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How we ensure our CPD is high quality and high impact

Published: May 26, 2021 4 min read

Wayne Jarvis

Senior Network Educational Lead

National STEM Learning Centre

High quality teaching is at the heart of education recovery. The recent publication from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) looked at the cost benefit analysis of high quality CPD on both teachers and students. The report highlights some key messages for senior leaders in terms of supporting teachers in their career development and, more urgently, to enable students to recover from the learning loss caused by school closures.

Commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, the study shows that teachers in England currently participate in less continuing professional development (CPD) than their international counterparts. CPD, and in particular subject-specific support, is a hugely important aspect of a teacher’s professional learning journey. This was identified in Ofsted’s Research review series: science which highlighted one feature of high quality teaching was that “Teachers, teaching assistants and technicians have access to high quality subject-specific CPD to develop subject knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge”.

The EPI report explains that there is no formal entitlement to access CPD at present in England but that a well-implemented policy of 35 hours a year of high quality CPD for teachers would lead to significant benefits for students. It estimates that it could improve student outcomes by an extra two-thirds of a GCSE grade and improve the student’s lifetime earnings by over £6,000. It also states that, if effectively rolled out on a national scale, a CPD entitlement programme costing £4bn could generate a net societal benefit of around £61bn through higher earnings – a benefit 19 times the cost.

It goes on to explain that a policy of CPD entitlement could also significantly improve retention, leading to up to 12,000 extra teachers remaining in the profession a year. This would ease the DfE’s current shortfall of teachers, which is around 3,000 per year. This finding is backed up by the Wellcome Trust’s 2017 publication, which found that 1 in 12 teachers who did not participate in STEM Learning CPD left teaching the following year, compared to 1 in 30 teachers who did participate.

One of the most worrying findings of the report is that in its baseline survey, only 11% of the CPD attended by respondents met the DfE’s criteria for high quality CPD. At STEM Learning, we ensure that the CPD we offer is of high quality and high impact by mapping to the Standard for Teachers’ professional development through:

  • Quality assured CPD to impact positively on teacher learning and on pupil outcomes with our impact toolkit providing evidence of the impact they have had when implementing new strategies and tools in the classroom.
  • Developing CPD with core principles of research, evidence and policy at its heart and helping to translate the evidence into practice.
  • Training and quality assuring our facilitators, leading to our CPD Quality Mark, so you can be sure that those leading CPD will challenge thinking and share best practice.
  • Extending the period of engagement with CPD through our impact toolkit which encourages reflective practice, action planning and evidencing impact of teachers implementing their learning.
  • Supporting the professional learning journey through tailored pathways and course progression, supporting the needs of Early Career teachers through to subject leaders.
  • Providing tools for teachers to share impact with senior leaders, demonstrating the value the CPD has had on their own development and well-being as well as on student attainment.


Through engaging with STEM Learning CPD you can be confident that you are engaging with high quality, high impact CPD that will improve teaching quality, support well-being and most importantly enable students to be engaged by high quality teaching to support catch up on lost learning resulting from school closures.