How can we retain and develop our teachers at a time of budget cuts whilst continuing to raise standards in schools?

The Value of Continuing Professional Development: A report commissioned by the Peterborough Learning Partnership

Foreword:

Has there ever been a more testing time to be a teacher? As someone who has worked in the sector for 18 years I would argue not – indeed never. The national picture, which is being borne out in many parts of Cambridgeshire and surrounding areas, shows that despite more teachers being needed to support the rapid increase in pupil numbers, more and more teachers are leaving the profession and severe gaps are emerging in terms of basic numbers of teachers to fill roles and especially in core subjects. The well-publicised pressures around funding, resourcing and workload are rife as the sector as a whole experiences uncertainty and change. As a former teacher, and now Chief Executive Officer at Peterborough Learning Partnership, my focus is on providing an effective framework that supports hundreds of teachers in our city and beyond in their Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The question posed in the title of the report, ‘How can we retain and develop our teachers at a time of budget cuts whilst continuing to raise standards in schools?’, has been chosen not to provide an eyecatching headline – but to raise awareness amongst those who matter about the very real threats facing our schools at this time. If we can’t recruit new teachers, then we must do everything in our power to retain the teachers we do have, and therefore investing in their development for the benefit of children and our schools must be considered an even higher priority.

So what is the future for CPD? It is heartening that the Secretary of State for Education’s White Paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere, acknowledges the difficulties that schools face in choosing and funding high-quality CPD and commits to a ‘gold standard’ for effective CPD going forward. Peterborough Learning Partnership is committed to developing communities that create successful learning and leadership, confident individuals and responsible citizens. We see ourselves as a key part of a wider system providing knowledge, insight and innovation in the field of CPD in the region. Our aim is to provide benefit to all children and young people by developing, delivering, commissioning and evaluating a wide range of learning and development opportunities for schools, supporting all members and partners in raising aspirations and standards, ultimately creating better outcomes for all.

Our leadership in the field of CPD and supporting school improvement is key to our mission.

Iain Simper

Chief Executive Officer, Peterborough Learning Partnership

This report shows that:

• Many schools in Cambridgeshire and surrounding areas are experiencing considerable difficulties in attracting new teachers.

• For those newcomers who are entering the profession there is concern that they are not effectively prepared for a career in teaching.

• Alongside some innovative approaches to ‘growing our own’, CPD is increasingly being used as a recruitment and retention tool as more schools realise the importance of demonstrating commitment to teacher progression.

• There is direct, evidence-based correlation between investment in CPD provision and subsequent school, teacher and pupil performance.

• Schools are genuinely worried that their commitment to investing in CPD will be tested to the maximum with further budget cuts.

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