Voice Community – the education section of Community Union – has welcomed the Education Policy Institute (EPI) report, The cost of high quality professional development for teachers in England, which recommends giving teachers an entitlement to quality training.
Deborah Lawson, Community’s Assistant General Secretary (Voice Community section) said:
“We welcome this report for highlighting the importance of professional development to the teaching profession. It is clear that developing teachers is of benefit for both them and pupils, in terms of outcomes.
“CPD is a smart and relatively small investment for the Government.
“In our own research, we found various push factors likely to encourage members to leave the sector. One of these was lack of professional development.
“Our recent report, The Future of Education, also found a high need for quality CPD, andrecommends regular personal development time for teachers and other education staff and a personal training allowance.”
Voice Community’s report, The Future of Education, found that teachers’ career development has taken a backseat during the pandemic. The report also raised fears of a mass exodus from the education and early years sector, with 22.39% of education and early years staff indicated that they plan to leave within the next three years. The primary reasons given for leaving the sector were the pressures that accompanied the role, high administrative workload and low pay.
The Future of Education found that those who had undertaken CPD (continuing professional development) within the last six months were significantly more likely to say they did not plan to leave the sector – 83% of those with CPD in the last 6 months had no plans to leave the sector compared to 62% who last had CPD more than a year ago.
Notably, although not surprisingly, head teachers and classroom teachers, as well as HLTAs (higher level teaching assistants) were most likely to have taken part in CPD, whilst TAs, other support staff, and nursery nurses were least likely to have undertaken CPD recently. This reinforces a sense that support roles, despite their critical importance in supporting students’ learning, are not sufficiently valued.
Indicative of the lack of focus on training staff, failure to provide training to support online learning was a significant factor in affecting members’ views of continuing to work in education. 100% of those who said that they planned to leave the sector within a year said that they had not been provided with appropriate training to prepare them for online learning. This compared to about half of those who planned to stay in the sector. This complements our finding that giving staff adequate training and support not only gives staff the confidence and ability to do their job better, but also increases their sense of feeling valued in the role.
The report recommended that staff should be provided with an allowance to invest in their own training and development. Whilst part of the training budget would be devoted to training recommended by the employer, staff should have a ringfenced budget to invest in their own development as they see fit.