Improving learner outcomes

Why CPD should be a priority on everyone's list

Jacqui Webber-Gant

Author Jacqui Webber-Gant

Date 16th Jan 2019


With the ever-increasing pressure of budgetary and time constraints in schools, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) can feel like the most obvious thing to cut. But, if improving teaching practice opens the door to raising student achievement, particularly for children with SEND, then surely CPD should be a priority on every school leaders list?

Recent research from the Teacher Development Trust, produced by education data specialist SchoolDash, shows staff professional development budgets have now fallen by 12% in secondary schools, and 7% in primary schools. This drop is the first since their analysis began in 2011 and suggests that tight budgets are forcing schools to reduce essential CPD support for teachers.

School leaders understand that staff training is essential in raising student attainment and improving a school's performance, as well as retaining, motivating and attracting teachers, yet, according to the research, few schools were able to spend more than 1% of their budgets on staff development in 2017. Further to this, it was stated that 4.5% of primaries allocate no budget to CPD at all, along with 10.5% of secondaries. 

The influence of CPD on pupil outcomes 

CPD is often thought of as simply ‘providing training to develop a skill’, however, effective professional development is so much more than something that is simply delivered to teachers. CPD is vital to school improvement and to ensuring that children get the very best education. 

  • According to research by the Sutton Trust, during one year with an effective teacher, pupils gain 40% more in their learning than they would with a poorly motivated and performing teacher.
  • The Sutton Trust research also shows that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds gain an extra year's worth of learning under very effective teachers compared to poorly performing teachers.

The Trust has also stated that pupils, particularly the most disadvantaged, benefit greatly when their teachers are supported to improve and refine their practice and engage in evidence-based professional development.  

David Weston, CEO, Teacher Development Trust said "Every child deserves high quality teaching, which is why the drop in training budgets is such a concern. Clearly, it's not just what's being spent but also how money and time are being used and we need a system-wide push to help school leaders use the best, most proven approaches to developing the quality of teaching and support". 

Time to revisit CPD? 

For school leaders, doing more with less is no small challenge, and for CPD to be truly effective research suggests it needs to include ‘theory, demonstration, practice with feedback and peer coaching’. These activities are essential but, when done in isolation, can be ineffective. For example, coaching is not effective if the teacher doesn’t have a good grasp of the theory behind the strategy they wish to embed.

Here at OLT feedback, evaluation data and comments demonstrate the impact of our supported online courses on teacher development. We also ensure that our courses meet the needs described above in the following ways: 

  • That theory is presented in an accessible way
  • Real life case studies show interventions in practice
  • Setting and implementing goals with learners provides practice in the classroom
  • Tutor support, forums and goal evaluations provide coaching and feedback.

Our courses also offer teaching professionals the benefit of personalised, on demand professional learning at a fraction of the price of traditional learning methods.

You can discover how our courses have helped teachers by taking a look at our testimonials and course evaluation feedback.

Finally, find out the cost of our courses by using our easy to navigate walkthrough.

About the author

Jacqui is a Director of OnLineTraining. Contact Jacqui at or on Twitter @Team_OLT.


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