High-quality training for all teachers would cost government £210m, report finds

Published by Will Dodds on August 31st 2021, 10:10am

Offering teachers the entitlement to high-quality training and development would cost the UK government £210 million per year, research from the Education Policy Institute has found.

Commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, the research concluded that offering all teachers the entitlement to training would incur an additional cost equivalent to less than one per cent of the annual schools budget in England.

EPI research has shown that 35 hours of high quality continuous professional development per year would result in a two-thirds of a grade improvement by students at the GCSE level, while also helping to retain around 12,000 teachers per year that are at risk of leaving the profession.

Currently, there is no government-backed formal entitlement for high-quality training, with teachers in England engaged in fewer hours of development than their counterparts in other OECD nations.

Schools in England typically spend £3,000 a year on training for their teachers, which represents around three per cent of their annual budget.

“We already know that high-quality professional development for teachers is likely to bring significant benefits to pupils in the way of increased attainment and lifetime earnings," said James Zuccollo, report author and director for school workforce at the Education Policy Institute.

“Now, our new research tells us that the cost is very much achievable and does not have to be expensive for the government and for schools. A CPD entitlement policy for all teachers in England would cost the government just over £200 million a year – representing a total of less than 1% of its overall schools budget.

“This means that rather than spending big on additional CPD for teachers, the government could meet this commitment by largely improving on the quality of the existing CPD training that teachers participate in. With relatively low costs and large potential returns, the government should continue to look at how it can drive up the quality of its CPD offer for teachers.”

Brunswick Park Primary School commented on the lack of government support for training in its recent contribution to The Parliamentary Review.

Headteacher Susannah Bellingham noted that with the number of challenges facing schools in light of the pandemic, the funding on offer is insufficient to address the potential issues.

"Recruitment and retention at this school, which despite being in inner London is not especially well connected by the inner city’s standards, remains a constant challenge," she wrote.

"As does recruiting teachers who have been well enough trained and qualified. We lament the demise of quality-assured initial teacher training linked closely to higher education institutions where research-based pedagogy was studied and applied to practice.

She added: "With cumulatively less funding per pupil, a continuing rapid rise in the number of children with complex SEND and EHCPs as a result of a chronic and increasing shortage of places in specialist provision and increasing child poverty and disadvantage, and no co-ordinated plan to rationalise rapidly excess places in this area of the borough, the school struggles with financial viability."

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Authored By

Will Dodds
Senior Journalist
August 31st 2021, 10:10am

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