The latest in a series of reports on teacher CPD has been published by the EPI. The think-tank argues that improving access to high quality CPD will ‘boost pupil attainment and stem exodus from the profession’.

The report follows the CCT’s research into CPD quality assurance and another EPI report on SEND identification and support.

The benefits of high quality CPD

EPI argues that a £4b CPD programme could provide a net benefit to society of £61bn, increase pupil attainment by two-thirds and by guaranteeing an entitlement of 35 CPD hours improve efforts to retain teachers in the profession. Benefits to both teachers and learners are certainly something DYT supports and have called for in the past.

The report notes that teachers currently exceed 35 hours of CPD (the same amount EPI calls for as an entitlement). However, crucially this tends to be of low quality and conversely, impact. Very similar themes on quality and impact were picked up by the CCT report, but this is nothing new.

EPI also wants around half of the CPD entitlement to be subject specific. But for domains that are cross-cutting, particularly in relation to inclusion and SEND, there’s potential for CPD to become siloed. EPI’s recent SEND report called for better professional knowledge for both SENCos and school leaders; which is it?

We understand how effective CPD can support educators to meet the needs of young people with literacy difficulties and SEND. We have supported thousands of teachers to do just that, with an understanding of the need a holistic approach. We also recognise that there is much CPD providers can and must do to improve the quality of their materials, ensure opportunities are accessible and flexible and above all can demonstrate some form of impact on teacher practice.

What’s holding us back?

The largest gap in thinking through this entitlement is implementation. The government does not have a well-coordinated CPD strategy for teachers beyond the CPD standards. They are helpful but insufficient to address the differences of the marketplace, including the disparate focus and scale of providers. Just as importantly how will schools fund time for teachers to be out of lessons or away from school? Especially at a time when they are already struggling financially.

If trends in government thinking prevail, there’s likely to be a centralisation of management, accreditation and standards in the sector. Whilst none of these present significant issues alone, there could be the risk of larger existing providers monopolising the sector. This would reduce competition, which is surely a bad thing.

We cannot afford to continue depriving teachers of high quality professional development. In doing so, we are also depriving those young people facing the greatest educational disadvantage and inequity.

Chris Rossiter

Chief Executive, DYT

Chris originally trained as an applied psychologist and has worked across the private, public and charitable sector for over 15 years. Has has particular expertise in special educational needs and disability, and organisational psychology. He is a primary Chair of Governors, Trustee of the Astrea Academy Trust, member of the literacy sub-committee of the Hastings Opportunity Area and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.