CPD budgets declining
The Teacher Development Trust has published (9 January 2019) new research data (from education data specialist SchoolDash) which shows that staff development budgets have fallen by 12 per cent in secondary schools, and 7 per cent in primary schools. This is the first reduction since the Trust’s analysis began in 2011 and suggests that tight school budgets are forcing schools to reduce this essential support for teachers. The new research also shows that levels of continuing professional development (CPD) spending varies enormously around the country. For example, primary schools in Solihull and Blackpool allocate less than £400 per teacher, on average, for professional development and staff training, whereas primary schools in Hampshire and Durham allocate well over £1000 per teacher, on average. There are even starker differences at secondary level, where schools in Bury allocate just £163.50 per teacher, on average, whereas secondary schools in Barking & Dagenham allocate an average of £1045 per teacher. The data also suggest that schools have reduced spending on some key learning resources, such as library books and computers, in an effort to try to provide adequate CPD for teachers.
Further information can be found: https://tdtrust.org/cpd-spend-pressrelease
Early career CPD
The Department for Education (DfE) has published (5 November 2018) qualitative research exploring support required by teachers in their early careers, and good practice in CPD for early career teachers. The report’s key findings are summarised as follows (source: DfE):
- Effective professional development should start from a clear appreciation of the objective of the development activity, benefits from collaborative learning opportunities, such as coaching and mentoring, and needs appropriate conditions, such as the right climate and culture, professional responsibility, and sufficient time and resources.
- ECTs (early career teachers) and MCTs (mid-career teachers) reported that their main development priorities at the start of their induction year included: behaviour management; use and understanding of assessment; pedagogical knowledge; and supporting pupils with particular needs, such as pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND).
- Many teachers in their second or third year reported that they wanted training and support that would help them to progress into subject, year group/key stage, or other middle leadership roles, while some wanted to take on specialist roles or responsibilities.
- Many ECTs also wanted to ‘hone their craft’ and to broaden their skillset. This often accompanied new opportunities that presented themselves to RQTs, such as working with pupils with different educational needs, or teaching year 6, GCSE and A-level pupils, which, for many, was for the first time.
- There is no statutory requirement for schools to provide training and support specifically for recently qualified teachers (RQTs). As such, it is perhaps not surprising that, in most of the case-study schools, dedicated support for RQTs appeared to be limited.
- It was clear from the interviews with ECTs that high-quality training opportunities alone would not ensure job satisfaction, and that they needed to be accompanied by genuine opportunities to take on new roles and responsibilities.
Further details can be found: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-career-continuing-professional-development-cpd-research
‘Developing great subject teaching’
The Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) has published (15 February 2018) a report, commissioned by the Wellcome Trust – ‘Developing Great Subject Teaching’ – which explores the evidence about the extent, nature and impact of subject-specific continuing professional development (CPD) for school teachers in primary and secondary schools in the UK. Some of the key findings from the research are summarised below (source: CUREE):
- Factors that influence the need for subject-specific CPD:
- Teacher recruitment and skill levels influence the extent to which subject-specific CPD is required.
- The need for subject-specific CPD differs between phases.
- Needs differ between schools, with school size and stage on the improvement journey appearing particularly influential. Schools that are seen to be struggling in terms of pupil outcomes and/or inspection results appear less likely to prioritise subject-specific CPD over more generic school improvement approaches.
- According to the most robust study (TALIS, 2013), teachers in England engage in less CPD overall and are less likely to engage in subject-specific CPD than in most other high performing countries.
- What influences the demand for subject-specific CPD and what are the barriers to uptake?:
- Changes in curriculum and assessment policies are key drivers of demand for subject-specific CPD.
- School leaders play a significant role in setting expectations for CPD and in influencing the extent to which it is prioritised, supported and integrated with other internal initiatives.
- The review identified a number of barriers to the development of high quality subject specific CPD in schools:
- The cost of CPD, and lack of money in school budgets;
- Perceptions of CPD quality - the review revealed a perception among some schools and teachers that externally-run CPD can be poor quality with little impact on practice;
- Teacher workloads resulting in a lack of time for CPD.
Publicly funded provision has reduced significantly since 2010, particularly in England.
At the same time, the subject advisers that were a feature of Local Authorities in England and Wales have largely disappeared, leading to a loss of dedicated expertise across the systems.
