Education Policy Institute: The cost of high-quality professional development for teachers in England

By Tim Bradbury posted 19-07-2021 14:26


A new report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI), commissioned by Wellcome, finds that giving teachers a formal entitlement to high-quality training and development would only cost the government an extra £210m in funding a year.

When added to existing school spending on training and development for teachers, the total cost would represent less than 1% of the government’s total budget for schools in England.  

A policy of providing teachers with an entitlement to 35 hours of high-quality continuing professional development (CPD) a year has been shown to bring significant returns in the way of pupil attainment and earnings, and may tackle retention problems in the teaching profession.

But despite these benefits, there is currently no formal entitlement to high quality training offered by the government. Teachers in England currently participate in less CPD than their international counterparts, while the quality of CPD programmes on offer often fails to meet the government’s own standards.

The study shows that schools typically spend an average of around £3,000 a year per teacher on CPD, which is already much of the cost of an improved, high quality entitlement to teacher CPD.  

Most schools are found to be spending just under 3% of their school budget on CPD, which is higher than previous estimates.

In order to meet the cost of boosting their current offer with a full entitlement to quality CPD for all teachers, the research shows that schools would have to be able to maintain their current spending levels and commit around an extra £500 per teacher per year on average, taking the spending up to around £3,500.

As a proportion of schools’ average spending, this would also represent an increase in their individual budgets of less than 1%.

With much of the cost already committed by schools, the findings suggest that policymakers should focus their efforts on driving up the quality of existing CPD, so that it is of a far higher standard.

For key findings click here, t
he full report can be accessed here.