The key to raising school standards is to ensure a high level of teaching is being delivered consistently and effectively. In order to achieve this the Department of Education (DfE) has said it is vital for all teachers to receive the necessary training, however the Teacher Development Trust have highlighted there are 20,000 teachers in schools across England who have no budget to train them.
David Weston, chief executive of the Teacher Development Trust, said the findings were “extremely concerning.”
The study reports 600 schools have simply had to remove their budget for professional development due to lack of funds. Rising costs and cuts in budgets has meant head teachers are having to juggle where money is being spent.
The news could not have come at a worse time when the teacher recruitment crisis is at an all-time high and the number of teachers leaving the profession is shamefully increasing year on year.
“It is shockingly short-sighted for schools to be slashing these budgets at a time when there is more pressure than ever on recruiting and keeping staff,” said Mr Weston.
“We work with schools who have invested in this area and seen huge improvements in pupil results and teacher recruitment.” He said that investment in professional training should remain a priority and that pupils deserved to be taught by teachers with up-to-date skills.
The report found lower-achieving schools were less likely to spend money on training than those which were more performing better. Primary schools spent 0.65% of their budget on staff training while Secondary schools spent much less, 0.37% of their budget.
Professor Robert Coe, director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University said funding levels for training were “pitifully low.”
“Research evidence is very clear that investing in high-quality support for teachers’ professional learning is not just one of the most effective things schools can do to raise standards, but one of the best-value choices they can make.”
“Cutting spending on CPD, even in a time of tight budgets, would be one of the most counter productive, short-sighted and evidence-averse things a school could do.”
The deputy head of Quintin Kynaston school in north London, Ross McGill, said it was wrong for schools to be “squeezed into a corner, forced to make a decision to cut, or have no continuous professional development budget available to their staff.”
He said that the staff development budget was “always the first thing to be cut when unplanned financial circumstances arise throughout the academic year.”
“With rapid reforms in curriculum, examinations and assessment, every school will need to invest a huge amount of time for all staff to be one step ahead of their students in class,” he said.
A DfE spokesman said: “Continued professional development is vital for all teachers to help improve their knowledge and skills.”
“Thanks to our investment in school funding, which at more than £40bn in 2016-17 is at its highest level on record, we are giving all schools access to the resources they need.”
“We trust heads to make the right decisions for their staff and use those resources to invest in high quality training and development.”
February 3, 2017