Schools have no funds to train teachers, says study
There are 20,000 teachers in schools in England without any budget to train them, according to research by the Teacher Development Trust.
Teacher quality has often been highlighted as the key to raising school standards and this research warns of a serious gap in funding.
David Weston, chief executive of the Teacher Development Trust, said the findings were “extremely concerning”.
The Department for Education said such training was “vital for all teachers”.
But it was up to head teachers to “make the right decisions for their staff”.
The study says 600 schools have “wiped out” their budget for professional development.
Head teachers have warned about pressures on school funding and the education charity warns that training budgets can be among the first to suffer when there are cuts.
“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 research found lower-achieving schools were likely to spend less on training than those which were more successful.
Secondary schools on average spent 0.37% of their budgets on staff training and 0.65% in primary schools.
Funding levels for training were “pitifully low”, said Prof Robert Coe, director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University.
“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 counterproductive, 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 Department for Education 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.”