FAQs

A Pre-school Learning Alliance training workshopWhat is the Alliance's SMARTpd?

SMARTpd creates cost-effective, bespoke early years professional development package for individuals and group settings.

Packages are developed from existing resources, schemes, training courses, webinars and publications.

Once you complete a short questionnaire, our expert training advisers will contact you to arrange a consultation. This call gives you an opportunity to discuss your professional development needs and what elements you would like to make up your training package.

Our team then sends you a breakdown of your package with costs attached.

You can take this forward as you wish, taking up all elements of the consultation recommendations or just a few elements. 

Why has the Alliance developed SMARTpd?

The need for early years practitioners to ensure their skills and knowledge remain up-to-date has increased hugely in recent years. Insights provided by neuroscience have continued to improve our understanding of children's early learning and development, meaning practitioners are increasingly expected to have a greater level of understanding. 

Practitioners are also required to consistently meet regulatory and inspection requirements that frequently change, such as recent changes to safeguarding training requirements, the Prevent Duty, British values and paediatric first aid, while the focus of inspections is continually evolving.

All these changes require individual practitioners and staff teams to regularly adapt their provision to ensure new demands are met. Supporting all pracitioners to improve their practice should be a continual process rather than a single goal demonstrated by a qualification or certificate.

To address this challenge, the Alliance launched SMARTpd. 

How will SMARTpd's approach benefit my professional development ? 

  • SMARTpd is tailored to you. Working with our training advisers, you can develop a package which targets the exact areas in which you require professional development. Unlike other training programmes on the market, you will only be given modules to complete that are necessary for you or your teams development. Each element of your package will meet your specific training requirements.
  • All elements included in your training package are Alliance-approved, certain elements will also be certificated internally and with external organisations. This assures you are getting access to trustworthy sources of professional development with an option to obtain certification to display in your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) log or setting.
  • SMARTpd can be accessed multiple times per indvidual or group. You can receive new or different packages as your training needs change over time. For instance, if an Ofsted visit to your setting highlights some areas for development, our SMARTpd package can be tailored to target specific areas from the report. This gives you the freedom to pick and choose at the time of the consulation. Just let us know, we are happy to advise at a later time.

How is our professional development package be formally recognised or certified ?

As each package is bespoke they contain different elements, some of which will be certificated while others will be more informal such as free resources or selected priced publications. Depending on your budget, the level of support and how comprehensive your package is, you may receive formal Alliance recognition of your commitment to quality improvement which can be displayed in your childcare service or personal development folder.

How much time will SMARTpd take and what does it involve?

The initial questionnaire should take between two minutes to 10 minutes to complete - please do provide as much relevant information possible. Your free consultation call may take up to 40 minutes depending on your requirements. As each bespoke professional development SMARTpd package will vary, the different elements and recommended final professional development elements or training 'mix' may be different too. Some elements may have clear or specific timings for planned use or completion while other elements will be less structured.

What happens if an individual or team changes?

Don't worry. Everything you've received as part of your bespoke SMARTpd package including free resources and priced publications will remain available to benefit the childcare service. When someone leaves or a new colleague begins, you will still be able to access elements of the programme as and when needed.

Can international or overseas individuals or settings apply?

We welcome interest from international childcare services and can tailor to meet any specific overseas requirements.

How does SMARTpd fit with what we already do?

As each SMARTpd professional development package is bespoke, we can ensure it fits comfortably alongside your day-to-day practice to further develop current practice or improve identified areas of need.

How much will SMARTpd cost?

The questionnaire and consultation are free of charge. As each package is tailored to meet the different professional development requirements for each individual or childcare service, costs may vary. However our consultants work flexibly to meet specific budgets to ensure best value.

What skills and experience do Alliance training advisers have?

Alliance information, advice and guidance is Matrix accredited (most recently in 2016). All advisors hold IAG qualifications.

‘Impartiality and personalisation of learner support are deeply embedded . . .At the very core of the Alliance is a workforce which is focused upon reaching out to enable and empower all learners to realise their potential’ - Matrix; quality standard for information, advice and guidance services report 2015

How can you guarantee the quality of the training packages?

The Alliance training provision is inspected regularly by Ofsted. It is consistently rated as Good. Most recently in 2016.

‘(Alliance) learners benefit from good training, promoting the good progress they often make, including the development of very good workplace skills’ - Ofsted short inspection report (2016)

Any more questions ? Please contact the SMARTpd team here: smartpd@pre-school.org.uk or on 01732 363 070.


SMARTpd is Cache endorsed and a finalist in the Nursery World Awards 2017.