional development activities addressing each of these items.

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What are the criteria against which a programme will be recognised?
Providers of particular SEDA-PDF named award programmes must additionally:

  1. demonstrate that the programme(s) encourage formative and developmental activities to enhance professional practice
  2. show how participants develop and demonstrate the outcomes of the named award(s), in a way which is underpinned by its values
  3. manage systems which monitor, moderate and review any assessment systems such as external examination and appeals procedures
  4. if the programme is assessed, show that the assessment strategy is appropriate to support professional learning.
Other issues which may be discussed are:

  • the aims of the programme
  • how participants develop and demonstrate the outcomes of the named award in a way which is underpinned by its values
  • quality assurance processes
  • assessment techniques

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What if my programme is not award or credit bearing?
Your programme does not have to be award or credit bearing in order to undertake recognition under SEDA-PDF.

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What other ways can I use SEDA-PDF?
You can use the SEDA-PDF to create your own recognised and award bearing CPD Framework to reflect emerging staff development needs. New awards are still being brought on line by SEDA and we are happy to collaborate with colleagues to explore new SEDA-PDF routes. These may be new named awards, or variants of or additions to current named awards.

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