Meanwhile there has been an increase in provision from private providers, from school based providers – particularly teaching school alliances in England - and through initiatives such as the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).
- Cascading learning from external CPD is widespread in both primary and secondary schools, including for subject-specific CPD. This is seen as key to securing value for money, consistency, and building capacity.
- Learning from more experienced colleagues is seen as the main source of specialist expertise in both primary and secondary case study schools.
- As resources and Local Authorities support have reduced, there has been a parallel growth in the extent to which schools provide CPD internally and through school to school partnership arrangements, especially in England and Wales.
- However, school-to-school networks also serve other functions, such as providing peer review or leadership development programmes, which will not necessarily focus on subject-specific CPD.
- Whether and how schools access this more diverse provision has become more variable, with some schools and regions notably less engaged.
- There is a need for an increase in effective CPD in the UK, and for building awareness of effective practices.
- There is a need for developing mechanisms for and skills in assuring the quality of CPD and evaluating the value for money that school CPD policies and activities represent, in relation to pupil, teacher and subject development.
- As networks become a more important source for CPD and school improvement support, there is a need to review and enhance the nature and quality of subject-specific work across networks to ensure that such provision remains inclusive, particularly in meeting the needs of schools in disadvantaged areas.
- The recent focus on evidence-informed teaching – for example, through the EEF’s Teaching & Learning Toolkit, has highlighted the importance of evidence relating to generic aspects of pedagogy, such as metacognition and feedback. In this context, there is a need to ensure schools contextualise work to respond to this evidence.
Further information can be found: http://www.curee.co.uk/files/publication/%5Bsite-timestamp%5D/Developing%20Great%20Subject%20Teaching.pdf
Standard for teachers’ professional development
This guidance from the DfE (July 2016) provides a description of effective practice in professional development for teachers, which was produced by the Teachers’ Professional Development Expert Group. The standard states the following (source: DfE):
- Effective teacher professional development is a partnership between:
- Headteachers and other members of the leadership team;
- Teachers; and
- Providers of professional development expertise, training or consultancy.
- In order for this partnership to be successful:
- Professional development should have a focus on improving and evaluating pupils outcomes;
- Professional development should be underpinned by robust evidence and expertise;
- Professional development should include collaboration and expert challenge;
- Professional development programmes should be sustained over time;
- Professional development must be prioritised by school leadership;
Further information can be found: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standard-for-teachers-professional-development
‘Developing Great Teaching: Lessons from the international reviews into effective professional development’
This report (June 2015) from the Teacher Development Trust (TDT) was commissioned from Professors Rob Coe and Steve Higgins of Durham University, Philippa Cordingley of CUREE and Professor Toby Greany of the UCL Institute of Education. The report comprises a review of the international research around what constitutes effective professional development for teachers. The key finding of the review was that professional development opportunities that are carefully designed and have a strong focus on pupil outcomes have a significant impact on student achievement. The elements of such ‘careful design’ included (source: TDT):
- The duration and rhythm of effective support.
- The consideration of participants’ needs.
- Alignment of professional development process, content and activities.
- The content of effective professional development.
- Activities associated with effective professional development.
- The role of external providers and specialists.
- Collaboration and peer learning.
- Leadership around professional development.
The review identified four core roles for school leaders in effective professional development:
- Developing vision – including helping teachers believe alternative outcomes are possible and creating coherence so teachers understand the relevance of CPD to wider priorities.
- Managing and organising – including establishing priorities, resolving competing demands, sourcing appropriate expertise and ensuring appropriate opportunities to learn are in place.
- Leading professional learning – including promoting a challenging learning culture, knowing what content and activities are likely to be of benefit, and promoting “evidence-informed, self-regulated learning”.
- Developing the leadership of others – including encouraging teachers to lead a particular aspect of pedagogy or the curriculum.
Further information can be found: http://tdtrust.org/press-release-mind-the-gap-in-teacher-cpd/
The DfE’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy: A Summary
On January 28th 2019 the DfE published its Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, with the Secretary of State, Damian Hinds stating that “there are no great schools without great teachers… at a time when there are more pupils in our schools than ever before, we need to be attracting and keeping great people in teaching.”
