Commenting on a study by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) which considers what high-quality continuing professional development (CPD) can do to improve staff retention and pupil attainment, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"The NEU agrees that a boost to the amount of high quality CPD teachers receive would be extremely welcome by the profession and a good step in improving retention. We have long called for teachers to be valued as professionals and the right CPD at the right time is key to this.
"However, there are many factors at play in teacher retention. Teachers and leaders will wonder when they are going to find the time to engage in good quality CPD in a working week that is already over-full and driven by accountability processes which do not enhance pupil learning.
"For schools to offer effective CPD to all staff, the government must make a specific and realistic financial commitment; schools are cash stretched and therefore time poor. Decisions to agree time out of class for CPD, no matter how valuable, are made on financial considerations, the training cost itself and the cover needed.
"However, a set number of CPD hours is at risk of becoming a tick-box exercise. The best CPD is focused, timely, and based on the individual’s needs and aspirations. It comes in many forms and a range of options neds to be available for teachers throughout their careers. Our members tell us that too much time is taken up with learning how to implement the latest government edict, or on courses with limited value for their teaching. Any entitlement based on hours must allow for a broad range of learning for teachers and must include opportunities to evaluate the impact of their CPD on their pupils' learning."