In a newly released report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI), commissioned by the Wellcome Foundation, continuing professional development (CPD), which includes training courses, mentoring and seminars has been found to play a crucial role in improving teaching quality, and the learning outcomes of pupils. The report also goes on to demonstrate the positive effects on teacher retention, as well as how access to professional development for teachers has improved.
The impact of professional development on pupils
According to the report, CPD programmes “have the potential to close the gap between beginner and more experienced teachers”; the impact of CPD for a newly-qualified teacher on pupil outcomes is comparable to the impact of a teacher with ten year’s experience. The effect of CPD was also found to have similar attainment improvements as large, structural reforms to the school system.
In addition, the evidence suggests that CPD has a greater effect on pupil attainment than other interventions that might be considered by schools, such as performance-related pay for teachers or lengthening the school day. CPD is also relatively cost-effective; although one-to-one tutoring was found to impact pupil attainment to a higher degree, these can be very expensive, both financially and in terms of time.
Perhaps most tellingly, though, was that CPD programmes were more positively received by teachers when compared to other interventions, such as large structural changes to the school system. These can be expensive and cause higher staff turnover and dissatisfaction.
The impact of professional development on teacher retention
With an increase in high-quality CPD, retention problems improve, particularly for newly-qualified and early-career teachers. While it is understood that access to CPD is only one of many factors behind the number of teachers leaving the profession, targeted CPD programmes for teachers in the early stages of their careers can increase retention rate and instil an atmosphere of positivity and future ambition within them. Induction training and mentoring programmes are particularly effective for improving retention rates early on.
Improving access to professional development for teachers
It doesn’t seem that simply throwing CPD opportunities at teachers is sufficient, however. “Teacher turnover is a major impediment to the effectiveness of a CPD programme” the report states, suggesting that courses that offer flexibility, in terms of cohort start dates, deadlines and so on are more likely to be successful. Furthermore, when the CPD programme receives sustained support from school leaders, it is found to have a greater impact on pupil attainment. Finally, understanding the high workload of teachers can make them more effective – “interventions are likely to see success if they are both attractive and strive to minimise the demands placed on teachers.”
Real Training – high-quality, flexible and effective professional development
This report supports what we at Real Training have long-believed to be the case; that providing professional development courses of the highest-quality, delivered flexibly through Campus Online leads to significant positive effects on pupil’s learning outcomes, across the full range of special educational needs. We understand that teachers are under a vast amount of pressure and have wildly varying workloads, which is why we allow you to work at your own pace and in your own time, from anywhere you have access to the internet. Our courses start at multiple points throughout the year, giving you the option to begin your journey when it suits you best.
Our courses and qualifications cover a vast array of SEND and leadership topics and include our
Dyslexia Guild Annual Summer Conference
Coming up in June is our Dyslexia Guild annual conference, which welcomes all those with a professional interest in dyslexia and SpLD, including specialist teachers and assessors, psychologists, learning support tutors and assistants. It is a great opportunity to meet and network with dyslexia/SpLD specialists and enables practitioners to hear expert views and examine current topical issues relating to literacy and dyslexia/SpLD in a warm and vibrant conference setting. What’s more, there is a discount for entry for all Guild members.
You can download the full report here.