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High-quality continuing professional development (CPD) is key to school improvement. Studies show that the impact of CPD on pupil outcomes compares to the impact of having a teacher with ten years’ experience rather than a new graduate. There are indicators that it can lead to increased student self-efficacy and confidence, while improving teacher job satisfaction and retention.

CPD can be a cost-effective means to improving outcomes. While there are other interventions which research suggests may have a greater impact on pupil outcomes, such as small group tuition, these are generally much more expensive for schools.

The quality of CPD is mixed and England lags behind other countries. A recent Wellcome CPD pilot showed that just 11% of CPD taken up by teachers met the government’s quality criteria, while (for example) secondary school teachers in England spend on average just 43 hours a year on CPD — well below the OECD average of 62 hours a year.

Getting CPD right is hard. A potential reason for this is that CPD programmes typically take teachers outside their classrooms to talk about teaching, yet they expect this to alter teachers’ behaviours inside the classroom. 

Teaching School Hubs are centres of expertise in designing and delivering CPD which addresses this challenge.