Within the Strategy, the perceived key causes of the recruitment and retention challenge are outlined; they include the excessive workload pressure experienced by some teachers (created by the accountability system), deficient retention levels of early career teachers, and a need to make teaching a more attractive and accessible career choice, to encourage a larger amount of applications for teacher training in the years ahead.
The document outlines how each of these challenges will be addressed. For example, it has been promised that the new Ofsted framework will have an active focus on reducing teacher workload. Early career teachers will receive much more robust support, with a two-year package of structured support linked to the best available research evidence- alongside funded time off timetable in the second year of teaching and support from mentors. Phased bursaries for new teachers, with staggered retention payments, are another proposed strategy which the government hopes will encourage recruitment and retention, along with an investment of £7.7 million to fund a range of high-quality curriculum programmes, to make high quality curriculum resources accessible to early career teacher, thus reducing workload. As for increasing the amount of applications for teaching training, the DfE has proposed introducing new digital systems designed to make application easier and more user friendly, as well as encouraging and enabling more potential teachers to try out teaching, highlighting the uniquely rewarding aspects of a career in teaching.
A more comprehensive summary follows below:
The DfE Strategy rightly highlights some of the key drivers of the recruitment and retention challenges including:
· A demographic bulge is moving into secondary schools: by 2025 there will be 15% more pupils in secondary schools than there were in 2018. There is a need to increase secondary teacher numbers to meet this demand – which is especially difficult in the shortage subjects, including Maths, Science and Modern Foreign Languages.
· There has never been a more competitive labour market: it is always hardest to recruit teachers when the jobs market is buoyant, as graduates and career changers have a wide choice of work. The labour market is continuing to perform strongly, with unemployment at its lowest rate since the 1970s.
· Retention is a growing challenge: the small decline in teacher retention rates in recent years has created challenges. Had retention rates been stronger, teacher supply would have better kept up with the growth in pupil numbers.
· Retention issues are most acute for early career teachers: the challenge of retaining early career teachers has been getting worse in recent years. Over 20% of new teachers leave the profession within their first 2 years of teaching, and 33% leave within their first 5 years.
· Teacher workload is the reason most often cited for teachers leaving the profession
· Flexible and part-time working opportunities are increasingly important: only 28% of female teachers work part-time, compared to an average of 40% of women in the UK and fewer men do too (8% compared to 12% in the whole economy).
· Schools in disadvantaged areas face the biggest problems: more than one in ten teachers from the most disadvantaged secondary schools leave to teach in other schools: about twice the proportion who make the same move from the least disadvantaged schools.
The DfE will address some of the key challenges as follows
1. Reduce the unintended workload pressures created by the accountability system
“we recognise that the current system can have unintended consequences that add unnecessary workload burdens and pressure – particularly for schools in challenging circumstances”
· We will radically simplify the system, consulting on making ‘requires improvement’ the sole trigger for an offer of support – replacing floor and coasting standards; and
· The new Ofsted Framework will have an active focus on reducing teacher workload, with inspectors:
- considering staff workload as part of the leadership and management judgement;
- looking unfavourably on schools that have burdensome data
- practices; and
- not looking at internal assessment data.
· Oversee a period of stability in curriculum, assessment and qualifications:
- No additional statutory tests or assessment
- for primary schools;
- No further changes to the national curriculum;
- No more reform of GCSEs or A-levels.
· Provide additional support to tackle challenging pupil behaviour.
- Including a specific new entitlement for every new teacher to receive enhanced training in behaviour and classroom management at the outset of their career;
- Behaviour will become more prominent in the new Ofsted inspection framework, with one of the four categories dedicated to assessing how schools create a culture in which teachers can teach and pupils can learn.
· This aspect of the report also references the need to ensure schools are well resourced. It highlights the DfE’s accepting in full the School Teachers’ Review Body’s recommended 3.5% uplift to the main pay range for this current academic year. Also commits to ensure that teaching continues to offer one of the best pensions of any profession – as well as meeting the additional employer pensions contributions, saving schools £830 million in 2019–20.
2. Transform support for early career teachers, introducing the most significant reform to teaching since it became a graduate only profession –
“Not enough early career teachers receive the high quality support they need to build the foundation for a successful career.”
