New research from Teacher Development Trust shows huge variation between schools in how much money they allocate to developing staff.
What’s the case for allocating resources to this area, and how do you achieve maximum impact? From our analysis of the data, here are five things you need to know.
What’s being spent?
Recent school budget data shows that schools in some LAs allocate as much as £1,200 per teacher. Hampshire and Newham top the tables; conversely, schools in Solihull budget only £400 per teacher.
This variation is really worrying. Even great in-house processes won’t make any impact if schools don’t have the money for quality experts, courses and training tools, with the result that pupils ultimately lose out.
Why the variation?
We were surprised to find no overall north-south divide. Each LA varied hugely – not just in their average budget per teacher, but also budget changes from the previous year. Teachers in Bromley benefited from an average increase per teacher of over £280, whereas teachers in St. Helen’s saw their share of the training budget fall by an average of £164. ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’ and ‘Requires improvement’ schools all budget for CPD similarly; only ‘Inadequate’ schools budget less.
What’s the money being spent on?
School spending on network membership seems to have grown, with schools increasingly buying into local consortia, teaching schools and national networks.
Understandably, there’s been a renewed focus on training to deal with recent curriculum changes. Some have cut almost all their spending on external CPD to focus instead on spreading internal expertise, though the research suggests that this is likely to significantly reduce the overall effectiveness of a school’s development programme.
What should the money be spent on?
The most effective schools have stopped planning CPD activities and started planning CPD programmes. First, they identify key themes and sources of expertise, be it visiting practitioners, courses, specialist networks and associations, research tools, books or journals. Next, they set aside regular and frequent time that teachers can use to meet and prepare, discuss, plan, teach and observe lessons, allowing them to explore the impact, reflect on and evaluate it together.
What ties all this together?
Investing in quality CPD leadership is crucial for getting bang for your buck. We’re increasingly seeing schools commissioning external audits of their CPD leadership and policies, sending SLT on CPD leadership training, investing in memberships of subject associations, the Chartered College of Teaching and CPD networks like the Teacher Development Trust.