· Launch the Early Career Framework. This will underpin an entitlement to a fully-funded, 2-year package of structured support for early career teachers linked to the best available research evidence – alongside funded time off timetable in the second year of teaching and support for mentors; and
· National roll-out will include:
o Funding and guaranteeing 5% off timetable in the second year of teaching for all early career teachers;
o Creating high quality, freely available curricula and training materials;
o Establishing full high quality ECF training programmes;
o Funding time for mentors to support early career teachers; and
o Fully funded mentor training.
· The DfE is embarking on an extensive period of trialling and development, weighting investment towards areas and schools serving disadvantaged communities – an approach it will continue into national roll-out.
· Create a major shift in the incentives for new teachers by introducing phased bursaries – with staggered retention payments to encourage good people to remain in the profession, as well as to join.
· Create a curriculum fund to create curriculum resources for early career teachers. This £7.7million investment will fund a range of high quality curriculum programmes to be piloted and shared across a wide range of schools from this year. It is intended to make high quality curriculum resources available to early career teachers, exposing them to good curriculum models that inform their future development, and make unmanageable workloads manageable.
3. Build on the foundation of the Early Career Framework to support teachers – whatever their expertise or circumstances – to pursue the right career opportunities for them.
“Crucially, if teaching is going to compete to attract and retain talented people in a 21st century labour market, it must also be a profession that goes further in embracing 21st century working practices.”
· Using the ECF as the foundation, the government will develop specialist NPQs that flow directly from and extend expertise in the core areas in which teachers will receive training at the start of their career – assessment, behaviour management, subject and curriculum expertise, and pedagogy.
· The first specialist qualification that will be developed will be a Teacher Developer NPQ, which will be explicitly tied to the content of the ECF.
· Incentives to retain teachers in struggling schools sit ‘at the very heart of this strategy’, from the plan to create weighted retention payments for those working in more challenging schools (chapter 2), to specific efforts to ensure that more good teachers are working in more challenging schools after completing their training (chapter 4).”
· For those working in challenging areas, scholarships for NPQ leadership qualifications look likely to be extended to the new NPQs.
· The Government wants to create a culture that promotes flexible working, but states that ultimately comes down to headteachers – “they are the ones who can ensure these
· opportunities become the norm in teaching.” Government will take steps to support this, by:
• Creating a new high-profile “find your jobshare” website that will support teacher who are looking for jobshare partners; and
sharing of best practice resources and further research to support implementation of flexible working.
• Launching a competition for EdTech providers to create innovative solutions to promote and facilitate part-time and flexible working patterns, including time-tabling tools.
4. Radically simplify the process for becoming a teacher, introducing new digital systems designed to make application much easier and more user-friendly.
· encourage and enable more potential teachers to try teaching – highlighting the uniquely rewarding aspects of a career in teaching;
· launch a new Discover Teaching initiative, giving as many people as possible the opportunity to experience the unique opportunities that a career in teaching provides. It will include opportunities for people to experience teaching, including a new virtual reality classroom, expanding the Teaching Internship Programme and increasing school taster days where there is capacity;
· design new digital systems to make it simple and easy to become a teacher.
· The Government will design a new, easy-to-use one-stop application system to work seamlessly with our Get Into Teaching website and the new Find service. This will radically simplify the process of applying to be a teacher, making it quicker and allowing greater flexibility for applicants. (In the current system, applicants have to work through 3 separate systems to register interest, find and apply for a course.)
· Provide a pathway for teaching assistants to study part-time for a BEd, BA or BSc degree with qualified teacher status (QTS), whilst continuing to work. We will work closely with universities and schools to explore how they can support more teaching assistants to choose;
· The Government wants to strengthen and support a mix of provision led by both universities and schools, by:
• Supporting new entrants to the market where they have a compelling plan for growth;
• Expanding and developing more provision for undergraduate ITT;
• Continuing with unlimited ITT recruitment to all postgraduate primary and secondary ITT courses (with the exception of PE fee-funded courses) for the next 2 recruitment cycles
(ITT 2020 and ITT 2021) to offer all providers maximum flexibility to recruit.
· Will review the ITT market, identifying improvements that reduce costs for providers and exploring how government can encourage high quality providers – including in high-performing MATs – to extend their reach, deliver at scale and do more to support the wider system.